The derby of matchday 28 was played at the Sportland Arena between the high position contenders Infonet and Kalju. Sunny weather and pleasant atmosphere were good intro for what we might expect and the main actors didn’t disappoint us. But, let’s see how it all went.
Coach Puštov had a couple of problems with suspensions so he decided to field the following starting XI. On the goal was as usual, Matvei Igonen, Avilov and Kalimullin were utilized in central defense, Elhi and Malov on the full-back positions. Semakhin and Melts were deployed in the center of the park, Valov on the left flank, Lipin on the right, and Taar behind Dmitrijev, who was the only central forward for the game.
Igor Prins also struggles with injuries and suspensions so he decided for the following starting squad. Teleš on the goal, Rodrigues was paired with the youngster Henrik Pürg, Kallaste on the left full-back position, Mööl on the right, Reginald and Fabio Prates were deployed in central midfield, Puri and Wakui on the flanks, and the surprise Nunes played behind Tarmo Neemelo in attack.
The match started shockingly for the home team as already in the second minute referee Tarajev showed at the white spot after Nunes was brought down in the box. Maybe a bit harsh, but that didn’t affect Hidetoshi Wakui who converted the penalty for 0-1 lead for his team. Infonet players refused to give up and already in the 5th minute had chance to equalize, but they couldn’t take advantage of the mess created in front of Teleš’ goal. In those moments the home team managed to get hold of the ball more than the guests but didn’t succeed in creating serious chance towards their goal. In the 33th minute excellent chance for Avilov and even better save by Vitali Teleš.
In the continuation of the same attack Avilov fell in the box and referee Tarajev to everyone’s surprise showed towards the white spot. The protests by the away team were to no avail as Deniss Malov cold-bloodedly took the shot and made it 1-1. That goal gave wings to the home team and they kept on pushing forward. In the 41st minute they were close to taking over the lead, but Malov’s free kick passed few centimeters wide of the goal. As it always happens in football, if you don’t use your chances, punishment follows. In the dying moments of the first half Karl Mööl started a run from his own half, found Eino Puri in the attacking third and the latter with an amazing pass found Neemelo who didn’t have any problems beating Igonen for new lead for his team. That marked the end of the first half.
Interesting first 45 minutes in which we saw that both teams are willing to take the three points and continue the race for higher position. Puštov might feel that his team deserved more than a trailing at half time. Igor Prins can be satisfied with his newly-formed defensive line and encourage his players to continue in same fashion in the second half.
The advice from their coach was taken seriously as Infonet had more of the game at the beginning of the second half. However, that didn’t go without consequences as Kalju’s players had more space to attack on the counter, and with players like Wakui, Puri and Nunes, it was very difficult to sustain them. In the 59th minute Nunes took a free kick from the right side and managed to send a nice curled ball in the box towards Pürg, who smashed the ball behind Igonen for 1-3 and cheers by their fans. New shock for the hosts as the game and top 4 were running away from them. In the 72nd minute another weird decision by referee Tarajev as he decided to show towards the white spot for the third time when it was clear that the ball hit Rodrigues in his chest. This time it was Valov who took the responsibility. This time, however, Teleš successfully read his shot and saved the penalty which gave the guests motivation to survive the last 20 minutes of the game. Infonet players tried few more times, but Kalju’s defense showed great composure and didn’t allow them to score and bring nervy ending. After the added two minutes expired, referee Tarajev put an end to the derby and the celebrations for the away team started.
Huge three points for Nõmme in the race for the title and great boost for them for the upcoming fixtures. Infonet, on the other hand, are now 10 points behind Kalju and it seems like their dream for european football are all but over.