Rainy afternoon in Tallinn as the teams od Levadia and Sillamäe made their way to the pitch in Kadriorg for the derby game of matchday 26. A match with high stakes as Sillamäe are making the final push to join the top 3 and Levadia tries to make a gap on the top of the table.
Coach Marko Kristal didn’t make many obvious changes in the squad which means he started with captain Smishko on the goal, Artjunin and Tipuric in central defense and Podholjuzin and Pikk on the full-back positions. Dmitrijev and Antonov were deployed in midfield, Omar and Subbotin on the flanks and as usual, Ivanov and Teever in the front line.
Coach Frantsev also didn’t experiment with the team that is in very good form so he opted for Lavrentjev between the sticks, Dudarev and Baguzis in central defense, Sidorenkov and Volodin at full-back. Tjapkin operated central midfield together with Ratnikov, Murikhin and Mashichev were deployed on the flanks and Silich played behind the league’s top striker Evgeny Kabaev.
The match started with a huge storm and pouring rain, but that didn’t prevent Sillamäe from shocking start scoring after only 45 seconds. Kabaev nicely got rid of Artjunin and gave Smishko no chance to stop his shot. 1-0 before the match was even on. The rain didn’t stop for another 20 mins in which Levadia was trying to establish control in midfield but Sillamäe were the ones more dangerous on the counter attack. One such chance was presented to Kabaev in 32nd minute, but his shot from the right side was successfully saved by Smishko. In the 34th minute free kick for Artjunin. The ball got unpredicted spin and almost surprised Lavrentjev who managed to send the ball to corner. In the 40th minute Omar Elhussieny also tried, but again Lavrentjev was more successful. Until the end of the first half there weren’t any more notable chances as the sun made its way out with hope for better weather conditions in the second half.
Coach Kristal will definitely have a word for his players as the game presented in the first half won’t bring them any result. Levadia wasn’t sharp and the defense was prone to mistakes so unless something changes, Flora and Kalju will get their chance to attack their first position.
Coach Frantsev, on the other hand, can be very happy with his team’s performance. They managed to completely neutralize Levadia’s deadly attack and at the same time were very dangerous on the counter.
The second half started in a similar fashion. Levadia was trying to push forward, but Sillamäe was the team with the real chances. In 57th minute Ivanov was in good position, but his shot was nicely blocked by Baguzis. 10 minutes later the same player had another chance but his shot went just wide. In the 70th minute the best chance of the match for the home team thus far as Omar tried from 20 meters but his shot was nicely saved by Lavrentjev. In the next attack Sillamäe players had a situation 3-on-2 but Murikhin’s shot was blocked. In the 78th minute new shock for the reigning champions. Slow reaction in defense and no problem for Kvasov to add a new goal to his name, 11th this season. 2-0 and sensational result on the horizon. In the 80th minute new chance for Teever, but his header went just wide. In the 83rd minute, Dubõkin finally put an end to all the questions about the winner. Excellent counter attack led by Kabaev who passed the ball into space for Dubõkin who didn’t give Smishko any chance. 3-0 and silence on the stands. Until the end, Sillamäe players routinely kept the ball in midfield not allowing Levadia to push forward.
Shocking defeat for the reigning champions which might cost them the leading position should Flora beat Paide later on in their fixture at the A.Le Coq Arena. As for Sillamäe, their winning run continues and now the top 3 places are within reach for them. Great display and direct message for the title contenders. A lot of excitement and sensations are still ahead of us in the last third of the season.
Flora won 3-0 in A.LeCoq against Paide and regained the top of the table. Match report by Deni Delev here.