- Levadia's build-up is still not convincing and the defence shows concerning signs of lack of glue
- Sillamäe showed a better football but could not finish some good chances
- Left full-backs day: Sidorenkov scored a brace from penalty, Kruglov from inside the box
by Angelo Palmeri
Sillamäe Kalev vs. FC Levadia 3-3
Coach Marko Kristal had to travel to Sillamäe with a couple of men missing: Ragnar Luts (recovering from injury) and Andreas Raudsepp (small injury). Kaimar Saag is once again in the dugout due to lack of form. Teever is the main striker supported from behind by Omar El-Hussieny in the trequartista position.
Sillamäe had all their effective available but Sergei Frantsev opted for Toomet in the dugout. His former teammate at Kalju, Tihhon Śiśóv was also seen back in the squad after nursing injury. It was Sillamäe’s first game at Kalev Stadium, however the grass was barely noticeable. The game was officiated by Eiko Saar having Levadia holding possession in the very first minutes however first corner was for Sillamäe on 8’ minutes. On the developments, they also had the first off-target attempt. The Longshoremen tried to play ball on the floor notwithstanding the difficult conditions. On 14’ minutes Levadia’s Juuso Laitinen (the man with weak sides…) showed no composure as he chose the wrong timing for a tackle. The end result is pulling down Daniil Ratnikov gifting Andrei Sidorenkov his third goal of the season from the penalty spot and Sillamäe the lead. Levadia first attempt (on-target) happened on 22’ minutes when Kruglov took a free-kick with his left foot. The shot was low and slow allowing Mihhail Starodubtsev to stretch out on the side covered by the wall. A minute later, Ingemar Teever was feeded with a long ball he could not transform on target. On 26’ minutes Pareiko showed class denying Ratnikov the 2-0 goal in a one on one situation. Before the half-time blow, Sillamäe ruined a then so far excellent performance in defence by allowing Kruglov to pull level. It was the umpteenth ball sent in the box, but this time Starodubtsev did not take the best decision in coming out of the goals. However it was not enough, since just before the end of first half, Kruglov found another shot in the box and brought the guests 2-1 ahead after a discreet pressure in the final quarter. Sillamäe have shown a substantial improvement in their game with increased short passages and less long balls. Levadia gave a bit up in the middle of the park letting Deniss Tjapkin to take control also by exploiting his physical attributes.
On the resume, we have to wait 10 minutes for the first chance of the game, however Kvasov header was implemented from offside position. Pareiko had blocked the shot confidently nonetheless since the Sillamäe’s nr.7 was not able to impress spin to the ball. The more the time passed on the clock, the worse the conditions of the Sillamäe terrain (we cannot find a better definition…) had become compromising the players balance. Controversy on 61’ minutes over a corner not assigned by Eiko Saar to Levadia. However, the decision was correct since Laitinen’s take on free-kick was deflected by his teammate Ilja Antonov close to the Sillamäe wall. One minute later, the same Saar assigns a second penalty to Sidorenkov. Sillamäe’s captain sends it on the other side this time (left) however Pareiko is again falling on the opposite side. 4th goal from the penalty spot for Sidorenkov. 2-2.
After pulling level, Sillamäe tried to have a go at the Champions several times with Sidorenkov being very active on the left flank where he created a lot of troubles to Levadia back. On 72’ minutes, Levadia fires finally back with El-Hussieny very close to tap in a good low cross by Kruglov from the left. The Egyptian, however, was late at the appointment with the ball. It’s just the prelude to 74’ minutes when Artur Pikk picks up a cross for the clinical Teever heading past Starodubtsev. 2-3. Levadia find themselves ahead again without much effort. If the problem was scoring goals, it seems to be solved. It’s the buildup that needs a fix and the defensive mistakes which have let already 6 goals in. Last year they were 4 with Levadia never suffering three goals in the same game only on week 21 (2-3 loss to FC Infonet). In fact, it’s not yet over for Sillamäe, whose effort during second half was awarded by Ratnikov’s goal on 86’ minutes. Rahmanov and Laitinen they still have to agree who was supposed to mark Ratnikov who undisturbed tapped in a low cross from the right.
Nothing beautiful from Levadia ahead of the derby against Kalju. Marko Kristal has had less than a week to fix the fixable, however the impression is that it will take more time.
Sillamäe held onto one precious point, however if they had nicked three it would have not been a scandal.