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Premium Liiga, Matchday 1: Kalju vs. Infonet 1-0

Angelo PalmeriComment

Kalju secured three points on debut against a solid Infonet

Good chances on each side with goalkeepers protagonists of great saves. Authoritative performance of new signing Reginald. A red card shown to Avilov left the guests one man light for the last 25’. Igor Prins: ‘we have to be a bit more brave and self-confident and find an easier way to the build-up’

Gorgeous weather in Hiiu stadium for Kalju’s return home since more than two years as they were compelled to leave Nõmme facility due to the poor conditions of the artificial soil. Thanks to the city council elections, the process of replacing the old turf with a brand new one was completed during last Fall to allow the 2013 runners-up to welcome back their fans in the cosier stadium surrounded by the Nõmme woods. Obviously, when you return home, you want to take possession of what belongs you. Kalju’s last game in Hiiu was in November 2011 and it left a bitter taste in the fans’ mouth as Paide won 2-1 upon turning the game on its head.

FC Infonet came to Hiiu with a very prudent formation, 4-4-2 instead of the classical 4-2-3-1. Puśtov had to give up to Valov on the left flank and the experienced Kalimullin at the centre of the defence due to suspensions earned in the winter tournament in a fierce game against Paide Linnameeskond. Manucho played up front partnering with Nikita Martõnov, the captain armband was entrusted to Avilov who was displaying a fresh Mohawk haircut.

Igor Prins fielded an offensive 4-2-3-1 with Reginald and Fabio Prates covering the 4-man defence starring already international Mikk Reintam pairing with captain Alo Bärengrub. Śiśov back on the right side and ‘Iron Man’ Kallaste on the left. Mööl operating behind Tarmo ‘The Bison’ Neemelo supported on the flanks by Kimbaloula’s flair and Toomet’s speed.

Quintieri is sidelined by the same knee injury suffered in the indoor tournament against Flora. ‘It’s about two months’ spoke Damiano to RdS regarding the length of his absence ‘yet I don’t know if I will go under surgical operation or not, probably not’ added the 23-year-old striker from Terranova di Sibari.

In the first fifteen minutes of the game, Kalju were having possession but were unable to break through Infonet’s compact lines. Mones, guests’ left full-back, was following Kimbaloula everywhere with a tight man-marking not allowing Kalju to discharge on the left flank.

Kalju’s first attempt on target was a set-piece earned by Kimbaloula being fouled 25m from the goal in central position. The resulting take by Fabio Prates was an easy catch for Matvei Igonen. This was on 5’ minutes.


Two minutes later, Neemelo helped Mööl with a flank play, however the through ball was too deep for the nr.8 to reach it on time.

Infonet’s first attempt was a well off-target shot by Kostantin Nahk causing hilarity among the crowd. The experienced nr. 38 was already having his troubles in fighting with the more authoritative Reginald who had a very positive performance on the debut in Premium Liiga.

A few times, Kalju resorted to long balls from the defence for the build-up, especially Reintam tried a couple of times to put it through for Ken Kallaste however nothing remarkable came from those attempts.

On the right flank, Lipin was playing quite high, when Infonet was in possession, compelling Kallaste to drop for covering the side.

It was Lipin himself to have the first great chance of the game for his side (15’). Prates lost a ball in Infonet’s half. The whites were quick in the transition as the ball reached nr.9, Jevgeni Harin, quite quickly after progressing on the pitch. Harin floated a cross almost from the bottom of the pitch. The ball was too high to land on Manucho’s head placed on the first post, whereas Lipin was ready to tap it in from close distance. Teleś response was really reactive as he avoided a goal by parrying the shot over the bar.

Reginald volley shot found a great response from Igonen in second half. Great game from the French midfielder (Gertrud Alatare)

Reginald volley shot found a great response from Igonen in second half. Great game from the French midfielder (Gertrud Alatare)

The chance gave confidence to Infonet in being more sharp.
Three minutes later, Reginald anticipation avoided Manucho’s header from good position into the box.

Infonet sharp crosses made Kalju suffer quite a bit in the second fifteen minutes of the game.

On 22’ and 25’ minutes, Kimbaloula warmed up for the 27’ minutes when he would have served an assist to Neemelo’s header into goal.

First he started a quick counterattack on a break. However, the French nr.10 (last year he was wearing the 11) held the ball too much and lost momentum and eventually  the ball.
Then, he managed to get hold of a ball slipped through Mones' control and tried to cut through the Infonet nr.16 and Igonen existing his area.
The tight control prevented him from bringing danger.

On 27’ minutes, Mones could not oppose himself to Allan’s sharp dribbling. After freeing himself, Tourcoing-born put a perfect cross for Neemelo who had just to head it past Igonen. 1-0 for Kalju.

The last goal in Hiiu was on the 5th of November 2011 when Jevdokimov (on the bench yesterday) scored the opener for Kalju on 48’ minutes.

On one nil down, Infonet were compelled to uncover in order to pull level with the home team. On 30’ minutes, Kallaste was picked out with a long ball. Igonen was compelled to come out until the edge of the box opposing his body against Ken’s shot. One of the many vital saves offered by the talented nr.1

On 32’ minutes referee Kristo Tohver whistled the first and only offside for Kalju as Neemelo was picked in the wrong position.

Good direction from the Estonian international from Tartu: all cards were fair and no controversial episode rose troubles. The penalty box officials (first ones ever in Premium Liiga) were basically jobless.

The first yellow card of the game was shown to Allan Kimbaloula committing a foul on Mones (37’). A bit of a useless foul committed close to the midfield line, probably provoked by Mones tight control on him since the start of the game.

Allan was among the most positive for his side (Gertrud Alatare)

Allan was among the most positive for his side (Gertrud Alatare)

On 38’ minutes Teleś was again protagonist with a similar save as the one opposed to Lipin’s shot. On the resulting free-kick taken by Nahk with a long ball in the box, nr.5 Semakhin (central defender on loan from FC Velldoris) tapped the cross just to find Teleś reactive to parry over the bar.

Second yellow card of the game was given to Nikita Martõnov who was protesting for a foul assumigly suffered.

On 42’ minutes the last emotion of the first half: Kimbaloula worked again a nice cross, however Mööl was late to deflect it as Ignonen was faster in the catch.

The first half scorecard told us that with two attempts on target, Kalju were leading the game. Many off-target attempts for Infonet (4) with two great chances that allowed Teleś to earn a good evaluation.

On the resume, probably following Prins words in the changing room, Kalju started more aggressive and willing to close the game. Kimbaloula is again the most active on the left flank (47’ and 50’) first with a shot from distance and then with a quick interchange with Reginald. The new French signed literally owned Nahk in the midfield.

Puśtov decided to give more sharpness to his side by subbing Martõnov with new signing, Kassim Aidara (53’). However, he did not change the formation keeping the original 4-4-2

Prins had no reaction to that as the pair Bärengrub-Reintam showed to be working great since day one.

Almost past the hour (57’) Nahk offered the first good thing of his unusually poor game when his sliding tackle in the box prevented Mööl to finish after he received a great pass worked out by Neemelo.

With no evident development, Puśtov tried to shake his side with another change bringing out Harin and sending in Malov to try and have supremacy in the middle of the park. He operated also a valzer of position switching involving Lipin and Elhi.

Veteran Nahk suffered Kalju's midfield dynamism (Gertrud Alatare)

Veteran Nahk suffered Kalju's midfield dynamism (Gertrud Alatare)

On 62’ minutes Manucho squandered a chance after a rare mistake by Alo Bärengrub letting slip a ball through for the Ivorian striker to pick it up. Teleś outdid himself by parrying the resulting shot and leaving Manucho hands in hair.

Kalju had obviously let a bit of initiative to the guests in that fraction of the game. However, on 64’ minutes, a red card shown to Avilov addressed the match to Kalju’s way.
A through ball allowed Mööl to run between the central defenders. Avilov could do anything else but hold the opponent. Even though there were still abundant 20 meters to the goal, Mööl was facing the goal, the red card shown to the Infonet nr.4 as fair notwithstanding his light protest.

With the visitors one man light, it was easy for Kalju to control possession and exert supremacy till time.

Another great chance was on 66’ minutes when Reginald could have put the icing on the cake of his performance by netting a goal. Toomet swung a cross in the box where the French nr.7 volley shot found an extraordinary save by Matvei Igonen from close distance.

Papaz overcomes Igonen but cannot find the way to the goal (Gertrud Alatare)

Papaz overcomes Igonen but cannot find the way to the goal (Gertrud Alatare)

On 68’ minutes Igonen was again protagonist: first he avoided an aerial menace and in the resulting development, he parried Prates shot into corner earning the gallons of MOTM for his side.

On 75’ minutes Prins decided to give Toomet a break and bring in new signing, Bosnian Novo Papaz. Kimbaloula was moved to the right flank in order to make space to the 23-year-old from Sarajevo. Novo had a fair impact on the game being dangerous a couple of times, especially on 79’ when dribbled Igonen exiting but could not find the good angle for the shot on goal. The following cross for Allan’s header did not produce a goal.

It was the last real emotion of the day as Infonet tried few times to pull level but Teleś was all over.

Debut for young Andre Järva on 90’ minutes replacing Neemelo.


RdS approached Igor Prins to analyze the Kalju's game and also had a chat with Voskoboinikov upon his transfer to China (interview to Vosko here)

Igor Prins, are you happy with the game offered?

I am never happy, however in this sense I am happy we managed to win the first game (the Levadia-Paide 0-1 score would have unfolded later - A.P.)  as everyone coming here want to prove themselves against a big team as Infonet was trying. We need to play an easier football without thinking too much about something more complicated, otherwise we ruin our own game ourselves

Who was the player who gave the best impression today? We liked Reginald a lot.

I must say everyone gave their own best, usually I never single out anyone. Although yeah, I agree, Reginald has shown a very fine defensive job, he is quite sharp and agressive and he is keen in winning the duels (ask Nahk - A.P.).

LE PAGELLE - players evaluations available here