The return of Vladimir Voskoboinikov up front and Hidetoshi Wakui in midfield will have been a comfort for the Kalju boss as he experimented once more with the 4-5-1/4-3-3 system deployed in the first half of the match against Levadia.
The team line-up may have been more indicative of what we are likely to see come the start of the season with Voskoboinikov the sole striker flanked by Allan and Quintieri. Wakui started in an advanced midfield role with Karl Mööl and Reginald dropping back. Nicolas continued at left back but there was no place for midfield Fabio Prates whose first match performance was not matched by his second.
Again, Kalju started quite brightly with Allan testing the goalkeeper in the third minute. Nicolas was managing to overlap but his delivery was disappointing. The middle of the park began to get a little congested and Kalju were unable to implement the quick passing game that seemed to be a feature of their approach.
Wakui looked a little rusty and Infonet were able to put in a few crosses and were afforded more time on the edge of the box than they may have expected. The disappointing level of anticipation that plagued Kalju in the Levadia match was setting in again as the space they managed to create on the wings led to a failure to connect with any balls played in to the box.
Wakui was replaced at half time by Kink and Neemelo came on for Voskoboinikov as Kalju moved to a 4-4-2 system with Quintieri moving up top and Kink slotting in on the right wing.
The changes didn’t bring any immediate benefit and it was Infonet who mustered the game’s best opportunity ten minutes after the restart. A neat drag back from the by-line was deflected goalwards by a Kalju defender and just barely cleared off the line. Infonet protested that the ball had gone in but their cries were waved away by the referee.
Infonet also began pressing Kalju higher up the pitch which forced them to adopt a more direct approach once more. In the 61st minute, Allan ran three-quarters of the length of the pitch but his ball inside was scuffed wide by Neemelo.
Infonet were creating chances and were again unlucky not to take the lead as a low ball in from the left was met at the near post and well turned away by the keeper.
Kalju’s best chance came 15 minutes from time as Quintieri got away from his marker and played a lovely ball across the face of the goal which Neemelo somehow managed to fail to make contact with. Quintieri and Allan were Kalju’s biggest threats cutting in from the wings and putting crosses into the box but they were unable to provide the final touch as Kalju settled for a 0-0 stalemate.
Despite the three matches being a pre-season experiment for Prins to test his trialists and work out his preferred method of play, he may very well have a little cause for concern.
The addition of Reginald to the squad would certainly be a plus after his combative displays in central midfield were sure to have impressed. Prins will be happy with his side’s defensive play over the three games and Karl Mööl’s solid yet consistent displays have presented another option for him. Kalju fans will hope that Wakui can get up to speed quickly to inject some flair and decisiveness into the attack as the biggest problem for Kalju right now looks to be their inability to finish off their attacks. They look able to keep the ball and move it about nicely but they appear more threatening when playing direct, with Quintieri and Allan given freer roles. Prins seemed to want to make a 4-5-1/4-3-3 system work but it left the striker too isolated and the more traditional 4-4-2 approach looked to work more in Kalju’s favour.
A potential central midfield pairing of Reginald and Wakui looks promising with Neemelo and Voskoboinikov yet to be tested as a front two with support from Allan and Quintieri.