FC Infonet host Paide this weekend looking to extend their unbeaten run to 10 matches. They made it nine matches in their 2-2 draw with Flora last week, but the manner in which they threw away a commanding 2-0 lead will be cause for concern.
Paide were held to a 1-1 draw with Narva last week, as their mini mid-season revival has seen them establish themselves firmly in mid-table.
FOCUS ON INFONET (4/10, 45pts)
Infonet’s good run of form has seen claw back the gap to Kalju in third to four points. They are also just six points back from Levadia in second, making their European qualification chances much stronger than they appeared some weeks ago.
Manucho grabbed two more goals against Flora in what was an imperious display from the frontman. He will lead the line once more, backed up by Aidara in the central attacking midfield role. Oleg Valov is doubtful for this clash, and his place will be given to Jevgeni Harin, Maksim Lipin or Jevgeni Gurtsioglujants. Aleksandr Semakhin may continue on the right after some impressive performances further up the pitch.
The reliable duo of Konstantin Nahk and Tanel Melts, unless the recent matches against the big three have taken their toll on the squad. Albert Taar has signed on this week after failing a trial in Norway, and he may be deployed in place of Aidara, most likely from the bench if at all, or in central midfield.
Injuries and Suspensions
Oleg Valov is likely to miss out, but Infonet have no other injury worries.
Nahk, Avilov, Harin, Gurtsioglujants and Manucho are all a booking away from suspension.
Key man: Manucho
Who else? The Infonet frontman is in scintillating form, scoring eight goals in his last five games and netting in each of his last three. Paide need to have a game plan to deal with him, but his strength and athleticism make him a menace to any potential strategy.
FOCUS ON PAIDE (6/10, 26pts)
Following five straight defeats, Paide have now lost just one in five as their mid-season revival ticks over. They are more than comfortable in 6th place, nine points above Narva in 7th and 17 points behind Sillamäe in 5th.
Paide’s squad has once again been released prior to the game, with last weekend’s starting XI against Narva likely to be more or less repeated here.
Sander Roivassepp will lead the line, supported by Stanislav Goldberg, Rasmus Tomson and Kaspar Paur from left to right. Eerik Reinsoo and last week’s goal-scorer Sander Sinilaid will protect the defence, with the likeliest change being Karl Palatu returning from suspension in place of Joel Indermitte in the centre of defence.
Injuries and Suspensions
No injury worries for Paide.
Kaldoja, Sinilaid and Koll are all a booking away from suspension.
Key Man: Eerik Reinsoo/Sander Sinilaid
The defensive-midfield partnership for Paide will be key in trying to stop Infonet’s pace on the break. Aidara will look to help create space for Manucho, so Reinsoo and Sinilaid must cut off the supply to the Infonet frontman.
Identical formations put emphasis on individual performances. The centre of the park might become a little congested, but Infonet have the ability to use their wingers effectively. Aidara will try and stretch the central midfielders, creating space for Manucho.
Paide need to get around Nahk and Melts, who don't tend to wander too far forward. They might look to counter down the wings to exploit the space the marauding Infonet full backs occasionally leave.
INFONET VS. PAIDE TRANS HEAD-TO-HEAD
(last 6 Premium Liiga Matches via WhoScored.com)
Infonet’s wins: 1
Paide's wins: 4
Goals scored by Infonet: 4
Goals scored by Paide: 11
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Infonet's rows: Konstantin Nahk (DM)153 goals
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Paide's rows: Rasmus Tomson (MF) 39 goals
ODDS (the figures may be subject to variation)
BETTING TIP (by Chris Johns)
Over 2.5 goals in three of Paide's last four games and in all of Infonet's last five give a clue as to where your money should go. 1.44 is probably the best price you will find in this market as the result appears cut and dried.
Tip: Over 2.5 goals
THE REFEREES SQUAD
(statistics courtesy of Heigo Niilop)
Martin Salong officiates here. His 86 Premium Liiga matches have seen 300 yellow cards and 17 reds, 13 of which have been for two yellows.
INFO ABOUT THE GAME
The match will be played at the Sportland Arena on Saturday 16th August. Kick-off is at 19:00.
Tickets cost 5 euros. For people attending their FB event tickets cost 3 euros, and for youngsters under 16 it is free of charge.
The match will not be streamed.