Focus on KALEV
Against all odds, Zamogilnõi XI managed to create troubles against Kalju last week confirming their better form away than home: 1 win, 1 draw and 1 (tiny) loss and the '0' in the goal difference balance give a clear picture of a team more accustomed to play away from the Kalev sport complex.
In the upcoming weekend the 'kalevlased' will re-open the gates of the Central Stadium as the damage to the grass has been quickly fixed (read the story about here).
The visiting team will be no less than Flora, will they resist to the attack of the Premium Liiga second best attack (16)?
Edgars Butlers is still sidelined by a dislocated arm (he should be back next weekend in the 'away' game to FC Infonet) and Raiko Karpov is cautioned as he has already collected three cards.
The Premium Liiga second oldest coach will probably field the same 4-2-3-1 against Flora. However, expecting pressures on the flanks (Gussev/Logua and Sappinen/Alliku) he will certainly organize a 4-5-1 when not in possession leaving either Nikita Koger or Aleksei Belov alone to battle with Rähn and Mets.
The problem will not be much about which formation to field, but how the XI will perform on their 5th home match. A limp attitude as the ones seen against Levadia and Tammeka will only help Flora to put the word 'over' to the game the earliest possible. As Flora have shown to suffer defensively well-organized teams, this is where the team has to work ahead of the clash.
Key-man: Daniil Savitski
Provided his back is totally recovered, the 24-year-old shot stopper and lawyer in everyday life, he could be the great protagonist of this game as his saves can prevent Flora from scoring plenty of goals. However when the goalie is the protagonist, it means it is not a good day for the XI as a whole.
Focus on FLORA
Is the Flora goal-machine stuck? Five goals in the last five games would say that something is not working well. However, credit should also be given to the oppositions.
Last week, Narva defensive organization allowed Bondarenko&Co. to resist for almost one hour until Taavi Rähn, used as a battering ram, headed a long ball sent by Beglarishvili past Lepmets.
Whether they were lucky or not, as Bondarenko claimed, it is a feature of big teams when in trouble: managing to come out of it with an individual play. Begla's ability in picking out a pass and Rähn's skill in being an additional striker have managed to bring Flora a lot of points and even a trophy (the Supercup).
On the paper the game 'away' to Kalev seems the good chance to resume the regular march (Flora had scored 11 goals in the first three games) and eventually take advantage of those who might lose points elsewhere (FC Infonet in Narva and Nõmme Kalju in Sillamäe).
Norbert Hurt operated a bit of rotation against Narva therefore we might expect the regulars seen so far in the starting XI. Meaning: Gussev and Alliku on each flank (left and right) and Luigend in front of the defence with Lepistu at the expenses of Andre Frolov.
However we shall consider that next Matchday (9) will offer Sillamäe visiting A.LeCoq. It might be the case Hurt would indeed insist on rotating is more trustworthy henchmen.
Karol Mets broke his nose against Narva but continued the game until the end. If he plays, he will probably do with one of those protective masks. If he won't, Nikita Baranov (at ease in the central back position) shall take his place considering Janar Õunap is injured.
Key-man: Brent Lepistu
Shall he get the nod from the coach once again, it might be expected for the young midfielder to show his real worth. Against opposition such as Kalev, he will have all the space to create passes and chances for his team and possibly score a goal.
Previous games on RdS
KALEV VS. FLORA HEAD TO HEAD
Clashes in Premium Liiga: 20
Kalev's wins: 0
Flora’s wins: 17
Goals scored by Kalev: 14
Goals scored by Flora: 56
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Kalev's rows: Aleksei Savtski (CB) 7 goals
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Flora's rows: Albert Prosa (CF) 71 goals
More odds about the game here by:
THE REFEREES SQUAD
(statistics courtesy of Heigo Niilop)
The Estonian international referee, Hannes Kaasik, will direct his third seasonal game, the second in a row (last week he witnessed Sillamäe 3-0 win in Paide).
Kaasik has whistled 235 games in Premium Liiga showing 690 yellows ( 2,93 per game), 27 red cards for second booking and 24 straight red cards (0,1)
Only two precedents with this clash:
10.03.2007 Kalev – Flora 0-1
19.05.2012 Flora – Kalev 5-0
with 4 yellows shown to Kalev and 1 to Flora.
In one occasion, he showed a red card for double booking (Kalev)
On the touchlines Hannes Reinvald and former Tallinn deputy mayor, Jaanus Mutli. The 4th official will be Joonas Janovits.
Attention drawn also at the game inspector who would be senior referee Oleg Timofejev. Mr. Timofejev has rendered his services during the '90's also at international level. He was victim of an unpleasant episode when attacked in his own house as a follow-up of a decision taken on the pitch at the expense of FC Tevalte (soon after demoted from the Premium Liiga, it was 1994).
Mr. Timofejev has also been a long-time referee at amateur tournaments held by SEM (recently he directed the SEM Futsal Cup final)
As mentioned earlier, it won't be much for Kalev what formation will be played, but the way the whole XI will enter the field. Zamolginõi could field a 6-man defence (he won't) but if those 6 will not fight tooth and nail, there will be very little to do. Kalev are in the same situation as FC Kuressaare last year: they just cannot enter the pitch and play football. Each game must be like the last they will every play.
On the other hand Hurt will be keen in relying once and again to the 4-2-3-1 as this has provided a better coverage to the back line. The 4-1-4-1 age might be over, unless Hurt is still convinced he can give the job back there to Luigend. The abundance of choice among Gussev, Logua, Sappinen and Alliku for the flanks can help the young skipper to rotate adequately ahead of the big clash with Sillamäe. There is where dangers will come from for Kalev as Omanidze and Karpov will have more defensive duties than offensive ones to control the quick men on the flanks.
Info about the game
Game at 18:45 at the Kalev Central Stadium and therefore grass debut for Kalev tomorrow, 19th of April.
The game will also be streamed by Postimees here
If you click 'Going' to the Facebook event within 5pm today, the entrance is free otherwise the ticket is 4€ at the entrance (half price if you choose 'Going' after 5pm today and for the discounted categories: school children and pensioners).
If you hold a LHV Bank football card, the ticket is also 50% discounted.