With Flora and Levadia travelling to Eastern Estonia and Nõmme Kalju paying a visit back to Tammeka, there were many clues that the tableleaders could have increased their gap at the expenses of the formers.
However, the evidence came out only for the Champions as they left two points in Narva. An unrecognisable Sillamäe let Flora travel back home with the full jackpot marking the crisis at the club also in terms of results (second loss in a row at home, three games without winning).
The Premium Liiga weekend started on Friday with another top-5 side busy in the only Tallinn’s fixture.
It was not as smooth as a week earlier when Puśtov side won 6-0. FC Infonet had to sweat more to bring the three points home as Kalev were on 1-1 draw 13 minutes to time. The result was a shock per se and only a Savitskis Brothers’ unlucky own-goal cooperation and Manucho’s 6th seasonal goal, helped Infonet to spend a relaxing weekend away from Puśtov fury. Undoubtedly, FC Infonet suffered from the additional 120’ of the cup semifinal, which drained energies from the XI. The victory helped FC Infonet to keep the pace with Kalju (-3) and Flora (-1).
At the same time, 200km away from Tallinn, Tammeka held their third home game this season receiving the tableleaders in the attempt of trying to cancel the 6-0 loss few days earlier in Kadriorg. Was it mission accomplished? Looking at the result, indeed as Kalju left Estonia’s second biggest town with a rather modest 2-0 win, however, as coach Koser remarked, either 2-0 or 6-0, there are no points coming for Tammeka (third loss in a row for the white-blues). Pride can be considered restored as the home team conceded one goal per half (Neemelo opened and then served an assist to Allan Kimbaloula). It is fair to mention that Kalju were low on the gear, content to control the game and strike whenever a gross chance was coming forward. The season is long, and considering the gap between the two sides, it was quite reasonable to handle mental and physical energies for the next battle against Sillamäe.
The win on Friday put additional pressure on the 2013 Champions, travelling Narva bound to try to secure three points to keep the pace. It was a tough game, as usual when taking on Narva in their home ground. In first half the two sides were almost equal as Trans had good chances in counterattack and Śmisko had to save the house several times (he remarkably denied Siim Tenno a screamer from distance). Second half saw Levadia taking control both of the game and the ball possession. However, as usual during this season, they were unable to finalize the chances created. Marko Kristal fielded all his striking power having Artur Rättel and Ingemar Teever in front and Vladislav Ivanov on the left flank replacing Omar El Hussieny. With Arsenij Buinickij gone to Iceland, Marko Kristal has to make go with problems in the forward line, inconsistent and inefficient. Rättel and Teever have scored 7 goals together (few from the 8-0 win against Kalev) and Ivanov a mere one (in the same famous win). Kristal’s start of season’s woes seems not to come to an end. With European campaign approaching and Kalju increasing the gap, the Levadia gaffer is now in a opposite position compared to a year ago when he was cruising on top of the table with Kalju at same points (25).
The game was affected by a controversial decision by referee Eiko Saar not to assign a penalty to Levadia on the very last second, an episode Kristal complained vehemently about and we treat separately in our moviola.
Opposite feelings at Flora who returned to Tallinn after a tiny win over Sillamäe (2-1). To tell the truth, the greens complicated their lives when, 4 minutes to time, they conceded a goal to Daniil Ratnikov (5th seasonal) in corner-kick scrum situation. In fact, Sillamäe had had their share in complicating their own lives when Maksim Paponov collected a red card on 79’. Flora were already leading 2-0 a rather somnolent game shaken first by Beglarishvili (44’, he was not bagging one since matchday 3) and later on by Prosa (50’, 8th seasonal goal, second in a row after a three-game diet). They are three paramount points considering they were taken away from the hands of a direct rival and allow Hurt’s side to keep the pace with Kalju and have Levadia behind.
With Nõmme Kalju taking on Sillamäe next weekend and Flora receiving Kalev home, there is a tasty chance for another earthquake at the top, unless we believe Sillamäe have definitely lost touch with the title fight. Probably it is a bit too early to say, however Paide is already knocking behind.
In the other weekend fixture, Paide won with a mere 2-1 over Lokomotiv in Jõhvi. The home team managed to surprisingly open the score when Congolese player, Maxime Mboungou, brought the hosts one nil up. On a difficult pitch, Paide managed to turn the game on its head thanks to Goldberg and Tomson nettings.
It’s Paide’s third win in a row. Only Kalju have done better this season as they are on their fifth win running.