In an interview with UEFA.com this week, FC Infonet boss Aleksandr Puštov claimed his side were ready to compete in Europe. His words may need further justification, however, as his side were beaten 3-0 by Levadia last weekend to halt their impressive start to the season.
Narva also lost last weekend, failing to add to their single victory so far this season. Both sides need the points here and, on paper, it looks like it could be a close, low-scoring game.
Focus on NARVA TRANS
After a 4-match unbeaten start to the season (1 win, 3 draws), Narva Trans have suffered two defeats in a row, with their 4-0 drubbing to Kalju followed up by a 1-0 defeat to Flora at the A Le Coq Arena last weekend.
Manager Valeri Bondarenko stuck with the same side last time out, but he may feel the need for change here to halt his side’s mini venture off the rails. Bondarenko said Flora were the luckier side as an explanation for his side’s defeat last weekend, but they may need to find some luck of their own if they are to improve on their return of one win from their first six games.
Their defence has been fairly mean this season, letting in just seven goals, but this is balanced out by the fact that they have only scored seven themselves.
Aleksandr Eliseenok may continue up front, supported by Viktor Plotnikov, Sergejs Mishins, and Vladislav Fjodorov, who will form an attacking midfield threesome, with the latter continuing in place of the injured Andrejs Sinicins. Bondarenko had praise for Tanel Tamberg, following the right-back’s impressive replacement of Dimitri Sheviakova, and may choose to stick with him.
Full back Vitali Andrejev is one yellow card away from suspension, and will need to be at his disciplined best against a possible three-man Infonet attack.
Key Man: Aleksandr Eliseenok.
Narva need to start scoring goals, and if Eliseenok gets the nod he will have to produce the goods for his side.
Flora vs. Narva Trans
Focus on INFONET
Infonet coach Aleksandr Puštov was quoted on UEFA.com this week saying: “I think we are ready to compete in Europe both physically and mentally…it is one of our gals this season.” His side will need to show their credentials this week as they were brought back down to earth with a bump last weekend with a 3-0 defeat to Levadia.
Neither side had looked like scoring until the 75th minute, when the 2013 champions found an extra gear, to which Infonet had no answer. Prior to the match, Infonet sat in 2nd place in the table, having lost just one of their opening six games, supporting Puštov’s bold claims.
They will have to attempt to bounce back without three members of their squad, as Oleg Valov and Trevor Elhi nurse injuries, and Alexander Semakhin serves a suspension following his fourth booking of the season against Levadia.
Aidara may return to the starting line-up in place of Valov, having been left on the bench again last time out, and Puštov may look to youth once more, having also spoken to Uefa.com about the club’s development policy: “It has always been our philosophy to let players prove their quality and develop. Results have shown we are on the right path."
Key Man: Manucho
Manucho will be required to drive his side forward and break down the defensive wall Narva will build. He will need some support from the players around him but Infonet need their number 11 to put himself about as he has shown he is capable of.
LEVADIA VS. FC INFONET HEAD TO HEAD
Clashes in Premium Liiga: 4
Trans' wins: 3
FC Infonet's wins: 0
Goals scored by Trans: 7
Goals scored by FC Infonet: 4
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Trans' rows: Stanislav Kitto (CB) 55 goals
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Infonet's rows: Konstantin Nahk (DMF) 151 goals
More odds about this game here by
The referees squad
Roomer Tarajev has been assigned with the task of directing the clash in the border city. The 34-year-old has never whistled this clash before in his 99 times in a Premium Liiga game.
His cards tally is 421 yellows (4,25 per game) 13 red cards for a second booking and 14 straight red cards (0,14)
It will be his 5th game this season. Under his direction, the home team has never won (two away victories and two draws).
His touchline assistants will be Jaan Roos and Rando Kesküla while Elar Tarkus will keep an eye from the technical area.
Bondarenko highlighted his side’s lack of firepower this week, in an interview where he also highlighted his temptation to stick with the 4-2-3-1 system he has been loyal to (apart from the Kalju game, in which he used 4-4-2). Two defensive midfielders will be used to try and break up Infonet’s counter attacking game.
Infonet may deploy a slightly more adventurous 4-3-3 system to try and find their shooting boots against a side with a solid defensive record so far. Puštov may turn down the opportunity to restore Aidara in favour of an attacking trio of Manucho, Harin and Lipin. Konstantin Nahk will continue in the centre of midfield, most likely alongside Tanel Melts. Infonet’s focus has been on direct, counter attacking football so far, but they hit a brick wall against Levadia last week. They may need to rethink their approach as Narva’s two-man defensive midfield partnership is likely to prove difficult to break through.
INFO ABOUT THE GAME
Entrance to the Kalev FAMA Stadium is 2€, 1€ the discounted ticket for children and senior citizens.
No Facebook event available and the game will not be streamed.
Kick-off time 18:45 tonight (18th of April).