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Estonian Supercup: FC Levadia vs. Santos 5-0, report and ratings

Angelo PalmeriComment

No story in Sportland Arena, Santos resistance lasted one half. In second, Levadia sailed away. Glory for young Peetson scoring a brace together with 'debuting' Saag. Good training game ahead of Friday battle against FC Infonet for Premium Liiga debut.


Compared to our predicted XI, Kristal opts to rest, surprisingly, the captain, Ingemar Teever, and gives a chance up front to new signing Maksim Lipin on the right. As a consequence, Omar El-Hussieny places behind Kaimar Saag in a 4-4-1-1 set-up. In defence, Laitinen earns a place instead of Rahmanov and takes the righ back position with Rähn and Pecha forming the central pair.

Santos Tartu predicted XI was identical except for Mikk Laas replacing Vares.

In first 5 minutes, ball possession is entirely for Levadia trying to bring as much pressure to Santos as possible. Not that the figure will change much during the course of the first fortyfive minutes. The Estonian Champions earn also the first corner (4’) with no relevant follow-up except for Luts earning a free kick that he takes straight at Ojaste’s gloves from the side of the box.

Omar El-Hussieny is initially given a pure trequartista role with more freedom to move between the lines and eventually collect the ball at edge of Levadia’s half. Kristal can have more alternatives this season since the club was able to sign a couple of effective wingers as Luts and Lipin.

However, against oll odds, the first dangerous appearance of a chance is for Mikk Laas. Pecha is late in covering his own back and a through-ball sends one of the Laas brothers (Mikk) straight towards Shirokov goal. The ball travels fast due to the wet pitch and Shirokov is fast in reacting to clean the ball on the edge of the box before it would get too late for Levadia (6’).

Maybe encouraged by the seeming chance, Santos has another go on 8’ minutes when, following a failed attempt on free-kick, Santos kickstarts a counter which dies across the touchline thanks to Laitinen’s good work.

Artur Pikk left leg seems still a bit cold since a couple of crosses sent in from the left are off target from Kaimar Saag.

Santos defend with order and discipline, as expected, and the spaces are packed in front of the box. When in possession, they don’t dare too much and simply resort to long balls with no avail.

On 16’ minutes Pecha has a good chance to turn a short into the box after Ojaste had awkwardly cleared a corner by Luts, however his shot is well above the bar.
On 17’ minutes Kartsep goes hard in a challenge on Lipin, however ref Martin opts for a simple verbal warning.
Past the fifteen minutes of play, Levadia keep bouncing on Santos wall and try to find a personal solution when El-Hussieny goes in Messi mode aiming at the box with a series of sharp dribblings (19’). However, the last step brings to Levadia’s umpteenth corner with no follow-up.

Kristal tries different solutions switching the men’s positions on the run: El-Hussieny moves on the left, Lipin behind Saag and Luts on the other side of the pitch. A full rotation of attacking midfielders/wingers. Meanwhile the weather shows no mercy at the little audience who turned up together with a military unit who stood proudly at the national anthem being played ahead of the kick-off. Sleet started to fall since the whistle.

Omar misses at empty goal. Just over the bar. (err streaming screenshot)

Omar misses at empty goal. Just over the bar. (err streaming screenshot)

What happens on 24’ minutes it’s incredible. El-Hussieny has basically the chance to comfortably tap the ball in with Ojaste completely put off by a low cross sent in by Lipin. The easiest goal to score, however the Egyptian sends it over the bar.
It is Levadia’s best chance just before thirty minutes of play.

Past the shock, Levadia try to re-organize and, despite the difficult pitch conditions, they try to play short passes and be more close to each other. On several occasions, Ojaste doesn’t look like the safest of the goalkeepers, however, one way (Levadia’s lack of precision) or the other (defenders able to clear) he manages to get away with it.

However, he cannot do anything when Kaimar Saag decides to open his new Premium Liiga account on 32’ minutes when Omar sends a precise ball in the box and Saag heads it past Ojaste. The goalkeeper’s timing to exit is awful as he doesn’t reach the ball and doesn’t protect his goal.

Just before the half-time whistle, Santos have another through-ball however this time Pecha is quick in covering Shirokov’s action.
With the 1-0 under the belt, Levadia reached the changing room knowing that the Supercup was basically a fait accompli and just needed more goals to sounds legitimate.

 

Kaimar Saag has already reopened his seasonal account of goals in Estonia

Kaimar Saag has already reopened his seasonal account of goals in Estonia

On the resume, Santos try to be brave and surprise Levadia with a bit of initiative. However, on 55’ minutes Teever makes them understand this game is closed.
After a scrum in the attempt to either clear or score, Teever slams it past Ojaste and makes 2-0. In the same frame, Saag had hit the bar with a header.
One minute earlier, Teever had a great chance to head past Ojaste,  however his attempt aimed at the comfortable catch of the Santos goalie.

Close to the hour, the game is already a downhill for Levadia with Saag almost making it 3-0. Ojaste makes the first good save of the match using his left foot on Saag’s shot in the box.

It’s just a ringbell as on 61’ minutes Saag puts another shot past Ojaste. Once again, the Santos goalie lets the ball in on his post, a mistake that brings the score to 3-0, quite ungenerous considering Santos effort in first half to keep the score on a decent line.
Once the result is basically achieved, Kristal rests Saag and send in Rättel. The nr.9  is back to official football after almost one year. Saag, on the other hand, will certainly be a weapon of choice in the title race. Same goes with Luts later on replaced with Peetson who first earns a penalty and scores it and then aims from distance at Ojaste. 5-0 before 75’ minutes and game over. 

Santos chances of winning this trophy melted down as the sleet that fell on Sportland Arena in a cold March evening.

Levadia and Flora have now the same titles: 23.


RATINGS

SHIROKOV 6
Basically without work for most of the game. He might get the wrong impression it will always be as easy. However he is very quick in reading the situation when Laas runs after a through-ball.

LAITINEN 6,5
Half more for turning off a counter soon after Santos’ early great chance. Confident.

RÄHN 6
Basic work done together with Pecha in holding the defensive line up.

PECHA 6
The distraction on 6’ minutes might cost dear, however both the pitch conditions and Shirokov help him in avoiding a negative debut. After that, he controls the line confident and has also a go on set-piece situations

PIKK 5,5
‘The Soldier’ tries several times to send the ball in the box, however lacks precision. Other than that, the usual overlappings on the left flank that earned him Magnus Pehrsson consideration. However, he looks nervous when picks up a minor fight with Vellemaa. Kristal is not convinced and avoid worst by replacing him at half time with Teever and switching back to a traditional 4-4-2. TEEVER 7 - Gets in, has a chance and scores another. My job is done here.

LIPIN 6,5
Leaving Infonet seems it was beneficial for the young U-21 international. He looks like the same Lipin we appreciated in 2013. First trophy in his personal cabinet and now onto to make regret his old club letting him going (?). He works in rotation with Luts and Omar and doesn’t seem to suffer from that. When in second half Kristal brings in Teever, he returns to the right flank.


ANTONOV 6
In first half he follows his defensive tasks appropriately, and since El-Hussieny, Luts and Lipin are pushing adequately, he controls the situation from the 30 meters. Energies spared for the battle against Infonet on Friday.

RAUDSEPP 6
Same as Antonov. Santos midfield is stuck to the defensive line, therefore few chances for fierce duels.

LUTS 6,5
A positive debut for Levadia, created a lot of troubles wherever he was. Looks like another good signing for Levadia. He is replaced for the young Peetson. 
PEETSON 6,5 - dream seasonal debut. Kristal sends him in as last change and he plays like the score is 0-0. He earns a penalty, and the veterans give him the green light to take it. Confidence take and 4-0. 

EL-HUSSIENY 6,5
It would be 7 if it weren't for that incredible missed chance. However, it happened to the likes of Bobo Vieri during his Inter times...
The good thing, Omar gets himself together and keep playing his game without too many regrets. A while after, he serves Saag the opener. If he can't score, he can still set-up.
Interesting to see if Kristal is really testing a trequartista position for him since there are enough good wingers this season.

SAAG 7
The Man Of The Match. Probably this signing equals Purje at Kalju. Maybe in Sweden he didn't have luck or is not fit for that football, however in Estonia he will be a sharp knife aimed at any defence. Obviously, they will not be as fragile as Santos, however he has shown he has hunger. RÄTTEL 6 - He didn't show anything special and the scene was stolen by Peetson, however his return to official football it's another piece of good news for Levadia.


SANTOS

OJASTE 4; KALLANDI 5, ROOPS 6, VÕRNO 5, K.LAAS 5; KARTSEP 5, SOON 5, LAURSON 5, M.LAAS 6; VELLEMAA 6; ALVE 5,5


SUBS: VARES 5,5; VIIDAJA 5; PIIRSALU 5