RdS tries to catch up with the intense May calendar (4 matchdays in 15 days!) taking advantage of the two-week national team breaks. The Premium Liiga will unofficially resume on Saturday the 31st of May when Tammeka will receive Narva Trans to recover Matchday 1 fixture, postponed from March.
Matchday 15, starting on Monday the 9th of June, will give us a Flora-Kalju derby, essential derby for the future of the Premium Liiga table.
We also take a look at the Best XI of Matchdays 11, 12, 13 and 14 as the race for ‘RdS Best XI - 2014’ continues.
Nõmme Kalju are still the tableleaders.
Notwithstanding Levadia put an end to their incredible streak of wins (8!) they have managed to keep the head of the table by beating Sillamäe (1-0) Kalev (0-3) and Narva (2-1).
When Flora and Levadia shared the spoils of a goalless draw derby (Matchday 13) Kalju increased their gap to 4 points clear of Flora. The impression was really that the 2013 runners-up could have started an escape from the rest of the title-contenders until the Midsummer’s break.
The Ivanov’s penalty 4 days later and Kalju’s inability to come back for the first time during this season, have basically ‘reopened’ the title race. The top3 clubs are all within a 3-point span and Sillamäe are just five points far from the top.
The Eastern Estonia top club has managed to somehow come out of the crisis and after losing to Kalju at Kadriorg (Matchday 11) they have managed to put together 3 wins in a row.
First they pushed away Paide from any ambition to enter the top5 and then by literally crushing minnows (0-6 away at Tammeka and 6-1 home against Lokomotiv Jõhvi). They keep at a fair distance FC Infonet (27 points vs. 24) and seem not to have suffered from the losses of Zahovaiko (injury) and Sidorenkov (left the club) having their best individuals in Ratkinov, Kvasov and Kabaev who have all climbed the topscorers’ table with 8 goals each. Sillamäe is the best striking force of the Premium Liiga counting 40 nettings.
FC Infonet brilliant start of season has gone through a series of setbacks: after crunching Narva (4-0 on Matchday 11) they picked up just one point in their away game to Jõhvi and lost to what would be podium direct rivals, Levadia and Flora.
The two losses against the most-titled Estonian clubs were at odds for results and ways they unfolded.
If against Levadia they managed to concede a fair lead to the Champions with few hopes to come back, against Flora, instead, they somehow managed to come back until they squandered their two-one-up lead in the very last minutes of the game allowing two injury-time goals to Prosa and Gussev.
If against Lokomotiv Puśtov did not blame the despicable conditions of the pitch (is this really a field worth of Premium Liiga? ) this time he had a go at the ‘God of Football’ who helped Flora. Not quite though, especially if we consider that Infonet led the game thanks to a dubious penalty granted to Manucho. After the Ivorian transformed the penalty, Infonet was not able to resist to Flora’s siege and capitulated at 90’+3 when Gussev pulled out a screamer that sent Flora fans mental. It should be said that, if Flora was at fault for lowering the intensity in the second half of the challenge, Infonet were not able to produce a valid display or at least the one they have get us used too. Too few ideas, too many long balls. Not really the kind of game Infonet has been fancying in the past year and a half. Puśtov himself seemed confused on how to better handle his resources: if Aidara had been replaced in previous games due to poor performances (Levadia included), against Flora he seemed either one of the most positives (few) or at least showing interesting signs of recover.
The likes of Lipin, Elhi and Valov seem to still be under their standards. The break shall help Infonet to put order in the house. Under the table point of view, nothing is lost as the third place is still 5 points far only.
Between top5 and the drop-zone lie Paide Linnameeskond.
Not enough good for the former, but not too bad for the latter.
Paide’s season has taken the turn of a quiet but emotionless one. If they had managed to come from Narva with three points (they lost 1-0) in Matchday 14, the advantage over Trans would have been an embarrassing +13.
Instead Bondarenko’s XI manage to confirm themselves as the most solid Premium Liiga low-table defence (only 16 goals suffered) and, thanks to a goal by Siim Tenno, solved temporarily their striking problems and reduced the gap to 7 points. Still a good life-insurance for Paide though.
The bottom three are the usual suspects: Tammeka, Kalev and Lokomotiv.
The latters have managed to put together other two points (both home on the above-mentioned infamous pitch) and were one penalty away from the first Premium Liiga victory (Matchday 12). Notwithstanding some positive signs (the first half against Levadia on Matchday 11), the possibility of safety seems an utopia. In the best case scenario, Loko might put Kalev behind and go to a play-off at the end of season. Kalev, on their hand, keep on being the most-beaten defence as they have let in already 52 goals (almost 4 per game). The 1-1 draw home against Tammeka came thanks to a penalty giving the lead and to Tammeka’s dramatic situation with injuries. The latters represent probably the worst opponent for the Southern Estonian side counting 7 men sidelined, including Kaarel Kiidron whose return was definitely put off by an old issue with his knee. On the resume against Narva Trans, they are likely to recover either 2 or 3 of those (Valtna, Paju and maybe Markus Jõgi) with Lorenz possibly ready for mid-June.
Premium Liiga next fixtures
Recovery of Matchday 1
Tammeka vs. Narva Trans, 31st of June 16:00
Narva Trans vs. Sillamäe Kalev, 7th of June 16:00
Kalev vs. Lokomotiv, 9th of June 19:00
Paide vs. FC Infonet, 10th of June, 19:00
Tammeka vs. Levadia, 10th of June 19:00
Flora vs. Nõmme Kalju, 10th of June 19:00
RdS Best XI, Matchday 11
RdS Best XI, Matchday 12
RdS Best XI, Matchday 13
RdS Best XI, Matchday 14