Our periodic roundup ends here. We will meet again for an end-of-season roundup.
Starting from next week, we will offer a featured version of the ‘RdS Best XI’ with the Best XI after each match day and the overall standings of the top5 players of the Premium Liiga according to ‘Rumori’
The FC Flora’s supremacy has come into the last part of the season almost undisturbed.
A streak of negative results (from Matchday 23 to Matchday 25) allowed the oppositions to come close and even overcome. As it happened with Levadia, temporarily on top until they lost to Sillamäe (0-3 at home) on Matchday 26.
What looked like the dawn of a new phase of the season (the last time Levadia were on top dated back to 9 months ago) instead turned into what will be one of the most enthusing final title race seen in the latest years.
With the international break coming up, the Premium Liiga takes a break seeing the following table on top:
FC Flora 61 points
FC Levadia 60
Nõmme Kalju 57
There are four teams in six points, and with all the direct clashes to be played once more (Tallinn derbies and the Tallinn-Sillamäe triple challenge) everything can really happen.
FC Flora have just one point advantage. Nothing to sleep too much tight on. However, Levadia have to face important squad setbacks: the unexpected departure of Vladislav Ivanov (top striker of the 2013 Champions with 19 goals in 21 games) and the one-month injury of one of the best midfielders of the season, Omar El-Hussieny.
It happened all in few days and it’s the umpteenth blow for Marko Kristal’s side after Artur Rättel’s injury and the dismissal of Kulinits and Jahhimovitś due to ties with the matchfixing scandal.
Notwithstanding that, Levadia got easily past Paide (Matchday 27, 4-1) and saw international Dmitri Kruglov back on the field scoring a goal in injury time.
Nõmme Kalju have offered alternate performances and results.
2 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss is the balance from Matchday 23 till 27 with the high note of the win in the derby against Flora, the first three points in a derby this season.
FC Infonet represents a big chunk to chew for Igor Prins’ XI since another draw came out after a rather ugly game let gone off hand once and again by the match director.
On the resume, they will have the toughest task compared to FC Flora and FC Levadia as they will take on FC Infonet again. It might be a decisive game for Kalju’s chances to continue fighting for the title. At this point of the season, the 4-point gap is remarkable. However, if the gap will increase, there will be only derby games to put all the stake on. And these have proved Kalju’s weak spot this season.
Meanwhile, Sillamäe is knocking at the door of the podium.
With the bext streak this season (7 wins in a row from Matchday 21 till 27) they have little by little recovered points and positions. First they managed to overcome FC Infonet (now five points far) and finally they got closer to Nõmme Kalju being just at an handy three-point distance from the Tallinn’s club.
Kabaev&Co. will certainly threaten Kalju’s presence in the podium. The Ukrainian striker has already reached 26 goals this season and with another game against Kalev and Lokomotiv to be played , he could likely get close to 40 compared to last season when Voskoboinikov won with ‘just’ 23 goals. Kabaev is certainly a skilled striker, however 17 of his goals were scored against minnows (everyone at the bottom excluding Paide). A number, which is actually not far from Vosko’s 15 against the bottom sides excluding Infonet.
After the positive streak, FC Infonet have lost sensibly ground: 1 win, 3 draws and 1 loss allowed Sillamäe to take over and dig a 5-point gap. The ambition is to get to Europe by clinching the third place, however the existing 7-point gap from Kalju seems like a mountain to be climbed.
Paide have not moved sensibly considering they just collected three points in five games after three draws in a row (from Matchday 23 till 25) and lost the last two. Their greatest feat was compelling Kalju to a scoredraw (1-1) on injury time (Matchday 25) influencing the title race.
Now, they stand 7 points clear of the Trans-Tammeka couple.
The Tartu Blues have completed their recovery process by closing the gap with Narva Trans last weekend in a dramatic 2-1 comeback win. It all started back in February when Tammeka club was revived and had to start a season basically with no preparation. Little by little, Indrek Koser squad has managed to build decent performances and collect points (the most important were the win in Narva and the scoredraw against Flora on Matchday 25). The ambition is to reach safety before the end of the season without the play-off. If the drama was in the tail of last season, Tammeka fans can fairly claim they had enough drama at the start of the present one and will preferably go into winter without the additional 180’ decisive minutes.
It’s more than feasible since Kalev do not look like giving trouble to anyone.
10 losses in a row for Zamolginõi side would normally mean the bottom of the table if it were not for Lokomotiv to be already there since almost the start of the season. However, the Eastern Estonia newly promoted have managed to collect the first three points (Matchday 25 and against Kalev) and added added another draw to their list (6 in total) reaching 9 points.
After recovering Tihhomirov as head coach, they offered decent performances putting in troubles Sillamäe and FC Flora. Signs that might spare a surprise for the end of season seeing Kalev straightly relegated and Loko to the play-offs against the first eligible team from Esiliiga (at the moment Pärnu Linnameeskond since Viljand Tulevik is one point ahead for a straight promotion).
Either way, the final quarter of the season will not be boring.
RdS Best XI for 3/4 of the season