JK Narva Trans have an immediate opportunity for revenge after their 1-0 defeat at Levadia last weekend, as they host the same opposition on the Estonian-Russian border on Matchday 10.
Levadia controlled last weekend’s match from start to finish, but had just the one goal to show for it come the final whistle. Narva will hope that home support can help them up their game, as any points from the match would be seen as a good result.
Narva currently sit in 7th place, five points behind 6th place Paide, and dangerously close to the relegation zone, having won just one of their eight games so far. They have only conceded nine goals in those games, but their problem has been scoring; Eight goals being a poor return, and it fully explains their position in the table.
Levadia, on the other hand, are on an 8-match unbeaten run, including last week’s 1-0 defeat of Narva, and sit 2nd in the league, two points behind Kalju. They have conceded only four goals so far, a statistic which, when put next to Narva’s ‘goals scored’ tally, suggests only one possible outcome from the match.
Levadia have been in action since last weekend’s meeting between these two sides, however; they progressed to the final of the cup with a 1-0 defeat of Infonet after extra time, and the trip to Narva will be a good test of their stamina and ability to rotate their squad.
Focus on NARVA TRANS (7/10, 7pt)
Narva welcome back defenders Vitali Andreev and Pavel Avdeev from suspension, the latter after his controversial red card against Infonet. Bi Sehi Elysee Irie will move back into his more familiar midfield role, and he will need to watch his step having picked up his third yellow card of the season last weekend.
Narva will stick with 4-2-3-1, but predicting the personnel in their attacking foursome is not quite as easy as predicting the formation. Aleksandr Eliseenok may, perhaps, start as the lone striker again, supported by Vladislav Fjodorov, Viktor Plotnikov and Germain-Guri Lvov. Fjodorov may instead lead the line, with Artjom Shkinjov or Sergejs Mishins fitting in somewhere behind him, but this will depend on Valeri Bondarenko’s assessment of his side’s performance last weekend.
Key man: Roman Nesterovski
Nesterovski played well last weekend against the same opposition and will look to continue that form into this match. He will have seen what to expect and, with the return of Andrejev and Avdeev alongside him, he will be the man Narva look to to keep the Levadia attack from crossing the border.
Focus on LEVADIA (2/10, 18pt)
The 2013 league champions made two changes in midweek; Ingemar Teever and Ilja Antonov replaced Andreas Raudsepp and Arsenij Buinickij, both of whom were introduced later on in the match. However, with the departure of the Lithuanian striker announced today (Friday the 2nd of May) Ingemar Teever will probably continue in the side, as Marko Kristal is likely to want to stick with his regular 4-4-2 -based line-up, having the rest of the full squad to choose from.
This should see Raudsepp partner Dragomir Vukobratovic, who is still a yellow card away from suspension, in the centre of midfield, with Omar El Hussieny and Igor Subbotin on the left and right flanks respectively.
Artur Rättel should start up front with Ingemar Teever considering the other alternative up front is Vladislav Ivanov, the one with the least appearance in the forward line.
Key man: Artur Rättel
Rättel was a constant menace against Narva last weekend, breaking well with Buinickij and linking up with El Hussieny on the left. Levadia will want more goals this time around, and Rättel will be integral in that pursuit even if his partner upfront will change.
Read between the lines
The battle looks like it will be won between either side's midfield and defensive lines. Narva's 4-2-3-1 (reverting to 4-4-1-1 when defending) left Levadia with far too much space in front of their opponent's defence last weekend, as Narva's central midfielders failed to track back and provide sufficient cover. Luckily for them, Levadia went down a gear after their goal and didn't take full advantage. This weekend could be a different story if Narva haven't taken stock of this. Artur Rättel dropped deeper to make use of the space and, on the break, Levadia were afforded far too much time. If this happens again, there is unlikely to be any difference in the result.
Narva's three-man attacking midfield threat was cut out by Dragomir Vukobratic and the full back pairing of Pikk and Podholjuzin, leaving Artjunin and Jahhimovits fairly untroubled. They will need greater synergy here in order to stop Levadia playing through the thirds and enabling themselves to do it going forward.
FLORA VS. NARVA TRANS HEAD TO HEAD
Clashes in Premium Liiga: 61
Trans’ wins: 7
Levadia's wins: 37
Goals scored by Trans: 53
Goals scored by Levadia: 130
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Trans’ rows: Stanislav Kitto (CB) 55 goals
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Levadia's rows: Ingemar Teever (CF) 117 goals
More odds about this game here by
THE REFEREES SQUAD
(statistics courtesy of Heigo Niilop)
Eiko Saar will direct his 186th game of his career. He has shown 568 yellow cards (3.07), 20 red cards for double booking and has sent off 23 players.
He has directed this clash already 5 times with a positive balance for Levadia: 4 wins and 1 draw.
18.08.2007 Trans – Levadia 0-3
3 yellow cards (all for Trans), 1 red card shown to Igor Losev. Present day Levadia assistant coach, Indrek Zelinski, scored the game's opener.
26.07.2008 Levadia – Trans 7-2
1 yellow card for Levadia and 1 red card for Trans' Sergei Ussoltsev. Another goal by Zelinski (3-1)
09.03.2010 Levadia – Trans 3-0
4 yellow cards ( 1 Levadia, 3 Trans), 1 penalty for Trans that Bezykornovas missed.
24.07.2011 Levadia – Trans 1-1
6 yellow cards (2 Levadia, 4 Trans) , Levadia's Podholjuzin was sent off for second yellow and 1 penalty was assigned again toTrans. This time Bezykornovas scored and pulled level.
18.09.2012 Trans – Levadia 0-6
2 yellow cards (Trans)
Saar will be helped by Silver Kõiv and Artur Telling. The fourth official will be Marger Pormann.