What would sound like the name of the latest reality show broadcast by Kanal2 (local popular commercial channel) it is a question each and every football fan in Estonia is asking herself/himself at the moment.
WHO DOES REALLY WANT?
If last week we were safe in predicting that Levadia were going to secure the title with no further hassle, we did not take into accounts the likes of Manucho and FC Infonet. The ambitious Ivorian striker condemned the wannabe Champions to a 2-0 defeat during the past weekend (match report here). It was Levadia fourth seasonal defeat and the very first away from home. Additionally, Levadia had never suffered two goals in the same game and it was the second time in a row the Greens lost to Puśtov’s side.
Levadia did not get hurt since they managed to retain the lead thanks to their 5 points advantage earned a week earlier in the derby against Flora. However, the latters, got again very close as they were in the pre-derby table: two points adrift.
Nõmme Kalju also got their easy win in Kalev Stadium. A 7-0 (report) was the worth wrap-up of Kalev’s season who finally got the confirmation of being relegated to Esiliiga, head aega (goodbye in Estonian).
Consequently, the Pink Panthers got also closer as they are three points far from the top of the table.
Sillamäe are behind there with 73 points. On the maths point of view, they are still in, however it looks awkward with two matches to go and less points available. If time’s up for them under the title point of view, the chase for the third place (Europa League) is fully open and having to clash with Kalju and Flora in the next weekends, they are going for it.
However, the main dish of the next two weeks is who will (finally) win the title.
Whereas both Lithuania (Zalgiris Vilnius) and Latvia (FK Ventspils) have already saluted their 2014 Champions, Estonia is taking its time and gifting football fans with an unprecedented title race that will consume its last drops of entertainment until the final whistle of the final matchday.
If we shall answer to the question, ‘who does want to become Champions?’ probably the fairest one would be ‘each of them’.
Levadia, because they climbed on top in the final stage (just four weeks hitting the top of the chart during the whole season).
Flora, because they were on top during almost the entire season (they closed second and third round there).
Kalju, because the regret for the three cancelled points on matchday one still burns (they would be on top with Levadia if Järva had never stepped on the pitch on that 1st of March and they were up there at the end of the first round).
MISTAKES, MISTAKES, MISTAKES...
The tight title race has a reason: each of the three contenders have committed mistakes.
Levadia have given two games away to Infonet. You might think this was a normal result considering Infonet have improved their season of one position and 28 points, doing already better than 5th-place Paide last season (60 points collected so far against the 47 accumulated by Rooba&Co in whole 2013). However, before this incredible streak, Levadia had always won the 6 games played against the 2013 newly promoted with the appalling aggregate score of 16-0. Before Manucho hit his brace on Friday night, the only goals scored belonged to the schock 3-2 win in Kadriorg during the Summer.
Flora have not mastered the direct clashes. Last season Flora closed the season losing 10 games (one quarter of the calendar). The improvement is evident since, with two games to go, they just collected 4 defeats. However, these were key ones since 3 of them came from the derbies against Levadia (1) and Kalju (2). Flora have also managed to improve the goal tally (already one more than last season final tally) and the defensive phase (7 goals adrift last season's amount). However, managing to collect just 7 points out of 24 available in the 8 derby games is the main reason why they could not give a final twist to their season.
Kalju have woken up too late. It took time for Kalju to win their first derby this season as they won 1-0 in Kadriorg only in August when Jorge Rodrigues solved with a header from corner kick. The week earlier, they lost to Levadia. When they seemed close to be cut off from the title raffle, they managed to jump back on the train by the scruff of the neck as they clinched an away win in A.LeCoq Arena against Flora. One week after, they gave in to a 10-man Levadia who scored the winner in the dying minutes of the game. Eventually, consistency in the big clashes lacked as they collected just one point more than Flora. However, when you see just a three-point gap to Levadia, you cannot help thinking about the 1st of March loss to Infonet due to a bureaucratic blunder. It’s human to think that as human was the blunder.
In conclusion, this season we will not see the strongest team winning the league as it was in 2012 (Kalju) and 2013 (Levadia) but the one less prone to commit further mistakes in the last two weekends.
Levadia will take on Lokomotiv Jõhvi at home on matchday 35 and will travel to Narva for the final rendez-vous with Trans.
Degree of difficulty (from 1 to 5): 2
Flora are taking Kalev for their last home game on the upcoming weekend and are awaited by the most uncomfortable away game in Sillamäe.
Degree of difficulty: 4
Kalju are taking on Sillamäe immediately and will have a trip to Tammeka on the last weekend knowing already whether they are in or out for the title.
Degree of difficulty: 5