Sunday, 20 November 2011

Kuressaare retain their Meistriliiga status

Kuressaare 4-1 FC Infonet

Kuressaare defeated FC Infonet 4-1 yesterday in the second leg of their play-off to secure their place in the Meistriliiga next season (a 5-1 aggregate win). Kuressaare won 1-0 in Tallinn in the first leg last week following an early Andrei Borissov own goal. Kuressaare's position was strengthened when top scorer Martti Pukk headed home to make it 2-0 on aggregate just before half time. The tie was settled when Elari Valmas slotted home on the hour. Andrei Timofejev pulled one back for Infonet a minute later, but further goals from Sander Viira and Marten Pajunurm sealed the win for the islanders. 

FC Infonet finished second in the Esiliiga this season, five points off champions JK Tallinna Kalev, but will have to prepare for another season in the second tier where they will be among the favourites for promotion again.  

Monday, 14 November 2011

Euro 2012 play-off: Estonia 0-4 Ireland

Estonia 0-4 Ireland

Estonia coach Tarmo Rüütli had to admit that his side’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2012 were all but gone after the disastrous 0-4 defeat against Republic of Ireland on Friday. When asked if the tie was over, Rüütli replied ‘almost’.

The first leg of the play off was greeted with much excitement in Tallinn as 10,500 crammed into the A.Le Coq Arena for the biggest match in the twenty years since Estonia regained independence.

The game started cagily with little quality or ball retention from either side. The Irish struck first on 13 minutes as Aiden McGeady was allowed too much time to dink a cross into the area and Keith Andrews leapt highest to head home. Estonia responded well to the goal, dominating possession and territory for the next 15 minutes but with little penetration in the final third. The closest they came was via two long range efforts from Konstantin Vassiljev – one deflected just over the bar and one, that had Shay Given very worried, sailing just inches wide.

Estonia’s cause was dealt a blow by the sending off of centre back Andrei Stepanov on 34 minutes for a second yellow card. Both challenges were bookings, the second arguably a straight red. Ireland though didn’t look to have a man advantage for the rest of the half as Estonia adapted to three at the back and continued to have a lot of the ball.

A second goal was always going to seal it for Ireland and, on 66 minutes, it was provided by Jon Walters scoring his first international goal with a back post header after a looping ball from Robbie Keane. That effectively settled the result, but a goal back for Estonia would still make the second leg awkward for Ireland. However, two goals from Keane (taking him on to 53 in all) in the last 20 minutes put the result and the tie beyond doubt. The first was a tap in after Sergei Pareiko could only get a foot to Andrews’s free kick and the second from the penalty spot after Ats Purje had clipped Stephen Hunt in the box.

Estonia captain Raio Piiroja was sent off between the third and fourth goals for what looked to be a harsh second yellow card for a handball. Piiroja, Stepanov and Pareiko (after a booking for protesting the award of the penalty) all miss Tuesday night’s second leg so Estonia will be severely under strength defensively. Taavi Rähn is likely to come back into the defence, possibly with Ragnar Klavan moving from full back to centre back. Pavel Londak of FK Bodø/Glimt in Norway is likely to get the nod in goal.

The Irish were far from outstanding but showed their experience (this being their sixth play-off for a major tournament) and in the likes of Keane, McGeady and Walters had a cutting edge that Estonia would love to have.

Tomorrow night’s second leg may be something of a party for the Irish, but Estonia can learn a lot from the experience and they can take a lot from the campaign as a whole. Eesti Jalpall has press access to the game tomorrow night so you can follow my inane comments on the match at if you’re interested. 

Friday, 11 November 2011

Meistriliiga week 36: Final day of the season

Goals from week 36

With Flora already crowned champions during the week, and with FC Ajax well relegated, the Meistriliiga season played its last matches with little to be resolved. There were a couple of surprise results, with Paide scoring two late goals to beat Kalju 2-1 at Hiiu. Juri Jevdokimov had put Kalju ahead shortly after half time but late goals from Rauno Kald and Tiit Tikenberg gave Paide probably their best result of the season. FC Ajax finished a punishing season with a 9-0 defeat against Tammeka in Tartu. That takes their goals conceded column to a magnificent 192 for the season. Albert Prosa netted four for Tammeka taking him to 22 for the season - a good campaign for the youngster that also saw him capped by the national team. 

Trans also suffered a shock defeat against Sillamäe in Narva. Aleksandrs Cekulajevs put Trans ahead early on - his 46th goal of the season in what will probably be his final game for the club. Sillamäe responded and were 2-1 up before half time through two goals from Aleksandr Nikulin. Artjom Dmitrijev added a third before Maksim Gruznov pulled one back late on. The veteran striker is nearing 300 Meistriliiga goals since his debut in 1992. It finished 3-2. 

Viljandi 2-4 Flora

Flora had to come from behind to beat Viljandi for the second time in a week. Viljandi's Karl Mööl equalised Markus Jurgenson's headed opener with a lovely curled finish after some good build up play. Erkki Junolainen put Viljandi ahead shortly after half time but parity was restored through goals from Hannes Anier, Nikolai Mašitšev and Henri Anier to give Flora a 4-2 win. Levadia won comfortably 4-0 at home to Kuressaare - Jevgeni Novikov's opener and Konstantin Nahk's free kick are worth a watch. 

And that's it for the season. Thanks for reading. I'll probably do some kind of season review shortly and you can keep an eye on the various other blogs and websites I contribute to, including: 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Flora crowned Meistriliiga champions: Flora 4-0 Viljandi

Gert Kams gives the thumbs up to Flora fans (pic: Hendrink Osula)

Flora Tallinn secured their ninth Meistriliiga title last night with a 4-0 victory over Viljandi at the A.Le Coq Arena. A goalless first half made for a tense atmosphere but Hannes Anier's opening goal on the hour settled the nerves. Valeri Minkenen's free kick two minutes later settled the match and further late goals from Anier (again) and Markus Jürgenson made the scoreline look emphatic. Jubilant scenes followed the final whistle as coach Martin Reim won his second title with Flora in as many seasons. 

Match highlights available at ERR Sport.  

Photo: Hendrik Osula

It has been a good title race with any of four sides capable of winning the league. Kalju's emergence and steady progress (their highest league finish) should push Flora even closer next season. Reim was delighted to retain the title: "The title is more difficult to defend that it is to win. Being favourites plays a big part." Gert Kams echoed his manager's feelings: "If you're the reigning champions, you are expected to win. It is expected Flora will win every match, but the title is still something special. Last year, expectations were lower but this season we were clear favourites."

One round of game remains this Saturday, with Flora travelling to Viljandi this time. Kalju, secure in second spot, host Paide while FC Ajax have one last chance for a win this season at Tammeka. 

Monday, 31 October 2011

Meistriliiga week 35: Ten man Flora rescue a point

Flora 1-1 Trans

Flora came from 1-0 down with ten men to secure a vital point against Trans at the A.Le Coq Arena on Saturday. This was always going to be Flora's biggest test in the run in and a game that could have diverted the title to Kalju. Flora were behind within 15 minutes as veteran striker Maksim Gruznov was set free by Sergei Leontovitš and rounded Aiko Orgla in the Flora goal to finish. Flora looked to be in deep trouble as Henri Anier was sent off for a second bookable offence on 65 minutes but they were given a lifeline when Aleksandrs Abramenko bundled into Markus Jürgenson as he broke into the penalty box. The spot kick was awarded and Valeri Minkenen converted to level the scores. The game finished 1-1. 

As expected, Kalju won comfortably against FC Ajax Lasnamäe - a 7-0 win with goals coming from Hidetoshi Wakui, Tarmo Neemelo (2), Eino Puri, Alo Bärengrub, a Šamil Mussajev own goal and wonderfully named Kouakou Fabrice Elysee Kouadio. Paide defeated Viljandi 2-0 to secure a respectable league finish of sixth and Tammeka won by the same scoreline at Kuressaare to stay seventh. Two goals from Igor Subbotin gave Levadia a 2-0 win in Sillamäe as they look likely to finish fourth. 

Flora play Viljandi at the A.Le Coq Arena tomorrow night where a win for Flora will see them retain their hold on the Meistriliiga title, their ninth success overall. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

Meistriliiga week 34: Kalju keep pressure on Flora

Kalju 3-0 Kuressaare

Kalju scored a comfortable 3-0 win over Kuressaare at Hiiu on Saturday to keep the title race alive at least for another week. Juri Jevdokimov opened the scoring just before half time with a chest and volley from the edge of the box. Tarmo Neemelo made it twenty for the season with a tap in on 49 minutes and Hidetoshi Wakui wrapped things up with a near post finish two minutes from time. Flora had to come from behind to win 2-1 at home to Paide. The visitors looked on course for an upset after Tiit Tikenberg's 54th minute goal, but goals from Henri Anier and Zakaria Beglarišvili gave Flora a nervy but vital win. 

Flora host Trans next Saturday, who have just fallen out of the title race courtesy of a 2-0 defeat at home to Levadia at the weekend. Trans though would love to have a say in where the title goes and are well capable of doing so, especially now the pressure is off. 

Tammeka 2-0 Sillamäe 

Tammeka won 2-0 at against Sillamäe in Tartu. Sillamäe had been reduced to nine men following two straight red cards for nasty challenges. Albert Prosa scored two late goals to give Tammeka the points. Viljandi thumped FC Ajax 8-0 in the other game of the day. FC Ajax will be delighted to see the Esiliiga again next season. JK Tallinn Kalev are currently sitting top of the Esiliiga with the excellently named FC Infonet in second just two points behind with two games remaining. Kalev were relegated from the Meistriliiga in 2009 after three seasons in the top flight. Infonet only formed in 2010 following the merger of two local Tallinn teams, Atletik and Bercy.  

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Meistriliiga week 33 - Flora not there yet

Goals from Saturday 15th October

As Estonia came back down to earth following the national side’s qualification for the Euro 2012 play offs, the Meistriliiga continued with matches on Saturday and Tuesday and with the title race not quite yet decided.

Flora’s 11-0 demolition of FC Ajax on Saturday (Flora have scored 33 goals against the bottom of the league side this season) was coupled with a slightly disappointing goalless draw against Tammeka in Tartu on Tuesday. Kalju’s double of 3-0 wins against Sillamäe and Viljandi means they gain some ground and Flora, but Martin Reim’s side remain favourites with four games to play and a game in hand over Kalju. Flora’s trickiest remaining fixture will be welcoming Trans to the A.Le Coq Arena on 29th October.

Trans themselves are not out of the title race after a very late winner from Aleksandrs Cekulajevs gave them the points at Paide. A win for Trans over Flora would make things interesting going into the final week.

Kuressaare’s recent good form continued with their third win in four games at home to Viljandi – Märten Pajunurm scoring a brace for the islanders. Paide also picked up a very good win against Levadia at Maarjamäe, Mait Nõmme scoring a first half winner for Paide.

Tammeka 0-0 Flora

Recent results

Saturday 15th October

Kuressaare 3-0 Viljandi
Sillamäe 0-3 Kalju
FC Ajax Lasnamäe 0-11 Flora
Paide 0-1 Trans
Levadia 3-0 Tammeka

Tuesday 18th October

Kalju 3-0 Viljandi
Levadia 0-1 Paide
Tammeka 0-0 Flora

Remaining fixtures


Paide (H) – 22nd October
Trans (H) – 29th October
Viljandi (H) – 1st November
Viljandi (A) – 5th November

JK Kalju

Kuressaare (H) – 22nd October
FC Ajax (A) – 29th October
Paide (H) – 5th November

Narva Trans

Levadia (H) – 22nd October
Flora (A) – 29th October
Sillamäe (H) – 5th November 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Estonia seal Euro 2012 play off spot

Northern Ireland 1-2 Estonia

Estonia have cemented their first ever play off spot for a major tournament following their 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in Belfast last Friday, coupled with Slovenia's 1-0 win over nearest rivals Serbia in Maribor last night.

Konstantin Vassiljev came off the bench to score two late goals giving Estonia a win in their final group game over Northern Ireland. Steven Davis had given the Northern Irish the lead from close range midway through the first half. Vassiljev replaced Tarmo Kink on 65 minutes and then won and converted a penalty (initial contact looked to be outside the box, but we'll let that go) to level the scores. His 84th minutes winner was a belter from 25 yards into the top corner as the Northern Irish defence had stopped, appealing for offside. The linesman had flagged believing a forward pass had come from an Estonian boot, but the referee was well placed to see that it was in fact a ricochet off a Northern Irish player and correctly ignored the flag. 

Estonia were still reliant on Serbia slipping up against Slovenia last night. Serbia needed to win as a draw would have left them level on points with Estonia but with an inferior head to head record. Dare Vrsic's goal for Slovenia on the stroke of half time gave Serbia an uphill task and they could not find an equaliser, let alone a winner, leading to celebrations across Estonia. They won't even be too fussed about their 0-2 friendly defeat against Ukraine in Tallinn last night.

The play offs will be seeded (based on performance in recent tournaments and qualification campaigns), meaning that Estonia can expect a tough tie. The final seedings are to be finalised today as they calculate the final scorings, but the seeded teams will almost certainly be Croatia, Portugal and Czech Republic, along with one from Republic of Ireland, Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

The draw for the play offs is this Thursday (12pm GMT) and the matches will take place on either 11/12th November and 15th November. The draw for the Euro finals takes place on Friday 2nd December at 5pm (GMT). 

Final Group C table

Northern Ireland
Faroe Islands

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Meistrilliga rounds 30/31: Flora in the driving seat

Flora 3-0 Levadia

Flora have stolen a march in the race for the Meistriliiga title - their 3-0 win against rivals Levadia on Saturday was coupled with a 3-2 win for Trans over Kalju in Narva. An Aleksandrs Cekulajevs hat trick, including an injury time winner, may have caused irreparable damage to Kalju's title bid as second half goals from Nikolai Mašitšev, Andre Frolov and Hannes Anier gave Flora a comfortable sounding win. Wins for both Flora and Kalju last night has done little to change to outlook of the table. 

Kuressaare picked up two good wins to move them within a point of Viljandi in eighth. Saturday's win over FC Ajax included a late six minute hat trick from Martti Pukk who followed that up with both goals in their 2-1 win over Paide last night. Cekulajevs's five goals for Trans in their drubbing of FC Ajax has moved him past the 40 goal mark for the season - he becomes only the second player in Meistriliiga history to pass that milestone following Tarmo Neemelo's 41 goals for TVMK in 2005. 

Round 30 results - Saturday 24th September

Flora 3-0 Levadia
Viljandi 0-3 Tammeka
FC Ajax 3-5 Kuressaare
Trans 3-2 Kalju
Paide 0-1 Sillamäe 

Round 31 results - Tuesday 27th September

Kuressaare 2-1 Paide
Sillamäe 0-6 Flora
FC Ajax 0-12 Trans
Levadia 2-0 Viljandi
Tammeka 0-1 Kalju

Thursday, 22 September 2011

An Englishman in Tallinn

Originally from Lancashire, Richard Barnwell has been in Estonia for almost ten years in a career that has seen him play for some of the top Estonian clubs. Now involved in youth coaching at Levadia Tallinn, he kindly took time out to answer some questions and give an interesting first hand insight to life in Estonian football:

Hi Richard. Firstly, how did you end up in Estonia? Who have you played for in your time there?

I first came to Estonia in February 2002. The temperatures and snow gave me a great introduction to the area’s climate. The only person I knew here was my then girlfriend who I met in New York, where I lived for a year, so I decided to play football just to meet a few other like minded people. The team I joined won promotion to the First League via the play-offs, which is just below the Meistriliiga.   During the off season I received a phone call from Levadia and ended up playing for them. I played in 2003 and 2004 and also had a loan spell in Iceland.  I managed to play twice in the UEFA Cup qualifying rounds and started to coach for the club. A couple of years ago a few old Levadia players were in the Nõmme Kalju team that won promotion to the Meistriliiga and I played for them in 2008.

How have you found playing in the Meistriliiga? Who is the best player you have played with?

I remember we played Leicester City in a friendly the summer that they were relegated form the Premier League. They had Dion Dublin, Keith Gillespie, Matt Elliott etc so they were much faster and stronger than us but our players had more technical ability. This is something that the Estonian youth system is working on now. Towards the end of the 90s they took on the Dutch approach due to the national team boss [the national team had seven years of Dutch management under Arno Pijpers and Jelle Goes] but now their main focus is now on physically strong players.

The best player I’ve played with is tough.  I have been lucky to play with or against most of Estonia’s top players.

You’re involved in youth coaching at Levadia - are you optimistic about the future of Estonian football given the quality of players (and other coaches) you work with?

Absolutely. The potential is there and the results of the youth teams are getting better and better. The key for Estonia is to get young players out to top European clubs as soon as possible so they can experience as high a level as possible.

The Meistriliiga has some of the lowest attendances in Europe for a country’s top division  - can you see its profile being raised given the pull of moves abroad for the best players and the dominance of the Premier League/La Liga/Bundesliga in terms of viewing?

Estonia was home to the very last Soviet Union Basketball champions so football was always a secondary sport here but this has changed and attendances are rising. Nõmme Kalju and their approach was a breath of fresh air in 2008 with their concentrated focus on marketing and other clubs are working hard to catch up.  Other country's top teams generate revenue from TV deals and gate receipts and as both of these are low in Estonia nobody has the money to play top players big salaries.

Despite this, the amount of first team football young players get at top Estonian clubs can only be a good thing?

I agree to certain extent but the danger is they get used to that level and have very little exposure, especially when they leave the U21 team and don’t make the full Estonian team.

Henri Anier and Albert Prosa are both among the Meistriliiga top scorers at the age of 20 and have made their international debuts this season – do you have any other tips in terms of younger players to keep an eye on?

There are quite of lot of potentials but it wouldn’t be fair to label them too soon. In my U14 team I’ve had 6-7 players playing in the Estonian U15 team so I’ll be working hard to get them some exposure later this year.

The Estonian national team has done well in Euro 2012 qualifying (the Faroes game aside!), with a win in Serbia and two excellent wins against Slovenia and Northern Ireland - do you think this is a reflection of the improvement in standard of coaching of players from a young age in recent years?

I think there is definitely an improvement in coaching in Estonia. Urmas Kirs (former Estonian legend) heads up the coaching system here and there are several Pro Licence holders. But for the national team they have some great young guys as you mentioned but they need to have all their players fit to compete with other nations as there isn’t great depth in the squad.  I was lucky to play for Tarmo Rüütli at Levadia and he is by far the best coach in the country. His experience is key to all the positive results they have.

Flora or Kalju for the title? Or a late surge from Levadia?

I think Levadia are just too far away now. They have had a change of coach mid-season and I would say they miss a goal scorer.  My head says Flora but as neutral I want to see Kalju cause a surprise. Levadia play both teams again and it should go to the wire.

And lastly, what’s your favourite and least favourite thing about living in Estonia?

The best thing is the quality of life here in the capital. The worst is the darkness in winter.

Thanks Richard!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Meistriliiga week 29 - Still tight at the top

Kalju 2-1 Viljandi, plus other goals

Flora and Kalju both won at the weekend to remain level on points at the top of the Meistriliiga table. Flora won 4-1 in the early kick off in Tartu against Tammeka to put the pressure on Kalju. Flora raced into a 2-0 lead within 25 minutes through goals from Nikolai Masitsev and captain Karl Palatu. Albert Prosa continued his good season, reducing the deficit with a finish from within the six yard box on the hour. Flora pulled away again though with further goals from Hannes Anier and Zakaria Beglarisvili to make the scoreline more comfortable. Kalju made slightly harder work of Viljandi, despite being 2-0 up with 20 minutes with goals from Tarmo Neemelo and Alo Barengrub. But Andrei Veis's goal for Viljandi just before half time meant the rest of the game was not as comfortable for Kalju as it could have been. 

Tammeka 1-4 Flora

Elsewhere, there were wins for Trans over Kuressaare and for Sillamae over FC Ajax, while Paide picked up a good point in a goalless draw at Levadia. This weekend sees Flora and Levadia meet again at the A.Le Coq Arena while Kalju face Trans in Narva in a set of games that could have a major say in where the title ends up.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Recent round up - Estonia 4-1 Northern Ireland and a win apiece for Flora and Kalju

Estonia 4-1 Northern Ireland

Firstly, apologies for the delay in this update, have been in Bosnia for the last week (amazing country, btw). Estonia kept their Euro 2012 qualification hopes alive with an excellent 4-1 win over Northern Ireland at the A.Le Coq Arena on Tuesday 6th September. The goals came from Martin Vunk, Tarmo Kink, Sergei Zenjov and Kaimar Saag. Serbia's 3-1 win over the Faroe Islands keeps them in second in Group C, a point ahead of Estonia, but they face Italy in Belgrade on 7th October and travel to Slovenia on 11th October while Estonia have one game remaining against Northern Ireland in Belfast. Serbia remain favourites to qualify but stranger things have happened. 

In the Meistriliiga, Flora and Kalju have met twice in the past week as both sides look to push clear in the title race. However, a win a piece hasn't provided much clarity.

Kalju 3-0 Flora

In the first meeting between the sides, in front of nearly 3000 at the Hiiu Staadion, Kalju ran out comfortable 3-0 winners - Alan Garcia Gutierrez and Kristen Viikmae putting them two up before the break and Tarmo Neemelo adding a third with twenty minutes to go. Flora though avenged that defeat with a 1-0 win at the A.Le Coq Arena on Tuesday night. Nikolai Masitsev scored the winner on 22 minutes and that result leaves both teams on 60 points with Flora holding the head to head advantage and a game in hand. Today sees Flora travel to play Tammeka in Tartu and Kalju host Viljandi.

Elsewhere, Levadia scored 13 without reply in two matches against FC Ajax and Trans twice beat Viljandi to stay in touch with the leaders. Sillamae's two wins over Kuressaare cements their fifth place position and Paide did the double over Tammeka to move clear in sixth place. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Slovenia 1-2 Estonia

Slovenia 1-2 Estonia

Estonia put their recent run of bad form behind them to score a vital win over Slovenia in Ljubljana last night that still leaves them with a chance of a playoff place in Euro 2012 qualifying Group C. Estonia face Northern Ireland in Tallinn on Tuesday night in a match that could end both sides hopes of second place. Their final game is the return fixture in Belfast on 7th October. Serbia must remain favourites for second spot though, as they have a game in hand and face the Faroe Islands on Tuesday night. How Estonia must now wish they'd taken three points in Torshavn in June.

Konstantin Vassiljev, who has spent the past few years playing his club football in Slovenia, put Estonia ahead from the penalty spot just before the half hour after Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic had brought down Sergei Zenjov. Slovenia looked to have rescued a point late on when Tim Matavz tapped home from close range, but Estonia had time to conjure an 81st minute winner when substitute Ats Purje turned well on the edge of the penalty area and fired home. It was Estonia's first win since beating Uruguay in March and their first goal since Vassiljev's late equaliser against Serbia, also in March.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Meistriliiga week 25: Kalju draw level with Flora. Controversy at Maarjamäe.

Levadia 1-1 Flora

Ugly scenes after the final whistle marred Saturday's 1-1 draw between Levadia and Flora in front of over 500 supporters at Maarjamae. Levadia had looked to be heading to a second 1-0 win over Flora in the space of five days after Aleksandr Volodin's spurious long range strike was deflected past Stanislav Pedok in the Flora goal by the head of Karol Mets in the 19th minute. In the second minute of injury time at the end of the match, a hopeful ball was launched into the Levadia box and headed away comfortably. However, a tangle off the ball in the penalty area involving Flora midfielder Siim Luts and Levadia defender Andrei Kalimullin ended up with a penalty awarded to Flora and Kalimullin being given a straight red card, apparently for use of an elbow. Finnish midfielder Valeri Minkenen stepped up and expertly dispatched the penalty to give Flora a point. Tempers flared at full time with Levadia players and staff, led by captain Konstantin Nahk apparently making a Hitler gesture in response to something said by Flora captain Karl Palatu, all obviously angry at the penalty decision so late in the game. Some pushing and shoving followed with Flora's Markus Jurgenson going down a little too easily and everyone eventually traipsed off. The incident is due to be reviewed by an EJL disciplinary committee on Thursday 25th August looking into the actions of Nahk, Jurgenson, Kalimullin and also Levadia coach Sergei Hohlov-Simson. 

The hearing on Thursday may or may not iron out the detail of the incident, but it brings back to the fore the ethnic tensions between the two clubs with Nahk claiming to be on the end of anti-Russian abuse from the more nationalistic wing of Flora's fan base. 

The rest of the weekend's goals

Elsewhere, in less controversial circumstances, Kalju drew level on points with Flora at the top of the table following their 1-0 win against Trans at Hiiu Staadion. Tarmo Neemelo scored the winner on 73 minutes, firing home at the back post following a corner. Eyes will now turn to Flora's visit to the Hiiu on 10th September in what could prove a decisive game in the title race.

There were wins for Sillamae and Viljandi over Paide and Tammeka respectively - an Artjom Dmitrijev hat trick helping Sillamae to a 4-0 win and Andrei Veis scoring two very well taken goals for Viljandi in a 3-1 win in Tartu. Kuressaare and FC Ajax shared a goalless draw. There are some unnecessarily long highlights of that match above. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Levadia keep title race alive. More big games tomorrow.

Igor Subbotin

Levadia imposed Flora's first defeat of the season at the A.Le Coq Arena on Tuesday night. Igor Subbotin's 81st minute back post winner (match highlights here) was enough to give Levadia the points and, in doing so, keeps the title race open as Flora stay just two points ahead of JK Kalju, albeit with a game in hand. Trans are three points further back in third and Levadia are seven points off top spot. 

But with more than ten games to go, and with the top four still to play each a number of times in the run in, anything could happen. Starting tomorrow, as Flora have a chance for instant revenge over Levadia tomorrow afternoon at Maarjamae. Second and third also meet as Kalju host Trans. Could be an interesting set of results. Elsewhere, Kuressaare will be hoping for a fifth win of the season at home to FC Ajax. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Meistriliiga week 24 - Trans Go Nuts

Trans 14-0 FC Ajax

Trans made the most of some statuesque FC Ajax Lasnamae defending to run out 14-0 winners in Narva on Saturday. Meistriliiga top scorer Aleksandrs Cekulajevs scored six, with four coming in the opening 11 minutes, the majority of those from inside the six yard box. Veteran striker Maksim Gruznov netted five of his own as Trans were 10-0 up at half time. Other goals were added by Sergei Leontovits (2) and Erik Grigorjev. Levadia dropped further off the pace as they drew 0-0 in Viljandi. Konstantin Nahk uncharacteristically missed a penalty for Levadia five minutes into injury time at the end of the game - a great save by Madis Rajando diving to his right. 

Kalju 3-1 Tammeka

Nomme Kalju kept the pressure on Flora at the top with a 3-1 win at home to Tammeka. After a goalless first half, Kalju flew out of the traps in the second half with close range goals from Tarmo Neemelo (2) and Kristen Viikmae to put them 3-0 up before the hour mark. Artur Pikk scored a late consolation for Tammeka with a long range free kick that evaded everyone and found its way into the net. 

Flora 4-0 Sillamae

Flora keep a two point gap at the top after a 4-0 win over Sillamae Kalev at the A.Le Coq Arena. Sergei Moskinov was put clear on 11 minutes and finished coolly, and Hannes Anier made it 2-0 on 19 minutes after being released in a similar position. Henri Anier was played in for his 16th goal of the season by Nikolai Masitsev and slotted low under the onrushing keeper. The scoring was rounded off by Georgian Zakaria Beglarisvili on 86 minutes. Elsewhere, Paide moved level on points with Tammeka in sixth following a 1-0 win at home to Kuressaare. Ervin Koll grabbed the winner on 62 minutes.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Meistriliiga week 23 - Important win for Kalju, big wins elsewhere

Levadia 0-1 Kalju

JK Kalju scored an important 1-0 win over Levadia at Marjamae to keep the pressure on Flora in the title race. Former Flora striker Kristen Viikmae scored a well taken 68th minute goal and it was enough to take the points for Kalju in a tight and tense match. Flora kept their two point lead at the top with a 3-0 win in Kuressaare, the goals coming from Henri Anier and Hannes Anier (2). Henri Anier also saw a penalty saved by Priit Pikker in the Kuressaare goal midway through the second half.

Tammeka 1-4 Trans

Trans also stayed in touch with a 4-1 win over Tammeka in Tartu. Aleksandrs Cekulajevs was fouled in the box just after half time and picked himself up to squeeze the penalty under Mait Toom in the Tammeka goal. Erik Grigorjev then finished off a great on touch move to put Trans 2-0 on 51 minutes, with Cekulajevs adding a third, and his 23rd of the season, on 75 minutes.  Albert Prosa pulled one back for Tammeka on 86 minutes following a howler from Trans goalkeeper Dmitriy Vyalchinov but Marius Beyzykornovas restored the three goal lead in injury time with a nice lob. 

Sillamae 5-0 Viljandi

Sillamae smashed five past Viljandi in a one sided affair at Sillamae Kalevi staadion. Sillamae raced into a three goal lead before half time with goals from Eimantas Valaitis and Artjom Dmitrijev (2). Jakub Hejret and Gediminas Krusa added goals in the second half as Viljandi had no answer to Sillamae's clinical finishing. Paide leapfrogged Viljandi into seventh place with an emphatic 6-0 win over FC Ajax. Paide's goals were scored by Christian Kortsmik, Tiik Tikenberg (2), Mait Nomme, Carl Tubarik and Alen Stepanjan.