Friday, 27 May 2011

Champions League and Europa League qualifying

With the Champions League final taking place tomorrow night, next season's competition is on the minds of many of Europe's smaller teams involved in the qualifying draw on Monday 20th June. Flora enter at this stage with the two legged matches being played in mid-July. Flora could face some tough opposition including Partizan Belgrade, Wisla Krakow, Dinamo Zagreb and Rosenborg. Though they'll probably be hoping for one of the winners of the first qualifying round, a round that involves the champions of Malta, Andorra, San Marino and Luxembourg. 

The Europa League draw is made on the same day. Nomme Kalju and Trans are in the draw for the first qualifying round - two legged matches to be played on 30th June and 7th July. They could face such European powerhouses as Qarabag of Azerbaijan, Irtysh Pavlodar of Kazakhstan or NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands. Or Fulham, who make the draw as a result of the Fair Play league. Levadia enter at the second qualifying round. 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Estonia 1-2 Basque Country

Kink goal

Estonia lost 2-1 to the Basque Country in a friendly at the A.Le Coq Arena last night. After a goalless first half, Valencia striker Aritz Aduriz put the Basques ahead with a header on 51 minutes. The lead didn't last long as Middlesbrough's Tarmo Kink equalised with a trademark left foot rocket from 30 yards on 57 minutes (see video). It was Aduriz who had the final word as his back post header somehow made it past Gert Kams on the post to give the Basques the win.

Neither side fielded full strength teams - none of their World Cup winners, Xabi Alonso, Javi Martinez or Fernando Llorente, featured for the Basques, and Estonia also used it as an opportunity to give some younger players a run out. Young strikers Henri Anier (Flora) and Albert Prosa (Tammeka) were rewarded for their impressive early season form in the Meistriliiga as both players came off the bench for their international debuts on 62 minutes. Flora's Siim Luuts and Mikk Reintam also played a part.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Meistriliiga week 12: Nõmme fail to capitalise as Levadia are held

Trans 1-1 Levadia

Nõmme Kalju couldn't take advantage as Levadia were held to a 1-1 draw with Trans in Narva. Konstantin Nahk put Levadia ahead with a coolly taken penalty after Stanislav Kitto had handled in the area on 37 minutes. The lead lasted just four minutes as Trans's top scorer Aleksandrs Cekulajevs equalised with a back post header from a free kick to level things up. Nõmme couldn't close ground as Kuressaare claimed a good point at the Hiiustaadion. Nõmme took the lead just after half time through Hidetoshi Wakui but Andre Ilves's goal on 63 minutes gave the islanders a well deserved point. 

Tammeka 1-4 Sillamäe

In the match of the league's most unpredictable teams, Sillamäe scored an emphatic 4-1 win in Tartu. Sillamäe took an early lead through Alexey Alekseev with a near post flick, before Albert Prosa equalised with a fine individual goal - his eighth goal of the season - just before the break. Alekseev put Sillamäe back in front from the penalty spot on the hour and netted his hat trick with a close range volley. Sergei Vihrov made it 4-1 in injury time following a nice Sillamäe move.

Flora needed a late Sergei Moskinov goal to take the points at home to Paide and move further clear at the top of the table. Rauno Alliko put Flora ahead on 17 minutes but Timo Lomp equalised for Paide on 41 minutes. Carl Tubarik saw red for Paide following a second yellow on 76 minutes, a dismissal that seemingly cost his side a point. Viljandi won comfortably at home to FC Ajax - a 3-1 triumph with goals coming from Rasmus Munskind and Joel Indermitte (2). Sergei Tasso scored for FC Ajax. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Estonians Abroad #4 - Sergei Pareiko

It seems apt to put a brief spotlight on current Estonian number one Sergei Pareiko, having helped Wisla Krakow to their 13th Polish Ekstraklasa title following a 1-0 win against Cracovia on Sunday. 

The 34 year old goalkeeper started his career with spells at Vigri Tallinn and Tallinna Sadam before a season with Casale in the lower leagues of Italian football in 1998-99. He returned to Estonia for brief spell with Levadia before moving to Russia where he spent nine years largely in the Russian Premier League with Rotor Volgograd and Tom Tomsk, winning Tom Tomsk's player of the year in 2009. He moved to Poland with Wisla last summer and has now won the first silverware of his career.

Despite his age and ability, Pareiko has only picked up 24 international caps due to the immovability of Mart Poom from the number 1 shirt. But following Poom's retirement in 2009, the position seems to be his for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Ten man Levadia get out of jail

Paide 2-1 Viljandi

A 92nd minute Konstantin Nahk penalty gave Levadia a 2-1 win in Sillamäe yesterday evening, a result that moves Levadia back into second. Levadia were reduced to ten men when midfielder Jevgeni Novikov was given a straight red card on 25 minutes. Sillamäe took the lead through defender Roman Nesterovski after 54 minutes but Levadia equalised on 74 minutes with a goal from Vitali Leitan. The game looked to be heading to a draw before Nahk's injury time penalty, a result that won't go down well with Nõmme. Paide scored a 2-1 win at home to Viljandi with two headed goals from Timo Lomp and Andre Magi. Rauno Tutk pulled one back for Viljandi to set up a tense finish but Paide held on.

Flora won their rematch of the Estonian Cup final 3-0 at home to Trans. Alo Dupikov put Flora ahead early on and two second half goals from the impressive Henri Anier confirmed the win. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Kuressaare turn on style to score first win

Kuressaare 4-1 Tammeka

A devastating second half performance gave Kuressaare their first win of the season at home to Tammeka. Albert Prosa continued his excellent form with a ninth minute opener for Tammeka and it remained 1-0 at the break. But a rejuvenated Kuressaare scored four second half goals without reply to take the points. Elari Valmas got the equaliser, getting to a free kick just before Tammeka goalkeeper Gosku Hasancik to head home. Martti Pukk then finished brilliantly into the top corner in the 58th minute before Andre Ilves's speculative shot eluded Hasancik to make it 3-1. Pukk then tapped in for his second of the match in the 78th minute. 

In the only other game on Saturday (the remainder are Tuesday night), Nõmme Kalju scored a comfortable 3-0 win at FC Ajax with the goals coming from Oliver Konsa, a Dmitri Kovtun own goal and Tarmo Neemelo. That win moves Kalju above Levadia into second with Levadia facing Sillamäe tomorrow night. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Flora win Estonian Cup

Flora - Estonian Cup winners 2011

Flora took their second trophy of the season with a 2-0 over Trans at the A.Le Coq Arena last night. Goals in either half from Markus Jürgenson and Alo Dupikov handed Flora their fifth Estonian Cup in front of a rather paltry 390 spectators. Not much else to say really.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Meistriliiga week 10 - Tammeka score emphatic win

Tammeka v FC Ajax

Tammeka brushed Ajax Lasnamäe aside with a 5-0 win at the Tamme Staadion yesterday. Tammeka were two ahead inside six minutes with goals from Albert Prosa, after just 51 seconds, and Marko Sonn. Prosa made it three on 28 minutes when he volleyed home Heiko Tamm's right wing cross - it was the 20 year old striker's sixth goal in his last four games. Tamm then added the fourth on the hour and Martin Haljak tapped home to make it five. Flora and Levadia both picked up three points - Viljandi were unable to contain Flora this week as goals in either half from Siim Luts and Alo Dupikov gave Flora the win. Levadia had too much for Kuressaare as early goals from Igor Subbotin and Valerijus Mizigurskis put them in control. Andre Ilves's late goal for Kuressaare was nothing more than a consolation. 

Trans v Sillamäe

Trans edged out Sillamäe in a tight encounter in Narva. Marius Bezykornovas scored his fourth of the season when he curled home a 25 yard free kick in the 71st minute. Elsewhere, Nõmme Kalju were held to a goalless draw at home to Paide. 

The table is starting to take shape with Tammeka and Trans hitting some form. Flora and Levadia are in their familiar positions but haven't pulled away yet. Kuressaare and FC Ajax will have a long season in their fights against relegation. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Meistriliiga Week 9 - Levadia make ground as Flora slip up

Goals from three matches

Levadia won comfortably 5-1 in a very damp Kuressaare last Saturday to move to within a point of rivals Flora. Levadia were ahead as early as the third minute when Vitali Leitan nodded home from a left wing cross. Taijo Teniste added to his two goals against Sillamäe last week with the second on 32 minutes before Elari Valmas intercepted a loose backpass to score for Kuressaare in the 39th minute. Levadia were back in control shortly after the break as two goals Aleksandr Volodin made it 4-1 before Nikita Kolyaev rounded off the scoring. Meanwhile Flora were held 0-0 at home to Viljandi in a game of few clear chances. Viljandi will be more than content with that scoreline.

Flora v Viljandi

Trans and Tammeka both notched up 3-0 victories away at Sillamäe and FC Ajax respectively. Trans took the lead just after half time through a Maksim Gruznov header before Sillamäe's top scorer Alexey Alekseev was sent off slightly harshly after 63 minutes. Alekseev didn't leave the field without making his point to the referee and Trans coach Yuri Svirkov. Two nice finishes from Aleksandrs Cekulajevs in the final ten minutes wrapped up the points for Trans. Tammeka scored three goals in twelve second half minutes to put FC Ajax's resistance to the sword. A back post header from Albert Prosa set Tammeka on their way after an hour and was added to by Marko Sonn and Martin Haljak. 

Paide v Nomme Kalju

Nõmme Kalju kept in touch with Flora and Levadia with a 3-0 win at Paide. They had to wait until the last twenty minutes before going ahead through Kristen Viikamae who chested and volleyed home from a tight angle. Viikmae added a second six minutes later after a strong run down the right and a neat finish with the outside of his right foot. Tarmo Neemelo made it 3-0 in injury time. 

Tomorrow sees the repeat fixtures.