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.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Estonians Abroad #5 - Taavi Rähn

In action against Uruguay

Taavi Rähn, now 30 years old, has had an interesting and varied career that has taken him to six countries, winning 60 international caps in the process. He started out in Estonia with spells at Lelle SK, Viljandi Tulevik and FC Flora before moving to Volya Lutsk in Ukraine at the age of 22. After three seasons in north west Ukraine, Rähn moved closer to home with FK Ekranas in Lithuania following Lutsk's relegation to the second division. He helped Ekranas to two A Lyga titles in 2008 and 2009, before moving east with Nefchti Baku in Azerbaijan. After one season in Baku, and the 2010/11 season at Baltika in Kaliningrad, Rähn has ventured to Tianjin Songjiang in north eastern China where he is managed by Belgian Patrick de Wilde. 

Standing at 6'4", Rähn can play as either a centre back or defensive midfielder and is probably best known to English fans for his 18 yard headed own goal against England in a Euro 2008 qualifier.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Meistriliiga week 22: Wins for the top four, some bigger than others

Trans 3-0 Paide

The fop four all won convincingly on Saturday as the Meistriliiga table remained unchanged. Trans overcame Paide with a 3-0 win in Narva, the goals coming from a Maksim Bazjukin lob, an Aleksandr Tarassenkov tap in and a great own goal from Mait Nomme (from fully 20 yards). Kalju triumphed by the same scoreline over Sillamäe at the Hiiu Staadion. Oliver Konsa and Kristen Viikmae put Kalju ahead early on but they lost Hidetoshi Wakui to a second yellow card just after half time. It didn't have an impact though as Tarmo Neemelo scored a third on 81 minutes, his 14th of the season.

Viljandi 0-2 Kuressaare

Kuressaare gained ground on eighth placed Viljandi with a good 2-0 win at Viljandi linnastaadion. Andre Ilves scored coolly on 72 minutes after rounding the goalkeeper and Elari Valmas secured the win in injury time after being unselfishly set up by Martti Pukk. Flora racked up the biggest win of the season with a 13-1 win at home to FC Ajax Lasnamäe. Henri Anier scored four, all in the first half as Flora went in 8-0 up at half time. The other goals were scored by Nikolai Masitsev (2), Gert Kams (2), Valeri Minkenen, Jevgeni Romanov (og), Zakaria Beglarisvili (2) and Karol Mets. FC Ajax's goal came through Juri Gaidajenko.

Tammeka 0-4 Levadia

Levadia ran out comfortable winners against Tammeka in Tartu. Jevgeni Novikov put Levadia ahead in the 15th minute with a close range header from a left wing free kick. Vitali Leitan's clinical second half hat trick made it 14 for the season for the 32 year old.