Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Kalju edging closer to first title

Goals from week 31 - Saturday 29th September

Kalju have moved into a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the Meistriliiga, leading second placed Flora by 11 points as they close in on their first Meistriliiga title. Recent thumpings they have handed out to Viljandi (9-1) and Kuressaare (6-1) have helped as Levadia have stumbled with a defeat at home to Sillamäe and Flora have had too much ground to make up following their slow start to the season. Kalju's Tarmo Neemelo had a field day at Viljandi last night with five goals in that 9-1 win and moved to the top of the scoring charts with 20.

Levadia did win the derby against Flora at the weekend with two first half goals from Ingemar Teever (highlights below). Sillamäe have been in great form with four straight wins and look to have secured a European place by finishing fourth. They have been boosted by the arrival of Estonian international Slava Zahovaiko and the recent good form of Aleksandr Bebikh. 

Kalju could win the title this weekend if they win against Trans and Narva and Flora fail to win against Tallinna Kalev. Either way, it doesn't seem as though it will be long before they're confirmed as Meistriliiga champions. At the other end, while Tammeka did manage a 4-0 win over Viljandi at the weekend, they'll need at least two more wins to have any hope of avoiding relegation and, with a crunch game at home to Kuressaare this weekend, it may not be beyond the realms of possibility.

Flora 1-2 Levadia - Saturday 29th September

Goals from week 30 - Saturday 22nd September

Goals from week 29 - Tuesday 18th September

Monday, 17 September 2012

Meistriliiga week 27: Kalju on the brink

Levadia 0-1 Kalju - Saturday 15th September

Kalju took a giant leap towards their first Meistriliiga title with a 1-0 win over Levadia at the Kadrioru Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Once again it was a long throw that undid Levadia, as it had done for Juri Jevdokimov's late equaliser when the sides met two weeks ago. This time it was a throw from Tanel Melts in the 84th minute that was flicked on by Tarmo Neemelo and not dealt with by the Levadia defence. The ball fell to Jevdokimov again who tried to do something with it, but failed, but an alert Sergei Terehhov turned and fired home from 12 yards. Cue jubilant scenes as the Kalju bench and players greeted the final whistle as if they had won the title.

The game had been tense with Kalju probably having the better of the chances. Neemelo missed a good headed opportunity at the back post from Damiano Quinteri's left wing cross and an Eino Puri header from a corner was well saved by Priit Pikker in the Levadia goal. Ingemar Teever had Levadia's best chance, but headed wide from seven yards having found room between two defenders. The two sides meet again in the fourth round of the Evald Tipner Cup on 25th September and Levadia coach Marko Kristal is now focused on winning that match. 

Levadia have even fallen back to third following Flora's 4-0 win over Sillamäe at the A.Le Coq Arena. Vjatšeslav Zahovaiko made his return to Flora, for whom he scored over 100 goals, having signed a short term deal with Sillamäe following unsuccessful spells in Portugal, Hungary and Finland. He was the Meistriliiga's top scorer in 2004. Flora were 3-0 up before half time thanks to two goals from Markus Jürgenson and one from Rauno Alliku. Siim Luts added a fourth late on. 

Viljandi 2-1 Tallinna Kalev - Saturday 15th September

Tallinna Kalev are in freefall as they lost again, this time at Viljandi. Kalev had taken the lead midway through the first half with a well taken goal from Rejal Alijev. Viljandi were level before half time when Jaan Leimann was taken out in the penalty area by Mart Kaljuste in the Kalev goal on 40 minutes - Kaljuste was a little lucky to get away with just a booking. Eron Krillo tucked the penalty away with aplomb. And Leimann put Viljandi ahead just after the break running onto a chipped ball behind the Kalev defence and rounding Kaljuste to finish. There was still time for Kalev's Risto Kägo to get sent off for a second booking for what could be best described as a 'mistimed tackle' and at worst could be described as a 'leg breaker'. But it was an important win for Viljandi as they now have a six point gap back to Kalev who sit in the relegation play off place.

Tammeka produced the upset of the day by beating Trans 2-1 in Tartu. They raced into a 2-0 lead with early goals from Heiko Tamm and Rauno Tutk in the first 12 minutes. Trans halved that lead two minutes later when Vladislav Ivanov tapped home Vitali Gussev's cut back, but Tammeka held on for only their second win of the campaign. They still sit bottom of the table, seven points adrift of Tallinna Kalev. An injury time equaliser Märten Pajunurm gave Kuressaare a valuable point at home to Paide who had led through Mihail Ištšuk's 70th minute strike. Paide still sit comfortably in sixth place.

There's a full fixture list tomorrow evening:

Sillamäe v Tammeka
Trans v Levadia
Kalju v Kuressaare
Paide v Tallinna Kalev
Flora v Viljandi

Monday, 3 September 2012

Kalju 2-2 Levadia - Kalju's title to lose

Kalju 2-2 Levadia - Saturday 1st September

Levadia came into Saturday's crunch game with top of the table Kalju on the back of their first defeat of the Meistriliiga season, a 0-2 loss at home to Trans last Tuesday, while Kalju had hammered Kuressaare 9-0 in Saaremaa with the returning Tarmo Neemelo hitting a hat trick. Not ideal preparation for Marko Kristal's team but they took the lead in the 15th minute at the Kadrioru as Albert Taar tapped home Artur Rättel's dragged shot from close range. Kalju captain Alo Bärengrub appealed for offside but had played Taar onside when the initial shot was hit. A great start for Levadia as they needed the win to cut Kalju's lead at the top to one point, though Kalju have two games in hand.

Levadia held the lead until shortly after the hour mark when Artjom Artjunin brought down Damiano Quinteri on the edge of the penalty area, a challenge for which Artjunin was booked. Andres Koogas stepped up to curl home the free kick, wrong footing Levadia goalkeeper Roman Smiško by avoiding the wall. Levadia regained their lead in the 79th minute when a lovely touch from former Kalju striker Ingemar Teever played in Igor Subbotin to fire home. There were again screams of offside from the Kalju defence but Subbotin had clearly been played onside by Tihhon Šišov - the defensive line might be something for Kalju not work on in training this week. 

There was late drama though as Kalju piled on the pressure in the closing stages. A long throw in from Oliver Konsa was allowed to bounce in the Levadia penalty area and Kristen Viikmäe, a second half substitute, darted in at the back post to head home to make it 2-2. Some real schoolboy defending from Levadia as Kristal trudged off with a face like thunder at the final whistle. Artur Rättel was last seen face down on the pitch shortly after the end of the match. Kalju coach Igor Prins was clearly happier than Kristal with the result: "The game was tense and it did not look good at 1-2 but we showed our character in coming from behind twice. We are obviously the happier with the result". Kristal bemoaned his team's defending: "Players have to take responsibility, you cannot let the ball bounce in the penalty area". And he's right. 

The two sides meet again at the Kadrioru on Saturday 15th September where Levadia must get a win to keep their faint title hopes alive. 

Some of the goals from last Tuesday's matches are here:

Meistriliiga round 26 goals

Trans are continuing their pursuit of fourth place having beaten Levadia on Tuesday, they followed up with a 4-0 at home to Tammeka on Saturday. They now sit just one point behind Ida-Viru rivals Sillamäe with two games in hand. Paide continue to look comfortable in sixth and Kuressaare need something from their games in hand to get themselves out of the ninth place relegation playoff spot. (Poor) Tammeka continue to look doomed with just one win all season.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Levadia 5-4 Flora

Levadia 5-4 Flora

Levadia kept their title hopes alive with a momentous win in a ridiculous match at the Kadrioru Staadion on Monday night. Flora came into the match in third place knowing that only a win would realistically keep their slim title hopes alive as Levadia and Kalju had were creeping further away at the top of the table. A crowd of 2150 saw the daft encounter. 

It was Levadia who struck first in the fourth minute as Ingemar Teever finished from close range following a long throw that really should have been dealt with by the Flora defence. However, Flora were back on level terms in the eighth minute when a good move down the right involving Zakaria Beglarišvili and Gert Kams was tapped home by Valeri Minkenen for his seventh goal of the season. Then, shortly before half time, an inexplicable handball from Flora defender Markus Jürgenson gifted Levadia a penalty, which captain Igor Morozov duly coverted to restore Levadia's lead. The second half wasn't a minute old when referee Kristo Tohver was pointing to the Flora penalty spot again, this time for a mistimed tackle by Nikita Baranov on Levadia's Albert Taar. Morozov again dispatched the penalty with ease to make it 3-1.

And it was 4-1 just after the hour when Taar won the ball in midfield and was allowed far too much time to fire home from 22 yards - a great strike though. Flora had some hope restored three minutes later when Beglarišvili curled home a lovely left footed shot from inside the penalty area. There was further hope in the 77th minute when Beglarišvili again fired home, this time from the edge of the box to make it 4-3. Flora's tails were up and Gert Kams completed an unlikely comeback hitting home after Roman Smiško in the Levadia goal had saved an initial header. The crashmat behind the goal proved a handy meeting point for the post-goal celebrations. 

But there was one final twist as the game went deep into injury time. As Flora were seconds away from a memorable point, they conceded possession near the edge of their penalty area and the ball was slipped through to Igor Subbotin. As he was about to shoot, what looked to be a great challenge came in from Karol Mets putting the ball out for a corner. Referee Tohver had other ideas and awarded a penalty to Levadia. Angry Flora players surrounded Tohver as he went over to consult with his assistant - the penalty stood and to add insult to injury, Mets was sent off for the challenge. There was still a penalty to be taken and Morozov completed his hat trick in the sixth minute of injury time with the final whistle blowing as soon as the ball hit the back of the net. 

Flora players continued to confront Tohver following the final whistle and Gert Kams could find himself in trouble for laying hands on the referee and then getting into a heated dispute with the Levadia physio who was on the pitch tending to Subbotin following the award of the penalty. Football can be a cruel mistress.

Elsewhere, Trans won 1-0 at Tallinna Kalev in an altogether less exciting match. Aleksandr Dubokin with the only goal of the game midway through the second half. 

Levadia travel to Sillamäe this weekend with Kalju not playing. Flora host bottom of the table Tammeka.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Meistriliiga August catch up

I have once again been pretty slack in keeping up to date with events in the Meistriliiga over the past few weeks - I guess this is what happens when the powers that be very selfishly schedule a number of sporting events during the same summer. They just don't think about the part time blogger covering the least popular league in Europe. As I say, selfish. Anyway, below are most of the goals from the past few weeks. 

Goals from week 22 (Saturday 4th August)

Goals from week 23 (Saturday 11th August)

'Highlights' from Viljandi 0-0 Tammeka (Sat 18th August)

Kalju have kept themselves ahead at the top of the table with three wins and three clean sheets against Trans, Viljandi and Paide while Levadia, who remain the only unbeaten team in the league, have gone goal crazy of late winning 7-0 against Kuressaare, 5-0 at Viljandi and 3-0 at Tammeka. Rimo Hunt and Albert Taar in particular have hit purple patches scoring eight goals between them in their last three games. Artur Pikk's free kick against Viljandi is also worth a watch. Levadia face third placed Flora at the Kadrioru tonight as they look to close the gap on Kalju to two points. Flora have drifted off the pace and a draw at Tallinna Kalev didn't help their cause. 

Preview of tonight's match is available on the EJL website

Tammeka are looking doomed at the bottom of the table having won just one game all season, though there looks to be a three way battle to avoid the relegation play off place for finishing ninth. Kuressaare currently occupy that spot but have games in hand on Viljandi and Tallinna Kalev above them.

The Estonian national team also fitted in a friendly against Poland last week, grabbing a good 1-0 win thanks for an injury time free kick from Konstantin Vassiljev. The starting line up featured three Meistriliiga players, defenders Igor Morozov, Tihhon Šišov and Alo Bärengrub who all completed 90 minutes.

Estonia 1-0 Poland (Wednesday 15th August)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Meistriliiga week 20: Kalju 2-0 Flora and other matches

Kalju 2-0 Flora

Kalju put a huge dent in Flora's title ambitions with a 2-0 win at the Kadrioru on Saturday - the win puts Kalju seven points clear of Flora having played nineteen matches each. In a rain soaked Tallinn, Eino Puri put Kalju ahead from close range near to half time after Flora failed to deal with Sergei Terehhov's hopeful free kick. Flora were again architects of their own downfall for Kalju's second just after the hour as they gave the ball away due to some good pressing high up the pitch from Kalju. The ball eventually fell to Yankuba Ceesay who exchanged a neat one-two on the edge of the box with Juri Jevdokimov and lashed the ball home sparking jubilant scenes among the Kalju players and fans. Flora coach Martin Reim was unhappy at his side conceding a goal shortly before half time: "We gifted them a goal. It changed the course of the game and we had to attack, which in turn creates holes and mistakes in defence." Reim also made reference to their tough game against Basel in Champions League qualifying the previous Tuesday that affected Flora's energy levels. The result leaves Flora off the pace in their bid for a hat trick of Meistriliiga titles - the two sides meet again on the penultimate day of the season (27th October). 

Viljandi 6-0 Kuressaare

Towards the foot of the table, Viljandi hit Kuressaare for six. They were helped greatly by the early dismissal of Kuressaare's goalkeeper Mihhail Lavrentjev for preventing a goalscoring opportunity, hauling down the Viljandi player as he looked to round him. Substitute goalkeeper Riido Reiman came on, replacing Tauno Laja, and his first job was to face Eron Krillo's penalty - but he couldn't stop the low penalty into the bottom corner. Taavi Laurits doubled the lead five minutes later with a precise right footed finish from inside the penalty area and Joel Indermitte had made it 3-0 from a corner before half time. Laurits scored his second on 67 minutes and Marten Mütt added two late on as the Kuressaare players were out on their feet. A big win for Viljandi which takes them above Kuressaare into eighth place in the Meistriliiga table as both sides look to avoid finishing in ninth, a position that brings with it a relegation/promotion play-off with the second placed Esiliiga team. 

And the Viljandi players were delighted with the result, as you'll see from the video below. Sadly, they stopped short of soaking their coach with champagne:

Viljandi players celebrate their win

Tallinna Kalev 0-6 Levadia

Monday night saw Tallinna Kalev host Levadia at Kalevi Keskstaadion. Goals in the first twenty minutes from Janar Toomet and Artur Rättel set up a comfortable evening for Levadia as they cruised to a 6-0 win and moved back above Flora into second place. Rättel completed a hat trick in the second half and further goals from Marek Kaljumäe and Ingemar Teever, a great free kick and his first goal in a Levadia shirt, made for an emphatic result. Kuressaare are next up for Levadia on Monday night as they look to keep the pressure on Kalju in top spot.

Trans 0-1 Sillamäe

Paide 4-1 Tammeka

In the weekend's other two matches, Sillamäe won the Ida-Viru derby with a late goal from Aleksandr Bebikh. And Paide drew level with fifth placed Trans following a 4-1 win over Tammeka - the goals came from Tiit Tikenberg (penalty), Lauri Varendi and Stanislav Goldberg (2) with Tammeka's reply coming from Alex Nimo. Not a good start for new Tammeka coach Joti Stamatopoulos as they are beginning to look beyond help in their battle against relegation. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Meistriliiga week 19: Kuressaare pick up valuable win

Kuressaare 2-1 Tallinna Kalev

Kuressaare notched up a very important win on Saturday in their bid to move away from relegation troubles. It was just their second win of the season (the first being the memorable win away to Flora) and puts three points between them and Viljandi in ninth - it also leaves them just three points off Tallinna Kalev in seventh while Kuressaare have three games in hand. It didn't start well for the islanders, as a monumental blunder from goalkeeper Mihhail Lavrentjev allowed Kalev's French striker Kassim Aidara to tap home. Kalev's lead lasted only a minute though as pint-sized midfielder Margus Rajaver equalised for Kuressaare with a shot across Stanislav Tokarev into the far corner. The winner, on 71 minutes, was a scrappy affair as Kalev failed to clear the ball following a left wing free kick. The ball eventually fell to Gregor Könninge after Tokarev had palmed a shot away, and the midfielder tapped home. 

With neither Flora or Levadia playing this weekend, Kalju had an opportunity to put distance between themselves and their Tallinn rivals as they faced bottom of the table Tammeka in Tartu. What sounded like a routine win was a little less so in reality as late goals gave Kalju a 4-1 win. Sergei Terehhov had given Kalju the lead midway through the first half, but they had to wait until the 78th minute for Hidetoshi Wakui to make things more comfortable. Even then, Tammeka's Mikk Valtna pulled one back with nine minutes remaining leaving Kalju edgy until further goals from Oliver Konsa and Siim Valtna (og) sealed the win. 

Sillamäe and Viljandi shared four goals, all coming in an action packed period just after half time. Vladislav Ivanov put Sillamäe ahead with his tenth goal of the season two minutes after the break, but Viljandi hit back to go 2-1 ahead after quickfire goals from Martin Tšegodajev and Taavi Laurits turned things around. Sillamäe's equaliser came from Aleksandr Volodin on 69 minutes to make it 2-2. A decent point for Viljandi but they will have been disappointed to see Kuressaare win above them.

Tonight sees Flora take on Basel in their Champions League qualifier, a game in which the Swiss team are heavy favourites. Flora then face Kalju on Saturday, a big match in the title race. Levadia play Tallinna Kalev on Monday night. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Meistriliiga week 18: Flora move into second

Flora 3-0 Sillamäe

Flora leapfrogged city rivals Levadia into second place in the Meistriliiga table with a comfortable 3-0 win over Sillamäe at the A.Le Coq Arena on Saturday. Flora were ahead in the 19th minute when Gert Kams stooped to head Karl-Eerik Luigend's cross home at the far post. It was 2-0 ten minutes later when Valeri Minkenen converted a penalty following a double hand ball by Tanel Tamberg. Flora controlled the second half as Sillamäe rarely threatened and Kams sealed the win with a good header three minutes from time. Levadia and Kalju's 1-1 draw at Kadriorg later in the day meant that Flora stayed second. Nearly 500 saw Igor Subbotin put Levadia 1-0 up with a tap in after 11 minutes and Gambian midfielder Yankuba Ceesay equalise for Kalju following a corner on 69 minutes. The result helps Flora in their pursuit of top spot as they now sit just a point behind Kalju, though Kalju have a game in hand.

Tammeka 2-3 Trans

A see-saw game in Tartu saw Trans eventually emerge with three points against Tammeka. Aleksandr Alekseev struck from the edge of the box after just six minutes but Tammeka turned it round midway through the first half. Kaspar Kaldoja was fouled when about to shoot in the Trans area and a penalty awarded on 33 minutes. Kaldoja picked himself up to slot home. Three minutes later, Ander Paabut pressurised Trans captain Stanislav Kitto into conceding possession and then Paabut fired home from the 18 yards. But Vitali Gussev turned it round for Trans in the second half, first with a good volley from the angle of the penalty area  and the second, on 73 minutes, a clinical finish after easing past three Tammeka defenders. The win puts Trans back into fifth place above Paide as they look to catch Sillamäe in fourth spot. It also leaves Tammeka stuck at the bottom of the table as they continue to miss Albert Prosa's goals - they've managed just seven goals in 17 games this season.

Thursday night sees three Meistriliiga teams in action in the qualifying round of the Europa League. Kalju travel to Azerbaijan to face Xäzär Länkäran, while Trans also face Azerbaijani opposition in Inter Baku (in Rakvere). Levadia face Šiauliai of Lithuania at Kadriorg.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Meistriliiga round 17: Captain Morozov rescues Levadia

Meistriliiga week 17 goals

Levadia needed two second half goals from captain Igor Morozov to take all three points against Trans in Narva on Tuesday evening. Aleksandr Alekseev had put Trans ahead midway through the first half heading home from ten yards. It was looking likely that Levadia would concede second place to Flora (given that they were at home to Viljandi) but Morozov stepped in. His first was a great acrobatic effort following a corner, though he was perhaps slightly lucky that it wasn't disallowed for dangerous play with the head of a Trans defender very nearby. His second and the winner, three minutes from time, came with a glanced header from a left wing free kick. A great second half turnaround for Levadia. 

Kalju eventually broke Kuressaare's stubborn resistance with a 2-0 win at the Kadrioru. Hidetoshi Wakui opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season on 74 minutes and Tanel Melts added the second with a back post header five minutes later. Flora recorded a straightforward 5-0 victory at home to Viljandi, with Karl Mööl scoring the fastest goal of the Meistriliiga season after just 12 seconds. He headed a second to make it 2-0 after three minutes and a brace from Andre Frolov and one from Zakaria Beglarišvili made for an emphatic scoreline.

Tammeka look to be in real trouble after a 2-0 defeat in Sillamäe - just five goals in 15 matches demonstrating where their troubles lie. Vladislav Ivanov scored both Sillamäe goals, the first from the penalty spot and the second on the counter attack in the 87th minute. Paide moved up to fifth in the table with a 1-0 win at home to Tallinna Kalev - Stanislav Goldberg with the winner on 65 minutes.

There are three games in the Meistriliiga tomorrow:

Flora v Sillamäe
Levadia v Kalju
Tammeka v Trans

Levadia v Kalju obviously the pick of the bunch there as a win for Levadia could take them top of the table.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Champions League and Europa League qualifying draws

The draws for the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and Europa League for 2012/13 took place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland yesterday. There were four Meistriliiga teams involved in the draw - Flora, Kalju, Levadia and Trans. 

The draws were as follows:

Champions League second qualifying round

Flora Tallinn v FC Basel
To be played during weeks of 17th/18th July and 24th/25th July

Europa League first qualifying round

Inter Baku (Azerbaijan) v Narva Trans
FC Šiauliai (Lithuania) v Levadia Tallinn
Xäzär Länkäran FK (Azerbaijan) v JK Kalju
Matches to be played on 5th and 12th July

So not an easy draw for Flora, but some potentially winnable ties for the Europa League teams. In a wonderful footballing twist of fate, Kalju's tie pits full back Tihhon Šišov against his former club, Xäzär Länkäran, with whom he had a long running dispute for non-payment of wages before finally being released from his contract and allowed to join Kalju at the end of last year. Levadia should also know something about Šiauliai from near neighbours Lithuania. Trans may want to tap up Estonian international Dmitri Kruglov for some tips on Inter Baku as he played for the club for a year in 2010/11, and had played in Azerbaijan since 2008 before a move to FC Rostov in Russia last year.

Should Kalju overcome Xäzär Länkäran, they will face either Lech Poznan (Poland) or Zhetysu Taldykorgan (Kazakhstan) - I know who I'd rather play - in the second qualifying round. Levadia could face Anorthosis Famagusta (Cyprus) and Trans would meet Asteras Tripolis (Greece).

Meistrilliga weeks 15 & 16: Kalju keep their noses in front

Goals from Meistriliiga week 15

I have finally got round to updating things on here - there has been some other football tournament on recently that has taken most of my viewing time. Normal service should now be resumed.

Week 15 (Saturday 9th June) saw Levadia inflict Flora's third defeat of the season, one more than they suffered during the whole of the 2011 season. Rimo Hunt scored the winner on 70 minutes, tapping home from close range after a penalty box scramble following a corner. Flora had a spell of great pressure in injury time with a series corners, and goalkeeper Mihkel Aksalu went close to grabbing an equaliser, but Levadia held on for the win. 

Flora 0-1 Levadia

Elsewhere that week, Trans (wearing an unfamiliar blue strip) won comfortably 5-1 at home to Tallinna Kalev, Aleksandr Alekseev grabbing a brace for the home side. Tammeka and Viljandi drew 1-1 in Tartu, Sillamäe and Kuressaare played out a goalless draw and Kalju won 1-0 at home to Paide thanks to an early Hidetoshi Wakui goal. That game also saw Paide coach Meelis Rooba ordered from the away dug out early in the second half. Presumably for shouting at the referee or something. 

Goals from Meistriliiga week 16

Week 16 (Saturday 16th June) saw a more straightforward win for Kalju, beating Tallinna Kalev 5-0 at Kalevi Keskstaadion. Wakui continued his good form with two more goals. Levadia slipped up though with a 1-1 draw with Sillamäe at Maarjamäe. Hunt put Levadia ahead on 15 minutes but Tanel Tamberg equalised for Sillamäe shortly before half time. That meant that Flora gained ground with a 2-0 win over Tammeka in Tartu - two second half headed goals from Zakaria Beglarišvili and Reio Laabus were enough for the champions. 

Kuressaare drew 0-0 for the second week in a row, this time at home to Trans, and Paide won 2-0 at Viljandi - second half goals there from Mait Nomme and Georgian midfielder Tengiz Eteria.

So what does this all mean for the Meistriliiga table, let me tell you. Kalju have a two point lead over Levadia with a game in hand. Levadia remain the only unbeaten team though their five draws and lack of goals (comparatively) may see them struggle to stay in touch with Kalju. Flora sit in third looking much less imperious than in recent seasons. Trans continue their progress up the table as they sit in fifth, six points off Sillamäe but with two games in hand. Paide are again doing well to keep clear of the relegation places and it looks to be Viljandi, Kuressaare and Tammeka who will be fighting it out down there. Newly promoted Tallinna Kalev ship a lot of goals, though have won enough matches to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three.

There is also a full list of Meistriliiga fixtures this evening:

Kalju v Kuressaare
Trans v Levadia
Sillamäe v Tammeka
Flora v Viljandi
Paide v Tallinna Kalev

All 6.45 EET kick offs

Monday, 28 May 2012

Evald Tipner Cup Final - Trans 0-3 Levadia

Trans 0-3 Levadia

Levadia took the first major trophy of the season in Estonia as they comfortably beat a struggling Trans side at the A. Le Coq Arena in the Evald Tipner Cup final on Saturday. After some sort of ceremony involving flag bearers, over 3,000 fans saw Levadia win the trophy for the seventh time, two ahead of Flora's five wins. 

Trans had a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the 18th minute when Aleksandr Alekseev broke clear of the Levadia defence but he was denied by the right foot of Roman Smiško. Maksim Gruznov then hit the woodwork for Trans from a resulting free kick. But Levadia took the lead five minutes before half time when Maksim Podholjuzin headed home a left wing free kick. Levadia doubled their lead midway through the second half through an unstoppable Artjom Artjunin free kick leaving Vladimir Malkov in the Trans goal with no chance.

It was fitting that Levadia captain Igor Morozov rounded off the win on 81 minutes with a back post header from a corner before the 22 year old lifted the trophy amid jubilant scenes.

It is Levadia's first trophy under Marko Kristal and their first since they last won this competition (before its rebranding) in 2010. The win sees them into the qualifying round of the Europa League. It also signifies Levadia's return to prominence following a poor season in 2011 as they look to maintain their Meistriliiga title challenge alongside Flora and Kalju. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Meistriliiga week 13: Kalju leave it late against 10 man Trans

Trans 1-2 Kalju

Kalju grabbed a late winner against the ten men of Trans to stay top of the Meistriliiga table. Kalju were ahead on 16 minutes when Oliver Konsa finished from close range but Trans were level minutes later when Maksim Gruznov was barged in the penalty area by Kalju's Andres Koogas. Vitali Gussev converted the penalty to make it 1-1. Trans were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Bi Sehi Elysee Irie just after half time and they fought valiantly until Hidetoshi Wakui scored the winner on 85 minutes following some nice footwork in the box. Cue jubilant celebrations and two rogue supporters violating all health and safety legislation by running onto the pitch to join in. One can only hope they receive the stiffest of punishments. Good to see the linesman intervening before any damage was done. Kudos to him. 

Levadia 2-0 Viljandi

Levadia beat Viljandi with two second half goals. I would describe the first goal but it probably wouldn't be accurate due to the patch camera work - Aleksandr Kulinitš scored it apparently. Janar Toomet got the second after a bad fumble from Viljandi goalkeeper Roman Dmitriev. 

The weekend's remaining goals 

And here's the other goals from Saturday including a 5-0 for Flora over Tallinna Kalev and a second hat trick in a week for Zakaria Beglarišvili. A goalless draw between Tammeka and Kuressaare does little for either side and Vladislav Ivanov gets a late equaliser for Sillamäe as they draw 1-1 with Paide.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Meistriliiga week 12: Tallinna Kalev continue impressive form

Tallinna Kalev 1-0 Tammeka

Tallinna Kalev grabbed a last gasp winner at home to Tammeka on Saturday to seal a 1-0 win as they continue to embed themselves safely in mid-table. The goal was controversial as Kalev's Rejal Alijev looked to go down very easily after a slight touch in the box in the 93rd minute - referee Eiko Saar pointed to the spot. Hiroyuki Mitsuyama kept his cool to convert the penalty and put Kalev level on points with Sillamäe in fourth place. 

Remaining week 12 goals

Kalju, Flora and Levadia all won comfortably to stay level on 28 points each at the top of the Meistriliiga table. Kalju made short work of Sillamäe as they were 3-0 up within 20 minutes, goals from Hidetoshi Wakui, Tanel Melts and Tarmo Neemelo. Sillamäe contributed to their own downfall through poor defending and giving the ball away - Neemelo scored his second on 55 minutes and Kristen Viikmäe wrapped up the rout on 77 minutes. Flora's 5-0 win at Paide was a harsh scoreline for the home side. With the game 0-0 at half time, Valeri Minkenen put Flora 1-0 just after half time with a well placed free kick and it remained 1-0 until the 85th minute. Then, a Zakaria Beglarišvili hat trick and a goal from Karl Mööl made the win more emphatic as Paide ran out of steam. Two goals, both from corners, from Rimo Hunt gave Levadia a straightforward win at Kuressaare.

Trans continued their resurgence with a 1-0 win at Viljandi, Sergei Leontovitš scoring the winner from six yards just after the hour. Already booked, Leontovitš then received a straight red card for barging a Viljandi defender to the ground following a heavy tackle. Bit silly. 

This Saturday sees Kalju travel to Trans, Flora host Tallinna Kalev and Levadia face Viljandi at Maarjamäe.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Meistriliiga week 11: Flora hit back

Flora 1-0 Kalju

Flora scored an important victory at the top of the Meistriliiga table as they defeated Kalju 1-0 at the A.Le Coq Arena on Saturday. A single goal just after half time from Rauno Alliku was enough to secure the points and ensure that Kalju did not increase the gap between the two sides. It was Kalju's first defeat of the season and they will feel aggrieved after Oliver Konsa had an equalising goal ruled for a soft foul by Hidetoshi Wakui. Kalju striker Tarmo Neemelo felt they missed new signing Damiano Quinteri who has made a great start at Kalju: "We cannot hide that we missed Quinteri, he is fast and technical and created the goal in the previous game." Flora now join Kalju and Levadia at the top of the table on 25 points, with Flora and Levadia meeting tomorrow night at Maarjamäe. Levadia drew 0-0 at home to Tallinna Kalev in a match that saw three red cards. Levadia's hat trick hero from last week, Artur Rättel, was shown a straight red card just before half time while Risto Kägo and Rasmus Tomson were both dismissed for Kalev in the second half for second yellow cards.

Trans 1-0 Sillamäe

Trans recorded a much needed first win of the season over Sillamäe in the Ida-Viru derby to move off the bottom of the table. The tense match was goalless until the 87th minute when a Trans corner wasn't properly cleared and the ball fell to Sergei Leontovitš who fired home from eight yards. Cue jubilant celebrations from the team who finished third in the Meistriliiga last season and they will hope this win kick starts their season.

Tammeka 1-2 Paide

Elsewhere, Paide were 2-0 up within twenty minutes against Tammeka in Tartu through goals from Teet Allas and Sander Rõivassepp. Tammeka pulled one back before half time through a nice half volley from Martin Hurt but couldn't find an equaliser in the second half and slide to the bottom of the table following Trans's win over Sillamäe. Kuressaare and Viljandi played out a goalless draw with Marten Mütt seeing red for Viljandi on 64 minutes.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Meistriliiga week 10: Artur Rättels Paide

Paide 1-5 Levadia

A slightly delayed (and short) round up of last Saturday's Meistriliiga matches. Artur Rättel scored a first half hat trick to help Levadia to a big win at Paide. Janar Toomet added the other two in the second half. Flora won in Narva (goals below) as Trans continue to struggle at the bottom of the table with just one point from their first six games. 

Trans 1-2 Flora

Remaining goals below from:

Viljandi 0-3 Sillamäe
Kalju 3-0 Tammeka
Tallinna Kalev 2-1 Kuressaare

This weekend sees the second meeting of the season between Flora and Kalju at the A.Le Coq Arena as Kalju will be looking to pull further ahead of their title rivals. Levadia host Tallinna Kalev in another all Tallinn match and Sillamäe travel to Trans for the 'Russian derby'. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Estonian Cup quarter finals: No shocks here

Flora 3-0 Viljandi

Flora progressed comfortably into the semi-finals of the 2011-12 Estonian Cup with a 3-0 win over Viljandi at the A.Le Coq Arena on Tuesday night. They had to wait until the 65th minute for the first goal from Valeri Minkenen who fired home from the edge of the box. Nikolai Mašitšev and Zakaria Beglarišvili added further goals to make the last few minutes panic free for Flora.

Trans 2-1 Tammeka

Following their dreadful start to the season, Trans secured a much needed win over Tammeka in a very wet Narva. Sergei Kazakov put Trans ahead early on after collecting a ball cleared from a corner and steering a left footed shot home. In an open first half, Tammeka were level just before half time when Trans defender Emmanuel Mbia Ekobena sliced a Rauno Tutk cross into his own net. Tammeka's Martin Hurt was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in quick succession around the hour mark, and Trans made their numerical advantage count when Sergei Leontovitš volleyed home from close range to make it 2-1.

In the remaining matches, Paide saw off Pärnu 4-0 and Levadia beat Flora II 2-0 with goals from Janar Toomet and Rimo Hunt. That win for Levadia sees them into the qualifying round of the 2012-13 Europa League as Trans and Flora have already qualified for Europe due to their league positions and Paide do not have a licence to play in European competition. The semi-finals are:

Tuesday 8th May
Paide v Trans (at Paide linnastaadion)
Levadia v Flora (at Maarjamäe)

The Estonian Cup is also known as the Evald Tipner Cup, after the legendary Estonian goalkeeper/striker (and all round athlete). The EJL has put together this nice little video in Tipner's honour and there is also a good article on

Evald Tipner: Estonian legend

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Meistriliiga week 9: Pohlak inspires comeback for Kuressaare

Pelle Pohlak: Kuressaare's saviour

Pelle Pohlak, son of EJL President Aivar, scored two late goals to save a point for Kuressaare at home to Tallinna Kalev in the Meistriliiga yesterday afternoon. Kuressaare had taken an early lead through striker Raido Reinsalu but were behind before half time as Kalev fought back. Japanese midfielder Hiroyuki Mitsuyama scored the equaliser on 32 minutes and Edwin Stüf put them into the lead on 39 minutes. Mitsuyama looked to have wrapped up the points for Kalev with his second of the match midway through the second half to make it 3-1. But Pohlak had other ideas, and his two goals in the last five minutes gave Kuressaare an unlikely point. 

Kuressaare defender (on loan from Flora) Märten Pajunurm is looking for improved concentration: "The game started exactly as our game away at Viljandi [where Kuressaare went 1-0 up early on only to lose 3-1] - we took an early lead then created good opportunities but failed to exploit them....I guess it's a psychological thing, we need to be strong and stay disciplined throughout the entire match." Kalev coach Daniel Meijel was also not happy: "The second half was completely under our control....and then a simple error, a communication problem...the Levadia game was exactly the same story." It was the second time Kalev had conceded two late goals after Levadia came back from a goal down last week to win 2-1.

Tammeka 0-4 Kalju

Kalju continued their imperious early season form with a 4-0 drubbing of Tammeka in Tartu. Juri Jevdokimov opened the scoring, sending Tammeka goalkeeper Andrus Lukjanov the wrong way from the penalty spot following a foul in the box. It was 2-0 shortly after half time via comedy own goal from defender Uku Lilleväli following a mix up with Lukjanov. Kalju captain Alo Bärengrub then added two goals to make it more comfortable, the first a header from an Oliver Konsa cross and the second a tap in following a corner. 

Trans's terrible start to the season continued with a fourth loss in five games at Flora. Flora were 2-0 up in 20 minutes with goals from Karl-Eerik Luigend and Albert Prosa. Sergei Kazakov reduced the deficit just before half time but Trans couldn't find an equaliser in the second half. Trans defender Erik Grigoryev feels his side have improved since Flora beat them 4-0 in the Superkarika at the beginning of the season but there are still improvements to be made: "We lost the midfield again, the second goal was not normal." Trans remain bottom of the table, albeit with some games in hand. 

In a game of few clear cut chances, Rimo Hunt scored the only goal with a good shot on the turn in a 1-0 win for Levadia over Paide at Maarjamäe - highlights available at Sport.err. As a clear 'top 3' looks to be developing, Sillamäe sit in fourth following a 2-0 win at home to Viljandi. Maksim Paponov scored on the stroke of half time and Vladislav Ivanov scored his fifth goal of the season to double the lead with 12 minutes remaining. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Meistriliiga week 8: Kalju make title ambitions clear

Kalju 2-0 Flora

A slightly late round up of the weekend's Meistriliiga matches as I've been on my travels so haven't had time to look through all the matches, but thought I'd post up the goals. Kalju made a real statement with their win over Flora and could be six points clear of their rivals should they win their game in hand. Levadia are still in touch after two very late goals (below) gave them a 2-1 win having been a goal down for most of the game. And the goals from the games between Paide and Tammeka and Viljandi and Kuressaare are also included. No sign of the goals from Sillamäe's win at Trans just yet. 

Tallinna Kalev 1-2 Levadia

Paide 2-0 Tammeka

Viljandi 3-1 Kuressaare