Saturday, 31 March 2012

Shock of the day: Flora 0-1 Kuressaare

Flora 0-1 Kuressaare

Kuressaare pulled off  a huge shock this afternoon by defeating reigning champions Flora 1-0 in Tallinn. Odds of around 25/1 were available on a Kuressaare win, which gives an idea of how unlikely a win was for the islanders who finished second bottom in the Meistriliiga last season. 

To add insult to injury, the solitary goal was scored by defender Märten Pajunurm who is currently on loan to Kuressaare from Flora. Gert Kams's defensive header was poor and fell to Pajunurm who took a touch before finishing with a well placed left foot shot from 15 yards out. As expected Flora had the better of the possession and chances (22 attempts at goal to Kuressaare's four) but couldn't find a way through. 

There were jubilant scenes at the final whistle as Kuressaare players and staff celebrated the historic win. It wasn't Kuressaare's first win over Flora since they first appeared in the Meistriliiga in 2000 - they also won 1-0 in April 2009 - but the majority of meetings between the two have been comfortable wins for Flora, including a 17-0 win in October 2003.

Reports on the day's other matches to follow. The results were:

Kalju 4-0 Viljandi
Tammeka 0-1 Levadia
Sillamäe 4-1 Tallinna Kalev

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Paide 1-3 Kalju

Paide 1-3 Kalju

Kalju recovered from a slow start to beat Paide 3-1 in an ill-tempered match on Tuesday night. Kalju made two changes from their win over Tallinna Kalev on Saturday - Italian winger Damiano Quintieri made his first start for the club and Alo Bärengrub also came back in. Kristen Viikmäe and Andres Koogas dropped out. Paide made three changes from their defeat to Viljandi at the weekend; Aiko Orgla, Mait Nõmme and Lauri Varendi all came back into the side. 

Paide started well and took an early lead after eight minutes through Andre Mägi. Vitali Teleš in the Kalju goal had received a yellow card a minute earlier for scything down a Paide player on the edge of the box - the card could have been red had the ball not been headed for the corner flag. The resulting free kick was fairly tame, but Teleš couldn't hold it and Mägi tapped home from close range. Not a great couple of minutes for Teleš. 

Kalju grew as the half went on and were helped back into the game after Mait Nõmme headed into his own net following a long throw from the right. Kalju were in front before half time when Eino Puri headed home expertly from a corner. The second half slowed in pace, but became ugly in the closing stages. Paide substitute Ervin Kõll was shown a straight red card on 77 minutes, having only been on the pitch a few minutes, before Eerik Reinsoo was shown a second yellow card for a bad tackle. Quintieri then sealed the win with his first Kalju goal, a nice strike from the edge of the box. And there was still time for Tiik Tikenberg to receive his marching orders in injury time, leaving Paide with eight men. 

Kalju host Viljandi on Saturday while Paide's match with Trans has been rescheduled for 17th July. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Meistriliiga week 3 - Sillamäe thwart Levadia

Sillamäe 0-0 Levadia

Levadia were held to a goalless draw in a snowy Sillamäe on Saturday. In a game of half chances and poor finishing, Sillamäe's former Levadia striker Vladislav Ivanov missed the best chance when he screwed his left shot wide from close range when one on one with Roman Smiško. It is a good point for Sillamäe but they are still seeking their first goal and win of the season. After the match, Levadia striker Rimo Hunt spoke to TV6: "We have lost two points, we came here to win....but we are satisfied with our start to the season. We have played some strong teams and are unbeaten, which is a psychological boost." 

Kalju made it two wins out of three with a 3-1 win at home to Tallinna Kalev. Kalju were 2-0 up within half an hour with goals from Juri Jevdokimov (from the penalty spot) and Kristen Viikmäe. Kalev coach was ordered from the bench after half an hour, perhaps still livid about the debatable penalty award when Sean Whalen looked to play the ball in a challenge with Oliver Konsa. Kalju were three up shortly after half time when Jevdokimov scored his second, his shot into the ground looping up and into the top corner. Kassim Aidara pulled one back from close range for Kalev but it didn't stir a comeback. Kalev also had Deniss Jõgiste sent off late on for a second yellow card.

Highlights of the match available via Sport.err.

Paide 0-1 Viljandi

Viljandi picked up their first three points of the season thanks to a 20th minute goal from Ott Ottis, a low finish from inside the box. Tiik Tikenberg missed an 87th minute penalty for Paide, sending it wide of the post. Paide host Kalju in a rearranged fixture on Tuesday night. 

Flora continue to look impressive with a comprehensive 4-0 win at home to Tammeka. Karol Mets got things going putting Flora ahead on 10 minutes and the lead was doubled by Andre Frolov just before half time. Late goals from Frolov and Aleksei Belov put some further distance between the teams. Flora welcome Kuressaare to Tallinn next Saturday.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Levadia 1-1 Flora

(Photo: Hendrik Osula)

Levadia continued their good early season form with a 1-1 draw with Tallinn rivals Flora at Maarjamäe this evening. Captain Karl Palatu and Nikolai Mashichev returned to the starting line up for Flora after missing Saturday's trip to Viljandi. Levadia also made two changes to the side that trounced Trans 4-0 as Vitali Leitan and Igor Subbotin came back in with Janar Toomet and Artur Rättel dropping out. 

A handful of chances fell to either side by way of set pieces in an equal first half, the best of which was inexplicably headed over from close range by Levadia's Leitan after Igor Morozov had nodded the ball back across the goal following a corner. Leitan made amends though when he opened the scoring three minutes into the second half - the ball broke to him following a scramble in the box and his left foot shot looped over Stanislav Pedõk and into the net. 

Flora equalised on 76 minutes when Andre Frolov flicked a header home from a left wing corner. Both sides will probably be happy with the result - Levadia's young team continue to show signs of improvement and the potential to mount a title challenge and Flora will be glad not to have conceded any ground to their rivals, no matter how early in the season. 

Levadia coach Marko Kristal, who played over 300 games for Flora during his career, said to ETV: "When you're 1-0 ahead and draw, you will be disappointed not win. But it was a tough game and we are happy with a draw in the end. The quality of our attacking play is much improved. Our games so far have more or less gone to plan."

Highlights of the match are available via Sport.err

In tonight's other match, Tallinna Kalev were held to a goalless draw at home to Trans, a result that Trans are probably happier with given their early season form. Newly promoted Kalev will be delighted with seven points from a possible nine. Both sides had a player sent off in the second half - Elbasan Kabashi for Kalev and Alekseijs Kuplovs-Oginnskis for Trans. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Meistriliiga week 2: Levadia thump Trans

Levadia 4-0 Trans

Levadia got their season up and running with a 4-0 victory at Maarjamäe on Saturday. Four second half goals saw off a poor Trans side who suffered their second consecutive 4-0 defeat. After an equal first half, Levadia captain Igor Morozov opened the scoring on 56 minutes with a back post header from a corner. Their lead was doubled on 66 minutes by Andero Pebre, cutting inside a defender in the box to fire home from eight yards out. Morozov put the game beyond Trans with a third from the penalty spot after Bi Sehi Elysée Irié had fouled Igor Subbotin and Subbotin himself added a fourth in injury time. 

Levadia coach Marko Kristal was happy with the performance of his young side: "The first half was scrappy and our attacking game did not work. In the second half, our young players got used to playing against men, we retained the ball better." Happily, the Levadia fans behaved well following the unsavoury incidents at last week's match with Kalju.

Viljandi 0-2 Flora

Flora made it two wins out of two with a comfortable 2-0 win in Viljandi. Karl Mööl scored his third goal in three games firing home from a tight angle past Siim-Sten Palm in the Viljandi goal. Martti Pukk scored his first goal for Flora shortly after half time but, while Flora dominated possession, they couldn't add to the scoreline. Jaan Leimann had Viljandi's best chance but couldn't lift the ball over Stanislav Pedõk in the Flora goal. The result sets up the first Tallinn derby of the season on Tuesday night with both sides looking confident. 

Tallinna Kalev won their second match on their return to the Meistriliiga, beating Paide 1-0. Rasmus Tomson scored the winning goal for the second week running, this time with a low shot from the edge of the area. Mait Nõmme was sent off for a second yellow card late on for Paide.

Tallinna Kalev 1-0 Paide

Tammeka and Sillamäe shared a goalless draw in Tartu (highlights below). The match between Kuressaare and Kalju has been rescheduled for 13th October. Tallinna Kalev host Trans on Tuesday night, along with the Flora v Levadia match at Maarjamäe.

Tammeka 0-0 Sillamäe

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Levadia apologise for fan behaviour

               Levadia fans let off firework (Photo: Hanna Odrase)

FC Levadia have issued a club statement apologising for the behaviour of a small number of fans during the opening match of the Meistriliiga season, a goalless draw against Kalju.

Fans let off a firework in the spectators area (above) and also racially abused Kalju's new Gambian signing, Yankuba Ceesay, following his introduction at half time.

The statement read:
"FC Levadia apologises to Yankuba Ceesay and the Estonian public for the racist incident and public order offence that took place in Saturday's Meistriliiga match. FC Levadia will not tolerate racist behaviour or the use of fireworks in the stadium. We take such incidents seriously and will make every effort to avoid any such incidents in future.....We are sincerely sorry that our supporters ended the positive atmosphere that was created in the stadium during the match."

Full statement is available via Levadia's website

[Update 15th March - two Levadia fans disciplined and fined by the EJL. More details on the EJL website]

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Meistriliiga week 1: Levadia hold Kalju

Kalju v Levadia (photo: Hanna Odras)

A young Levadia side held Kalju to a goalless draw at the Sportland Arena on the opening day of the Meistriliiga season. In a game of few half chances, and even fewer clear cut chances, Levadia did well to contain Kalju, near favourites behind Flora for the Meistriliiga title. Kalju introduced Tarmo Neemelo and new signing Gambian midfielder Yankuba Ceesay at half time but couldn't find a way through a disciplined Levadia side.

Levadia coach Marko Kristal was happy with the point in his first competitive match in charge alongside assistant Indrek Zelinski: "When you play a title favourite, you should be happy with the points you gain....this game will give us confidence." Kalju captain Alo Bärengrub conceded Kalju have room for improvement going into next week's match with Kuressaare. 

Highlights of the match and interviews available via Sport.err.

Tallinna Kalev 2-1 Viljandi

Tallinna Kalev made a winning return to the Meistriliiga defeating Viljandi 2-1 at Kalevi Keskstaadion. Frenchman Kassim Aidara put Kalev ahead on 24 minutes with a header from a right wing corner. Sander Sinilaid equalised for Viljandi just before half time following another corner, but Rasmus Tomson scored the winner with a great half volley from the edge of the penalty area. Daniil Ratnikov and Japanese Hiroyuki Mitsuyama both made their debuts for Kalev.  

Perseverance paid off  for Flora as they started the defence of their Meistriliiga title with a slightly laboured 2-0 win over Sillamäe, the goals coming from Karl Mööl (75) and Siim Luts (87). Aleksei Belov started for Flora following his goal against Trans in the Superkarika on Tuesday night, and was replaced by Albert Prosa, making his Flora debut, on 75 minutes. 

In the final match of the day, Paide won 2-1 at home to Kuressaare. Georgian Tengiz Eteria put Paide 1-0 up on 41 minutes and striker Sander Rõivassepp doubled the lead on the stroke of half time. Amor Luup pulled one back for Kuressaare midway through the second half but they couldn't find an equaliser.

Tammeka against Trans has been rearranged for Saturday 2nd June.  

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Flora win Superkarika - Flora 4-0 Trans

Photo: Peeter Langovits (

Flora won the first silverware of the season last night with a straightforward 4-0 win over Narva Trans in the pre-season Superkarika match. Flora only fielded one of their new signings - striker Aleksei Belov started up front, while the Trans line up was looking in need of some strengthening. They were only able to name four of a possible seven substitutes. 

Karl Mööl got Flora on their way on 11 minutes and Siim Luts doubled their advantage after 31 minutes. Belov opened his account for Flora with a nice dinked finish over Vladimir Malkov in the Trans goal. Markus Jürgenson then wrapped it up with a fourth goal in injury time to give Flora their seventh Superkarika.  

Interviews, pictures and Belov's goal can be seen at Sport.err.

Trans will hope to make amends when the Meistriliiga season gets underway on Saturday - they take on Tammeka, while Flora start the defence of their Meistriliiga title against Sillamäe.  

Monday, 5 March 2012

Superkarika - Flora v Trans - Tuesday 6th March

FC Flora and Narva Trans meet tomorrow night in the season's curtain raiser, the Superkarika, at the Sportland Arena in Tallinn (kick off 18.45 EET). Flora are involved as Meistriliiga champions and Estonian Cup winners and Trans as Estonian Cup runners up. Flora are also reigning Superkarika holder having defeated Levadia on penalties last year.

Flora defeated Paide 4-2 in a friendly on Friday afternoon, with goals from captain Karl Palatu, Aleksei Belov, Eron Krillo and Nikolai Mašitšev. This followed a 3-2 win over IFK Mariehamn of the Finnish Veikkausliiga the previous week. Flora's line ups have been varied throughout their pre-season matches as they look to blend a wealth of new players with the existing backbone of last season's title winning side. They have a number of attacking options with the signings of Albert Prosa, Kaarel Torop (both from Tammeka), Martti Pukk (from Kuressaare) and the return to Tallinn of Aleksei Belov from SC Verl in Germany. Mait Toom and Stanislav Pedõk look to be contending for the goalkeeper's shirt. 

The Trans squad is looking a little thin going into the season as they will miss the goals of last season's top scorer, Aleksandrs Cekulajevs, who has moved on to FC Valletta in Malta. They do include two new African signings in their squad for tomorrow night's game - Irie Bi Sehi Elysee of Ivory Coast and Emanuel Mbia Ekobena of Cameroon - both midfielders. Trans's veteran defender Stanislav Kitto, still playing in his 40th year, is looking to start the season with a trophy: "This is a very important game for us. We have won the Superkarika before and want to win it again." Trans have won the trophy twice, in 2007 and 2008, since its introduction in 1996. Flora have won it a record six times.