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