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.