Making his debut for World Football Weekly, Eziz Allamov reviews round 5 of the Russian Premier League season.
ZENIT 3-0 ANZHI
Two weeks is a long time in football, and it is particularly long when it comes to matters related to Russian football.
Between round four and five, Kerimov decided that the Dagestan club would have to change the course and, for this reason, most stars would be sold. René Meulensteen, appointed only 16 days prior to the events, was also replaced by Gadzhi Gadzhiyev.
The opening quarter of the first half was rather even with both teams creating some decent chances. In the 25th minute, one of such chances fell to Roman Shirokov – from Aleksandr Bukharov who, it should be noted, could have scored four or five himself – and he finished it smartly.
After the lead, Zenit were more than comfortable in possession with Anzhi looking even less promising going forward. Just before half time, Hulk, receiving the ball about 25 meters away from the goal, curled a beautiful shot into top left corner. Mikhail Kerzhakov didn’t move. Later on, Hulk had to be substituted for Viktor Fayzulin due to injury which might mean that the Brazilian could face a month-long lay off.
In the second half, the game slightly slowed down as Zenit, presumably, were trying to save some energy for the Champions’ League play-off tie against Paços de Ferreira on Tuesday. Despite that, in the 77th minute, the new signing from Rubin Kazan, Cristian Ansaldi – who was impressive throughout the game – finished the job with a powerful shot from the verge of the penalty box.
URAL 0-0 AMKAR
The first ever Ural derby in the history of top-flight Russian football will probably remembered more for what happened off the pitch rather than on it. Prior and after the game, the police reportedly arrested 72 supporters of both clubs who were involved in a fight – shamefully, a typical event at football derbies in this part of the world.
Most of the first half, the teams spent in physical battles without creating meaningful chances bar one: when Edgar Manucharyan fractionally missed the top far corner of Sergei Narubin’s goals in the 12th minute.
Ural continued dominating after the break. Yet again, the host were close to taking the lead as Aleksandr Yerokhin fired a rocket from approximately 23 meters but the crossbar saved the Yekaterinburg club. Already in the injury time, the Amkar goalkeeper Narubin paried Ural captain Denis Tumasyan’s header and thus secured a point for his team.
KRYLYA SOVETOV 1-0 TOM
Right from the very first minutes, the Samara-based team took the initiative and tried to stretch the guests’ defense. Tom were not particularly opposed to such flow of events and did not create a single goalscoring opportunity in the first 45 minutes.
Not much changed in the send half. The turning point, however, occurred in the 57th minute of the match – Krylya midfielder Ilya Maksimov was sent off for violent behaviour. Surprisingly, this benefited the hosts after which they seemed more coherent and were rewarded with a goal. The persistent Réginal Goreux sent an accurate cross from the right wing which found Ibragim Callagov in the penalty box who in turn buried it in the bottom left corner.
In the last ten minutes, Tom had a chance to equalise but Panchenko failed to redirect the delivery six meters away from the goal. The Tomsk-based club have had a dreadful start to the season, losing all five games in which they conceded ten goals while scoring only two and sit bottom of the table.
TEREK 0-1 LOKOMOTIV
It is probably fair to say that this game turned out to be the least exciting one of this round.
Traditionally, Lokomotiv have always been a bogey team for the Grozny club, especially at home where the hosts not only haven’t won but also haven’t scored in this fixture in last four years.
There were hardly any real opportunities to open the scoreline created during both halves and the game was set to finish goalless. But in the second minute of injury time the substitute Aleksandr Samedov converted perhaps the only chance of the game – firing an unstoppable shot within the penalty box – to win all three points for his team.
Interestingly, Lokomotiv haven’t won a game of football in injury time in almost four years (8.11.2009 against Amkar) but the new manager Leonid Kuchuk seems to have managed to install win-by-any-means mentality among his players.
CSKA 1-0 KUBAN
The current champions of Russian Premier league CSKA Moscow started the game very lively. The Militarians took care of the ball from the kick-off whistle and even managed to score an early goal – Ahmed Musa managed to lose a defender with a smart move on the verge of the box and powerfully struck the ball into bottom right corner in the 11th minute. The shot proved to be too strong for the Kuban goalkeeper Aleksandr Belenov.
Kuban had a couple of good opportunities to equalise towards the end of the first and start of the second halves. First, the star acquisition Djibril Cissé didn’t get enough power on his header and put it wide of Igor Akinfeev’s goals. Then, Ivelin Popov’ shot, defelected off a CSKA defender, was somehow saved by the Russian number one.
In the 66th minute, Seydou Doumbia should have wrapped up a deserved win for the Moscow club but after beating the last defender and Belenov, the Ivory Coast international missed the open goal.
Luckily, this had little implication on the final result which meant that Kuban’s phenomenal 19-game streak without a loss came to an end.
SPARTAK MOSCOW 0-0 RUBIN KAZAN
This was the first “home” match of the season for Spartak who will spend this term playing at Lokomotiv Stadium while their new venue Otkrytie Arena is in the building process.
The only genuine moment the home team had a chance to open the score happened when Denis Glushakov tested the Rubin goalkeeper in the 22nd minute but the right post came to the rescue. The guests limited themselves to counterattacks and were close to taking the lead when Gökdeniz Karadeniz’ shot under Makeev was put just wide.
The Spartak manager Valery Karpin attempted to refresh his team’s approach in the second part of the game with a couple of substitutions. And it seemingly worked – José Jurado hit the bar in the 64th minute. The Moscow club’s supporters also had something to cheer about in the 74th minute when the new signing, ex-Borussia Dortmund superstar Lucas Barrios came on for his debut.
Ten minutes prior to the final whistle, the Spartak centre-back Bochetti – who has now become a true leader of the team – received an injury, which will see him miss next six months of the season, and the Red-Whites were forced to finish the match in minority.
This, in turn, invited more pressure and chances to nick all three points for Rubin already in the injury time – but Iván Marcano’s header was saved by Rafael Carioca’s heroic goal-line clearance.
KRASNODAR 1-1 DINAMO
The home team kicked off the game with a clear idea what they wanted to achieve in the match that evening. As early as 9th minute, when Wanderson easily beat the experienced Fernándes on one-on-one situation and nutmegged Berezovsky, they took the lead. After that, the southerners had multiple opportunities to expand that lead – first, Márcio hit the bar, and then Wanderson chipped the goalkeeper only to marginally miss the target.
The first meaningful moment when Dinamo were close to equalise came in last ten minutes of the second half but Christian Noboa’s header hit the bar. A few minutes later, the 18-year-old Dinamo striker Andreuy Ponyakov scored his first ever Premier-league goal and thus made Krasnodar rue all the missed opportunities they had in throughout the match.
ROSTOV 4-0 VOLGA
This was the concluding match of the fifth round in which Rostov, in case of a win, would become the clear leaders in the league table.
Rostov had enormous amount of chances in the first half with Artyom Dzyuba and Jano Ananidze both looking very dangerous. The guests had only their goalkeeper Artur Nigmatullin to thank for keeping the score level.
This tendency continued in the seconnd term of the match – in which, according to the Rostov manager Miodrag Božović, his team showed the best football he had seen; Volga sitting even deeper in defence.
The active Jano was rewarded with a goal for his efforts when Guélor Kanga delivered an accurate pass to the six yard box in the 50th minute. Rostov were not prepared to settle just for one goal and twenty minutes later Timofei Kalachev, receiving the ball on the left of the penalty box, guided it to the bottom right corner to double the lead.
Five minutes later, Dzyuba, perhaps inspired by the player of the month award, scored his seventh goal in five matches with a header following a cross from Jano.
It only got worse for Volga towards the end of the game when Denis Kolodin was shown a second yellow card for a deliberate handball. The convincing win for the new league leaders completed the South Korean forward Yoo Byung-Soo, making his debut, in the 85 minute.
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