Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday recap in week 7 of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week seven of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia got underway Saturday with CSKA, Dinamo and Lokomotiv lodging important victories.

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 CSKA Moskva 4
CSKA Moskva finally living up to its vast promise with a 4-1 devastation of host Sibir Novosibirsk. With the result, the Army-Men jump to the top of the table, whilst the Siberian rest at the polar opposite with a scant point to show for their efforts.

In the opening weeks of the campaign, CSKA have lacked the cutting edge and many have begun to question if all their off-season signings had spoiled the careful balance. Though they had plenty of attacking options, it was obvious they had yet to gel and talented playmaker Alan Dzagoev has played out of position. Concerned with his sides lack of output, manager Leonid Slutsky adjusted his line-up with strikers Tomáš Necid and Guilherme paired up top in a 5-3-2 formation to start. Mark González and Miloš Krasić started the day on the bench with Alan Dzagoev taking a centralist role, flanked by Keisuke Honda and young gun Pavel Mamayev.

Sibir, coming off a remarkable Russian Cup victory over Alaniya Vladikavkaz this Wednesday, were clearly motivated to lock down the Army-Men’s early advances. However, at the eleventh minute CSKA went in front 1-0 as Sergey Ignashevich capitalized on a defending flaw and slipped under his mark at the near post to head in Alan Dzagoev’s corner from the left. Sibir showed good spirit after the goal and did not back down. However, in the final strike of added-time before the break Guilherme accepted Keisuke Honda’s provision from the left and fired his third goal in two weeks to the far right corner of the net to get CSKA the 2-0 lead at the break.

At the restart, Igor Kriushenko’s side was greeted with rousing cheers as their supporters were appreciated of their sturdy efforts. Down by two, the Siberian tactician summoned Ivan Nagibin in for Aleksandr Antipenko to shore up his midfield. Nine minutes after the break, CSKA increased its lead as Aleksei Berezutski (Алексей Березуцкий) surged down the right channel before sending a cross from the by-line that Tomáš Necid turned in from five metres. Shifting into high-gear, the Army-Men were in front 4-0 with seventeen minutes remaining as Alan Dzagoev accepted the ball from Tomáš Necid as he surged through the right channel and scored from ten metres out. A minute later, Sibir gave their highly appreciative fans to celebrate as Tomáš Čížek fired a shot, albeit with a fortuitous deflection off Sergey Ignashevich into the net. While CSKA continued to pressure, the match ended without further mark and the Army-Men claimed the 4-1 victory.

Dinamo Moskva 1 Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast 0
Dinamo Moskva brought its five match winless run to an end with a 1-0 victory over Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast at Arena Khimki.

The start of the campaign has been a perplexing mix for the White-Blues as they have shown flashes of brilliance but had problems with finishing and only able to muster a single win heading into today's contest. However, the flourishing attack of Alexandr Samedov, Andriy Voronin and emerging star Aleksandr Kokorin has shown extraordinary promise and it was only time before they found the winning column.

From the opening whistle, it was clear Andrei Gordeev’s side were going to play a tough physical style as evidenced by Ruslan Nakhushev's take down of Aleksandr Kokorin at the second minute that caught match day referee Igor Yegorov in a forgiving mood. The early stages saw the White-Blues show quality pace and vision, with Edgaras Česnauskis and Andriy Voronin posing a series of menacing advances. Dinamo squandered a chance to take the lead when Aleksandr Kokorin accepted the ball from Andriy Voronin in the box with the youngster sliding it to the direction of Alexandr Samedov but it seemed to catch the former FC Moskva fan flat footed and he could not get a touch on it. The hosts continued to flourish however with each turn Saturn was up to the task and the match went to the break without a score.

At the restart, with their supporters in full song cheering "Dinamo", the White-Blues came out with a fire burning in their bellies. Prodding for the go-ahead goal Andriy Voronin got on the end of Vladimir Gabulov 's long ball but the Ukrainian international booming drive from just inside the area was stopped. At the seventy-third minute, Dinamo got the goal they were looking for as a corner from the right was headed on by Leandro Fernández, to which Alexandru Epureanu lashed it in from close range. The only dark spot of the affair for Dinamo was a disciplinary break down by Andriy Voronin where he received two yellow-cards in the final minutes, the last for a horrendous challenge of Pyotr Nemov. After two minutes of added time, the match concluded with Dinamo claiming the full three points with a 1-0 victory.

Lokomotiv Moskva 2 Tom Tomsk 1
In the final match of the day, Lokomotiv Moskva continued their dominating run at home with a 2-1 victory over Tom Tomsk.

In an exciting contest where both sides had opportunities to go out in front, the Railwayman were fortunate not to fall behind after bestowing an early marker upon Valeriy Klimov. The veteran was in alone on Lokomotiv 'keeper Guilherme but after a poor touch, Renat Yanbayev cleared the ball to safety and the deadlock maintained. Aleksandr Kharitonov later tested the Lokomotiv 'keeper before the hosts went out in front three minutes past the half-hour mark. Denis Glushakov, latching on to a loose ball drove towards the centre of the pitch and few metres outside the box sent the ball to the right inside post to give Lokomotiv a 1-0 lead. Just before the break, Oleksandr Aliyev surged from the right side of the box before cutting diagonally and firing his sixth goal of the campaign to the near post to give Lomotiv the 2-0 lead.

After the break, Lokomotiv tightened down the proceedings and rarely offered Tomsk the slightest space to operate. However, finishing was again the Railwaymen's issue as quality chances were unfulfilled. Tomsk's best chance came early when young gun Artyom Dzyuba was left unchecked at the back post on a corner from the left but his volley soared high. Two minutes past the hour, Tomsk manager Valeriy Nepomnyaschy summoned Alexander Prudnikov into the fray as he searched for the needed touch. Chances continued to be rare until the eighty-third minute when Belarusian international Sergey Kornilenko poached on a loose ball following a collision and fired it in from just outside the area. That would be as close as the match would get as Lokomotiv culled the visitors remaining advances and claimed the 2-1 victory.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 2 summary of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week two of 2010, Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign got underway with Spartak Nalchik claiming a 2-1 victory over Alania Vladikavkaz in a Caucasus Derby. The match served testament to the excitement of Russian football across the country as supporters from both sides packed Spartak Stadium in a highly vocal display.

Anxious to impress their home supporters after a disappointing nil draw to Anzhi Makhachkala, Nalchik went on the attack early. After forcing a top-shelf save out of Alania Vladikavkaz goalkeeper Dmitri Khomich at the twenty-first minute, fireworks in the stadium erupted two minutes later Nalchik took the lead. Getting on the end of a loose ball, Aleksandr Shchanitsyn fought off Georgi Bazayev before scoring his first goal in the top flight of Russian football with a dipping drive from beyond area into the back of the net. Nalchik continued to the press with youngster Nikita Malyarov shining. Four minutes shy of the half-hour mark Kazbek Geteriev whipped in a free kick to the back post that Vladimir Dyadyun narrowly missed with his header that went just a smidgen over the crossbar. To the delight of their travelling supporters, Alania stirred and came close to levelling a minute later as a corner from the right rattled around in the box before a blocked effort was cleared to safety. Yuri Krasnozhan's side continued to shine and just before the break went up 2-0 as Gogita Gogua latched onto a loose ball, feigned an effort twice before sending his drive past the outstretched reaches of the Alania goalkeeper to the bottom left corner of the net.

Nalchik showed no let-up after the break, narrowly missing putting the match out of reach only due to the work of Alania 'keeper Dmitri Khomich. After a number of chances came up empty, the visitors brought the match to within a single strike as Dzhambulad Bazaev converted from the spot after Vladimir Kisenkov was adjudged a penalty. Despite their efforts, Vladimir Shevchuk’s side were unable to level and match concluded with Spartak Nalchik claiming a 2-1 victory in the Caucasus.

Amkar Perm 1 Anzhi Makhachkala 0
In the opening match on Saturday afternoon, Amkar Perm lodged its first win of the campaign as they defeated visiting Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0. Coming off their unfortunate opening week loss to CSKA Moskva Rashid Rakhimov’s side had something to prove to their home supporters and they did not disappoint with a dominating, if not disciplined, display. Though the Red-Blacks dominated for long stretches of the match, the hosts who posed the first serious threat as Andrey Streltsov latched onto a long cross on the right channel before working his way into the area and firing a left-footed effort a few metres wide of the near post. Six minutes shy of the break, Makhachkala's Mahir Shukurov received a yellow for a stiff challenge Zahari Sirakov and after having words with the match-day referee saw a red pulled out. Forced to play a man down, the visitors did well to maintain pressure but with sixteen minutes remaining in the day Amkar finally broke through as Georgi Peev's cross from the right into the box was flicked on to the back post by Josip Knežević where Ivan Cherenchikov, controlled with his chest before volleying into the net. The balance of the match saw Amkar resourceful in protecting the lead and without further incident claimed the full three points with a 1-0 victory.

Terek Grozny 1 Rostov 1
Terek Grozny's home debut new campaign was spoiled by Rostov as they played to a 1-1 draw, honours even. With a sunny late winter backdrop, the Chechen side looked confident after last week’s victory over Sibir Novosibirsk. The celebratory fan-fare prior to the match, gave way to a superb, if not dominating performance. Four minutes after the opening whistle, Shamil Asildarov continued to his stunning goal-scoring run that started late last year with Spartak Nalchik. The twenty-six year-old striker notched his second goal of the year after being played through with a brilliant pass by Rizvan Utsiyev and sending his effort past Rostov goalkeeper Dejan Radić from twelve metres. The start confirmed Grozny's superb potential but following the early marker, they possessed the style but not the substance to add to the lead. Grozny had many opportunities to build upon the lead, including a Dmitri Yatchenko's seeing eye pass that this time the ‘keeper foiled Shamil Asildarov. That said, Rostov made the best of their rare opportunities and with nine minutes remaining in regulation time, Igor Lebedenko sent a cross into the box the was partially cleared to the left side of the area where Mersudin Ahmetović volleyed the ball to the opposite corner of the net to level the contest. In the hunt for the victory, Grozny manager Anatoly Baidachny immediately summoned Zaur Sadayev in for Maurício but the winning mark was not forthcoming and the match concluded as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Saturn Moskovskaya 1
Sibir Novosibirsk put forth a superb effort with a 1-1 draw with Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast in Ramenskoe. Coming off last week's loss to Terek Grozny, Sibir Novosibirsk manager Igor Kriushenko summoned veterans Aleksandr Shulenin, Aleksandr Degtyaryov, Tomáš Vychodil and Arūnas Klimavičius into the line-up. From the opening whistle, the Siberian's took the simple, yet effective approach of out-working their hosts. Denying any advances by Saturn, Siber took the shock 1-0 lead a minute into added-time before the break as Alexey Medvedev, at the back post, headed Tomáš Čížek's cross from the left flank into the net.

Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast manager Andrey Gordeev clearly had something to say to his side during the break, as they were a different unit from the re-start. Summoning veteran, Martin Jakubko, formerly of FC Moskva, into the proceedings, Saturn began to carve out openings. With Andrei Karyaka and Denis Boyarintsev at the wheel of the Saturn attack, Sibir 'keeper Wojciech Kowalewski earned full marks by keeping the hosts at bay. After stopping Saturn's Benoît Angbwa close range header, the Siberian goalkeeper was finally beaten with seventeen minutes remaining in regulation time as Aleksei Ivanov lodged his second goal of the early campaign as, at the back post, he headed Denis Boyarintsev's free kick from the right to level the match. With thirteen minutes remaining, Aleksandr Makarenko received his second yellow and like the opening week, Sibir finished the day a man down. Saturn pressed for the winner as the match was completely a one-way street in the remaining time and though Aleksei Ivanov came within a whisper of scoring, the match ended as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Lokomotiv Moskva 3 Kryliya Sovetov 0
In the final match on Saturday afternoon of week two, Yuriy Semin’s Lokomotiv Moskva devastated visiting Kryliya Sovetov 3-0. After last week’s late collapse to Rubin Kazan, it was clear the "People's Coach" had ordered up a response. With Dmitri Torbinski back into the starting eleven, after serving a suspension that carried over from last year, Lokomotiv went on the attack early and completely dominated their visitors. Attacks came quick and often and though finishing was off, with once again Dramane Traoré unable to close a number of fine efforts it was only time until the Muscovite's took the lead.

After a scoreless opening half, Kryliya manager Yuriy Gazzaev had to be pleased that his side somehow managed to keep the match deadlocked. However, that changed within a quarter-hour as Lokomotiv erupted with three rapid-fire goals. Four minutes after the restart, Aleksandr Budanov was adjudged a penalty for bringing down a Lokomotiv man in the area and the spot was pointed to. New arrival from Dinamo Kiev Oleksandr Aliyev, stepped up and without a splinter of doubt drove the ball to the back of the net. The Samaran's problems grew only as four minutes later Renat Yanbayev was pulled down in the area and once again, Lokomotiv stepped to the spot. On this occasion Dmitri Sychev, who otherwise shone brightly through the match, pounded the ball in to give Lokomotiv the 2-0 lead. Three minutes later, Ukrainian international Oleksandr Aliyev demonstrated his notable set piece abilities as from a free kick he hammed the ball over the wall before dipping into the net. With the match effectively over, the complexion of the match changed and though the visitors did well going forward they were unable to break through as Lokomotiv Moskva claimed the 3-0 victory.

Spartak Moskva 1 Zenit Saint Petersburg 1
Sunday afternoon in the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia opened with the bitter Russian Derby, with Zenit Saint Petersburg scoring a late goal to play bitter rivals Spartak Moskva to a 1-1 draw at Petrovski Stadium.

After a disappointing opening week, which saw they lose to lose to Dinamo, Spartak came out the aggressor of the two. Without the services of Cristian Maidana, Martin Stranzl and Nikola Drinčić to injury, along with Aleksandr Sheshukov under suspension, Spartak manager Valeriy Karpin summoned teen phenom Pavel Yakovlev, Renat Sabitov, Marek Suchý and Ari into the starting eleven. The opening quarter-hour saw the hosts overrun as Spartak surged forward against Zenit that was clearly on its back-heels. After an Ibson effort rasped off the right post, Spartak went out in front 1-0 at the thirteenth minute, initiated from an Alex from the left. The former Internacional sent his dangerous effort into the box that Zenit 'keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev tried to parry but got tangled up with Marek Suchý and the ball bounded just to the left of the goal. Welliton immediately sent it the back post through a maze of bodies and though Sergei Parshivlyuk may have got a touch on it before it crossed the line, the striker got credit for the score. Regardless of who scored, the shot across the bow was clear as Spartak had the lead. The goal seemed to wake Luciano Spalletti’s side, albeit slowly, who otherwise up to this point was terribly lacking going forward. Danny began to slowly turn the screw with flanking assaults and midway of the half he sent a cross from the right by-line that Spartak 'keeper Soslan Dzhanayev swatted away, only to see Roman Shirokov force him into a second save. From this point, the story of much of the match became Spartak's young keeper as he consistently denied Zenit's advances. Spartak narrowly missed doubling its lead at the thirty-fourth minute when Alex sent a free kick from distance but with a final swerve, it went a shade wide. Seven minutes shy of the break, Danny sent Vladimir Bystrov the ball from the left side of the area, via an overhead kick but the Russian international who had otherwise been unaccounted for, saw his close range effort saved by Soslan Dzhanayev and the match went to the break with Spartak holding the 1-0 lead.

At the break, Luciano Spalletti called upon Danko Lazović for Szabolcs Huszti as they looked for more production on the left and the Serbian international had an immediate impact. Injecting pace and vision into the Zenit attack, the hosts started to control the run of play. Fed through the left channel from Danny, he nearly opened his Zent scoring log two minutes after the restart but his effort sailed a fraction over the bar. Moments later, Zenit narrowly missed levelling as Roman Shirokov headed Danny's free kick wide right. In back and forth action, Spartak pressed for the second goal, with Zenit 'keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev making a brilliant stop of Welliton's effort. Seven minutes past the hour Vladimir Bystrov led a powerful surge down the centre of pitch before sending the ball to Danko Lazović, who then crossed for Aleksandr Kerzhakov at the back post but once again the Spartak 'keeper rose to the occasion to stop the chance. With ten minutes, remaining Alessandro Rosina replaced Vladimir Bystrov and as expected, the Petrovski faithful still have yet to welcome him wholly. Chances were sparse as time ticked down but with a minute remaining in regulation time, Zenit grabbed the equalizer to the delight of their voracious supporters. Coming from the free kick to the right of the box, former Torino-man Alessandro Rosina sent a low cross in the box that Belgian international Nicolas Lombaerts headed into the net. After four minutes of added-time, the match concluded as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Dinamo Moskva 0 CSKA Moskva 0
In the final match on Sunday, Dinamo continued their impressive start to the campaign with nil draw against CSKA, in the Moscow Derby at Arena Khimki. The score does not do justice to the White-Blues’ play as they controlled the majority of match, dictated the proceedings and greatly nullified the Army-Men’s attacking quadrant of Alan Dzagoev, Miloš Krasić, Tomáš Necid and Keisuke Honda.

Coming of their victory over Spartak in the opening week, Dinamo manager Andrey Kobelev summoned Aleksandr Kokorin into the starting eleven and the nineteen-year-old attacker was brilliant from start to finish. Pushing CSKA on its heels early, Dinamo posed a number of viscous assaults including at the twentieth minute when Aleksandr Kokorin laid the ball back to Igor Semshov but the veteran’s effort went just a morsel wide from twelve metres. Not deterred, the White-Blues tore forward with Aleksandr Kokorin sending a cross from the left by-line into the box that Kirill Kombarov re-directed off the bar from close range. Slowly, Leonid Slutsky's side began to show more confidence and just after the hour young Russian international Alan Dzagoev was played through by Miloš Krasić but saw his ensuing effort swatted away by Dinamo 'keeper Vladimir Gabulov. Six minutes shy of the break, Aleksandr Kokorin was once again at the root of Dinamo's advances, as his left wing cross to the back post saw CSKA 'keeper Igor Akinfeev maintain the deadlock with a superb stop from the resulting chance.

After the break, tempo slowed as CSKA looked to cull Dinamo's free ranging attacks. At the hour mark, Tomáš Necid sent an effort wide after being played through, only to see a reprieve via a late offside call. Quickly thereafter, Pavel Mamayev entered for Alan Dzagoev, who had lodged nearly nine kilometres at this stage. The Army-Men pushed forward with Miloš Krasić in a promising run but Vladimir Granat, who had just entered for Edgaras Česnauskis, made a brilliant tackle to halt his efforts. Pavel Mamayev's impact was quick as he sent a tantalizing cross into the box from the left wing that Tomáš Necid headed narrowly wide. Dinamo pushed back with Igor Akinfeev rising to the occasion as he defended an attacking onslaught following Luke Wilkshire's corner from the right. In the final ten minutes, Mr. Slutsky called Guilherme and Elvir Rahimić into the fray but Dinamo's resolute defending thwarted their efforts and the match concluded as a nil draw.

Still to play in a rare Monday afternoon contest, defending champions Rubin Kazan visit Tom Tomsk.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dinamo defeat Spartak in heated Moscow Derby

The opening week of the 2010 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign concluded with Dinamo edging Spartak 1-0 in an intense Moscow derby before a packed Luzhniki Stadium.

Though Spartak Moskva has been in the limelight as the top challenger to Rubin Kazan’s crown, Dinamo put forth an inspired performance that will have many wondering if the White-Blues could be the shocker of the year.

Dinamo Moskva manager Andrey Kobelev, bolstered with a revamped line-up that included Alexandru Epureanu, Aleksandr Samedov and Edgaras Česnauskis, all from FC Moskva, Igor Semshov and Andriy Voronin displayed a stubborn resolve and quality attacking vision. The best chance before the break came via Andriy Voronin, as at the thirty-ninth minute, the Ukrainian international charged into right side of the box before back-heel the ball to Aleksandr Samedov his effort was saved easily.

Both managers tinkered with their line-up after the break but the winning goal finally came at the seventy-second minute courtesy of veteran Igor Semshov. Latching onto the ball after a poorly cleared attempt on the left, Aleksandr Samedov moved to his right to the opposite side of the box. Distancing himself from Aleksandr Sheshukov his provision ricocheted off a Martin Stranzl, before coming off another Dinamo player and finally to the veteran to drove the ball to the far low corner of the net from ten metres. Alex nearly tied the match with a booming free kick but Dinamo ‘keeper Vladimir Gabulov fully stretched out to push the ball to safety. Spartak added Artem Dzyuba as an extra attacker, with Ari debuting for Krasno-belye late but neither could find a way through and Dinamo claimed the 1-0 victory.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Alania Vladikavkaz holds Saturn to draw

Alania Vladikavkaz, did well in its return to the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia, as they held Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast to a 1-1 draw in front of their home supporters.

Andrey Gordeev's side from Ramenskoe were without the services of injured veterans Dmitri Loskov and Marko Topić, but managed to break through ten minutes after the opening whistle as Aleksei Ivanov latched onto a through ball on the right channel before sending it to the opposite corner of the net from nine metres. Alania fought back and at the twenty-third minute the highly promising Yuriy Kirillov, on-loan from Dinamo Moskva, sent his long distance drive into the back of the net, via a fortuitous deflection off a defender and looped into the net. Urged on by their supporters, Alania pushed for the winning mark but the match ended without further incident as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

late show sends Rubin Kazan past Lokomotiv Moskva

The opening day showdown Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia saw between Rubin Kazan and Lokomotiv Moskva saw the defending champions defeat the capital city side 2-0 victory in a tepid affair. Along with the frozen pitch of Central Stadium and lack of full match preparedness, both sides fell short of expectations.

Rubin Kazan manager Kurban Berdyev, after a busy week that included a draw with Wolfsburg in the Europa League and the Russian Super Cup, adjusted in line-up with new-man Jordi, along with Vagiz Galiullin seeing a rare appearance. Notable play early on was rare, with a number of collisions taking its toll. Midway the half Vagiz Galiullin was forced out and Fatih Tekke was called upon. Lokomotiv striker Dramane Traore, was gifted two high probability opportunities but squandered both.

After the break, the match still lacked a cutting edge, until the final stages when Lokomotiv lost focus and allowed two late goals. With two minutes in regulation remaining, Andrei Gorbanets who had entered late for Alan Kasaev, gave Rubin the 1-0 lead as he sent a brilliant shot, with the outside of the his right foot, to the near post. As regulation time wound down Fatih Tekke surged down the right channel and sent a low cross that Aleksandr Bukharov turned in from close range to seal the 2-0 victory for Rubin Kazan.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Terek Grozny defeats Sibir Novosibirsk

Chechnya-based Terek Grozny spoiled Sibir Novosibirsk's debut in the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia with 2-0 defeat at Spartak Stadium.

In a hard-fought match, Grozny took the lead at the fortieth minute as Andrei Kobenko, controlled Hector Bracamonte’s volley on the left side of the box before deftly sending the ball beyond the outstretched hands of Sibir goalkeeper Wojciech Kowalewski to the far corner of net.

Grozny doubled the lead four minutes shy of the hour when Shamil Asildarov continued his goal-scoring spree at Spartak Nalchik last year as he nodded in a volley from ten metres out. Sibir showed no quit and looked to cut the margin in half but Aleksei Medvedev’s goal was marked off with a dubious, late offside call. The Siberian's saw Denis Bukhryakov harshly shown his second yellow card at the eighty-seventh minute but regardless of the questionable call, the day belonged to Terek Grozny who left Siberia with a 2-0 victory.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Sergei Kornilenko shines for Tom Tomsk

Unwanted in Zenit Saint-Petersburg, Sergei Kornilenko lead Tom Tomsk past Rostov 2-0 in the opening Saturday of the 2010 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign.

The Belarusian international striker who possess bales of talent, returned to the Siberian side only a few days ago after rarely getting an opportunity in Saint Petersburg. However, he quickly made up for lost time and rewarded Tomsk manager Valeri Nepomniachi, as well as serve notice to the football world of his talents, with two goals.

After a scoreless opening half, Tomsk manager ushered in twenty-one year-old Andrei Ivanov in for Aleksandr Kharitonov and only a few minutes later he set-up the go-ahead goal. From the left flank the youngster, on-loan from Spartak Moskva, set a low cross beyond defender Sorin Ghionea that Sergei Kornilenko showed his finishing skills making now mistake from six metres to give Tomsk the 1-0 lead. With two minutes remaining, the striker added his second, taking the ball off defender Dušan Anđelković, before surging forward and driving it to the near corner of the net past ‘keeper Dejan Radić to seal the 2-0 victory.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Anzhi Makhachkala impressive in draw to Spartak Nalchik

The 2010 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign for recently promoted Anzhi Makhachkala, got underway with an impressive nil draw against Spartak Nalchik nil draw before their hearty home supporters.

Despite the score-line, much of the match was a wide open affair with both sides not afraid to launch forward. Anzhi consistently displayed an impressive work rate and well disciplined defending in the final third. Nalchik's quality efforts before the break saw David Siradze and Kazbek Geteriev denied by Anzhi ‘keeper Ilya Abayev.

After the restart Anzhi manager Omari Tetradze called upon former Sparta Praha-man Jan Holenda and the host began to shown greater attacking vision. As in the opening half, both sides worked diligently to find the winner but it was not to be and match ended as a nil draw.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Zenit Saint Petersburg modestly get past Krylia Sovetov

The managerial debut for Luciano Spalletti at Zenit Saint Petersburg saw his side modestly defeat Krylia Sovetov 1-0 at Metallurg Stadion in the opening week of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia.

The former Roma manger utilized, as expected, a 4-2-3-1 formation with Konstantin Zyryanov and Vladimir Bystrov book-ending Danny on the wings, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov as the lone striker. Igor Denisov and Roman Shirokov were in defensive holding positions, with new addition Michael Lumb, Nicolas Lombaerts, Ivica Križanac and Tomáš Hubočan joining the back four in front of 'keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev. Despite the expectations that saw Zenit a heavy favourite, Samaran manager Yuri Gazzaev deployed a brilliant tactical plan that limited the visitors attacking efforts to a mere trickle.

Chances were rare in the opening half with the Samarans showing more initiative after the break. Four minutes prior to the hour Luciano Spalletti called upon for PSV striker Danko Lazović for Konstantin Zyryanov but Zenit were unable to unlock Krylia's compact defence. However, at the sixty-seventh minute Zenit lodged the winner when Danny was played through on a quick counter. Surging down the centre of the pitch, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov on his left, the Portuguese international moved into the right side of the box before driving the ball into the net past Krylia ‘keeper David Yurchenko from fifteen metres. Up by one, Zenit was comfortable protecting the lead as the Samaran's were showing little ability to generate the needed touch for the equalizer. Yuri Gazzaev, called upon Aleksandr Khramov for his debut at the eighty-eighth minute but after four minutes of added-time the whistle sounded and Zenit Saint-Petersburg claimed a modest the 1-0 victory.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Friday, March 12, 2010

CSKA Moskva disappointing in victory over Amkar Perm

Rebounding from last years highly disappointing results, CSKA Moskva President Evgeniy Giner ensured the Army-Men were well equipped for the coming campaign as they made a number of notable additions during the winter transfer season. Though few can deny the attacking firepower of CSKA, in the opening match of the 2010 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign, the Army-Men fell short of expectations and were fortunate to capture a 1-0 victory over Amkar Perm at the Arena Khimki.

Amkar Perm manager Rashid Rakhimov, deployed his side with a five man midfield, maintaining a tight, compact defence and did extremely well at squashing CSKA advances. The Army-Men, who had a fully fit Alan Dzagoev back at the wheel of the attack controlled long stretches of the match but were unable to break into the final third and offer up dangerous chances. In the fourth minute of play, CSKA won a free kick but new man Keisuke Honda thundered his effort into the wall and for the next quarter hour, Amkar soaked up pressure with ease. At the nineteenth minute CSKA began to show some inspiration on the left flank as Miloš Krasić tried to play Alan Dzagoev through, though his pass was too heavy and shortly thereafter Mark González's cross from the left wing cross was beyond the outstretched foot of Tomáš Necid. Near the half hour, Amkar threatened modestly but CSKA 'keeper Igor Akinfeev easily turned aside those advances and the match went to the break without a score.

After the restart, the match was grinding down slowly as Amkar was satisfied with absorbing pressure and CSKA, with all its firepower, was unable to turn the key. CSKA was clearly getting frustrated with their inability to break the deadlock and Alan Dzagoev, who was yellow-carded in the opening-half due to poor challenge, was fortunate not to be sent off. Four minutes past the hour, Tomáš Necid, who as of this stage was well controlled by Amkar, received a yellow-card for a obvious handball when he re-directed a Miloš Krasić free kick into the net. With four minutes left in regulation time Pavel Mamayev toppled Georgi Peev, resulting in a shoving match and both players plus Vasili Berezutski who joined in on the fracas, shown yellow-cards for the lack of discipline.. With match seemingly headed for a draw, CSKA struck gold in the second minute of added-time as Guilherme, who had entered for Mark González at the eightieth minute, got on the end of a loose ball at the top left side of the area and unleashed his effort that bounded off the ankles of Martin Kushev to the right. Coming directly to Tomáš Necid, the young striker immediately drove the ball towards the goal but after careening off Mitar Novaković, came to the back post where Keisuke Honda volleyed the ball in for the 1-0 lead. Finally, after six minutes of added-time, the match concluded with CSKA Moskva claiming the full three points with a 1-0 victory.

For CSKA, the victory will be received with trepidation. While the three points are naturally welcomed, there are many questions posed of the high-flying attack that was so easily grounded. Given that FIFA has agreed to push back the transfer deadline for Russian clubs to 8 April, the question is whether Evgeniy Giner will look to tinker with his line-up or give them more time to gel.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

week 1 preview of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

The day is quickly approaching the all fans welcome as the start of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia is upon us. It has been a long three-plus months since Rubin Kazan was crowned champions for the second consecutive period, with many trials, that includes the difficult loss of FC Moskva due to financial collapse but the domestic game has come out rock solid strong.

Kurban Berdyev's Rubin Kazan has adjusted with the loss of striker Alejandro Domínguez to Valencia with the addition of Fatih Tekke from Zenit Saint Petersburg but otherwise been quiet compared to his competition. Last year the manager was brilliant in juggling his line-up but Rubin faces considerable challenges with heavier competition as well as pushing deeper into the Europa League. Rubin's week one test will be no less than Yuriy Semin's Lokomotiv Moscow on Sunday, who is a dark-horse candidate to crash into the top three.

Last years most disappointing side, CSKA Moscow, open up the Russian season at Luzhniki Stadium against Amkar Perm on Friday. The Army-Men were plagued with tactical problems under then-manager Zico and after failings with Juande Ramos came on late once Leonid Slutsky was handed the reigns. CSKA unquestionably were the star of the winter signing market, adding Japanese international Keisuke Honda from VVV-Venlo, Seydou Doumbia from Young Boys and reliable young defender Kirill Nababkin. Though Daniel Carvalho and Vágner Love have been loaned out and unlikely to return to Moscow, the Army-Men have plenty of firepower, including Serbian superstar Miloš Krasić, Mark González, Tomáš Necid, Pavel Mamaev and playmaker Alan Dzagoev. If there is a chink in CSKA's armour, it is within defending and they will need Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutskiy to have banner years if they are to claim the championship.

Finishing second last year was Spartak Moscow, led by young virtuoso Valeriy Karpin. At only forty-one years of age, he led the Krasno-belye in a manner with flourish and restored a sense of youthful swagger to the attack. Resurrecting visions of the legendary Oleg Romantsev, Spartak rebounded under the new leader with scoring machine Welliton terrorizing the opposition. Along with teen protégé's Pavel Yakovlev and Jano Ananidze, as well as exciting winger Alex, Spartak added Ari along with the return Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Prudnikov from loan. Possibly the most important additions to the Spartak line-up will shore up defending with Marek Suchý on loan from Slavia Praha and Nikola Drinčić from Amkar Perm. Week one for Spartak opens with a Moscow derby on Sunday as they go up against Dynamo.

Any mention of the 2009 Russian campaign contains a special chapter wholly dedicated to Anatoli Davydov. Starting with his extraordinary career for Zenit Leningrad, through to his coaching career, he took over from Dick Advocaat in August and quickly pushed his side into a third place finish. With former Roma manager Luciano Spalletti now in-charge, Zenit has re-tooled its line-up with Aleksandr Kerzhakov returning from Dynamo, Danko Lazović from PSV and Danish international Michael Lumb from AGF. Along with Vladimir Bystrov, Danny and Szabolcs Huszti, Zenit possess one of the most potentially powerful attacks in Russia and an immediate threat to stand atop the league at years-end. Zenit opens the campaign in Samara against Krylia Sovetov on Saturday.

Not to be outdone with managerial success stories of Anatoli Davydov, Leonid Slutsky and Valeriy Karpin, this past May marked the triumphant return of Yuriy Semin to Lokomotiv Moscow from Dynamo Kiev. Under Mr. Semin, the Peoples Coach, the Railwaymen were nothing short of brilliant in rising to the fourth spot despite a number of personnel shortfalls. Following the departure of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s to Everton, Dmitri Sychev and Denis Glushakov rose to the occasion and provided noble leadership. The addition of Wágner quickly proved to be a masterstroke with youngsters Alan Gatagov and Renat Yanbayev showing bails of promise. Should Peter Odemwingie continue to emerge as a goal scorer, Lokomotiv will threaten for a Champions League spot and to further their attack have made the brilliant addition of Ukrainian international Oleksandr Aliyev. Lokomotiv will be tested early as they visit defending champions Rubin Kazan on Sunday.

Targeting a top six finish is Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast, who soared once Andrey Gordeev took over from Jürgen Röber. Boasting a veteran line-up of Dmitri Loskov, Andrei Karyaka, Dmitri Kirichenko and Marko Topić the Ramenskoe-based side have made critical additions of Denis Boyarintsev and Martin Jakubko and more than capable of testing a spot in Europe. Saturn opens their campaign on Sunday against Alania Vladikavkaz, who replaced FC Moscow after the Citizens financial backing pulled out.

Dynamo Moscow return to the hunt for a top six finish after a disappointing last half of season that saw them finish eighth. Troubled with enormous series of injuries, White-Blues manager Andrey Kobelev did well to squeeze out results. Dynamo has quickly re-built their line-up this winter with the formidable additions of Russian international Aleksei Rebko as well as Alexandru Epureanu, Aleksandr Samedov and Edgaras Česnauskis from FC Moscow, Andriy Voronin from Liverpool as well as Igor Semshov from Zenit Saint Petersburg. Dynamo should not be counted out of winning a spot in Europe and start their season with a clash against Spartak at Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

Pushing to the upper side of the table is Siberia's Tom Tomsk. Valeri Nepomniachi's side returns savvy Đorđe Jokić but have scored tremendous coups this winter with the addition of Kim Nam-Il from Vissel Kobe and Belarusian international Sergei Kornilenko return to Tomsk, on-loan from Zenit Saint Petersburg. Tomsk has also added Moldovan Serghei Covalciuc and should not be counted out for top half finish. Tomsk opens the campaign on Saturday as they visit Rostov.

The winter months were a tumultuous time for Krylia Sovetov as they faced enormous financial hurdles to escape the same fate of FC Moscow. Faced with uncertainty to this day, manager Yuri Gazzaev faces a daunting task that is likely to be a week-to-week test. Gone are Jan Koller, Jiří Jarošík, Timofei Kalachev and Vladislav Ignatyev and the Samarans will need to be tactically proficient to squeeze out points where they can as their line-up lacks the needed pedigree. Yevgeny Savin will loom large in the attack with the highly promising Aleksandr Stavpets, who came over from FC Moscow. Krylia open their season on Saturday as they welcome Zenit Saint Petersburg to Metallurg Stadion.

Spartak Nalchik managed the great escape in 2009 with a stunning last season run to avoid relegation. Manager Yuri Krasnozhan faces a difficult test losing goal scoring phenom Shamil Asildarov to Terek Grozny along with Antonio Ferreira and Dmitri Yatchenko, without a great deal of incoming talent. Nalchik visit newly promoted Anzhi Makhachkala on Saturday.

Despite flirting with relegation, Chechnya's Terek Grozny should contest for a mid-table finish. With playmaker Blagoy Georgiev leading the way, along with veteran striker Hector Bracamonte, Grozny has the talent to shine. Anatoly Baidachny's side have unloaded Romanian's Andrei Mărgăritescu, Daniel Pancu and Florentin Petre and made the superb additions of Maurício from Fluminense, Hugo Báez from CSKA Sofia as well Spartak Nalchik trio, Antonio Ferreira, Dmitri Yatchenko and Shamil Asildarov. Grozny visit newly promoted Sibir Novosibirsk on Sunday.

After a brilliant fourth place finish in 2008, Amkar Perm went into complete free-fall before Rashid Rakhimov returned to manage late. Avoiding relegation with a careful crafted tactical plan, the Red-Blacks finished at thirteenth and will be looking for significant improvement, though they are challenged with financial limitations. The Ural side have brought in young Croatian star Josip Knežević from Osijek and Denys Dedechko from Dynamo Kyiv as well as bringing Nikita Burmistrov in on-loan from CSKA Moscow and Arthur Stepanyan return from loan assignment. Rashid Rakhimov has a brilliant tactical touch with Amkar and will be tested in the league opener against the Army-Men at Luzhniki Stadium on Friday.

Rostov edged out survival last year and to assist this year’s efforts have made considerable additions to the line-up that includes Sorin Ghionea from Steaua Bucureşti, Timofei Kalachev from Krylia Sovetov, goalkeeper Dejan Radić from Spartak Nalchik as well as loaning Roman Adamov from Rubin Kazan and Stanislav Ivanov from Lokomotiv. Manager Oleh Protasov, is no stranger to football aficionados of the Soviet Union and has a very capable line-up. Rostov is targeting a mid-table finish and opens their campaign on Saturday as they welcome Tom Tomsk.

Anzhi Makhachkala won promotion after winning the First Division. Omari Tetradze's line-up has been bolstered with the additions of Mitar Peković from Vojvodina, Jan Holenda from Sparta Praha and Todor Timonov from CSKA Sofia. The Dagestan-based side welcome Spartak Nalchik on Saturday.

Alania Vladikavkaz was the benficiaries of FC Moscow's demise and return to the top flight of Russian football after five years in the lower division. Vladimir Shevchuk's side have quickly stockpiled talent that includes Sani Kaita, on loan from AS Monaco, as well as CSKA Sofia duo Ivan Ivanov and Ivan Stoyanov. Vladikavkaz first test of the upper tier will be Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast who visits on Sunday.

Sibir Novosibirsk enters the top flight of Russian football for the first time in its history. Manager Igor Kriushenko will be significantly tested with his tactical approach as his Siberian side are lacking in overall talent and surprised many with second-place finish in the First Division to win promotion. Novosibirsk will need veteran strikers Aleksandr Antipenko, Aleksei Medvedev and Gennadi Bliznyuk to produce if they are to have a chance. They begin their efforts on Sunday as they welcome Terek Grozny to the chilly confines of Spartak Stadium.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yossi Benayoun deal to Dinamo Moska appears suspect

Though unconfirmed through Dinamo Moskva and other reliable sources, a variety of media sources are purporting that Yossi Benayoun will move to the White-Blues from Liverpool for a fee in the €8m. Whilst readers should cast a highly suspecting eyebrow at this rumour, as it appears questionable on a number fronts and appears to be more of the making of the press, it would be remarkable coup for Dinamo if it were truthful.

Moving past whether Liverpool would part with one of manager Rafa Benítez' most trusted players and whether Dinamo would invest so heavily in the market, the thirty year-old Israeli international would have a remarkable impact on Andrey Kobelev's line-up. After debuting professionally for Beersheba's THapoel Be'er Sheva in 1997, Mr. Benayoun quickly established himself as an attacking virtuoso with stops in Maccabi Haifa and La Liga's Racing Santander before making the move to the English Premier League. Joining Alan Pardew's West Ham in 2005, his vision towards the goal was proven out again and within two years joined Rafa Benítez' Liverpool.

Though some claim his slight of build is detrimental to boorish physical play, the Israeli captain is a technical gifted player in a classic sense of the game. His inclusion into the Dinamo line-up would immediately jettison the play of strikers Andriy Voronin, Fyodor Smolov and Aleksandr Kokorin.

Now, of-course, the true test to this is whether Dinamo is close to consummating this remarkable coup and unless rock-solid proof comes shortly, such rumours possess little fact and are merely a media creation.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maxi López departs FC Moskva

FC Moskva has announced the sale of Maxi López to Catania of Serie A.

The twenty-five year-old striker, a product of the River Plate system, arrived from Barcelona in August 2007 for a transfer fee of €2 million. Arriving in the capital city, the young striker made an immediate impact with the Citizen's, netting six goals in nine appearances, including a memorable three-goal performance against Amkar Perm. However, the following year saw productivity for the Buenos Aires native fall off before he missed much of the second half of the campaign due to injury. In February of the past year, he was sent on-loan to Brasileirão side Grêmio, where he saw his scoring touch. Rumoured high on the list of numerous clubs, including Liverpool and Lazio, he joins Siniša Mihajlović's Sicilian side in their fight to avoid relegation.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Has CSKA Moskva seen the last of Vágner Love?

Less than twenty-four hours after German media giant Bild revealed a deal was in place to send CSKA Moskva striker Vágner Love on-loan to Hamburger SV, Flamengo scored a stunning coup and bested the Bundesliga side’s efforts resulting the striker joining the Brasileirão champion through July 2010. The question now is whether Vágner Love has played his final match for the Army-Men?

Vágner Love came to CSKA Moskva in 2004 after debuting for the São Paulo based Palmeiras two years prior. In his opening campaign, he fit in well fellow strikers Dmitri Kirichenko and Ivica Olić, adding nine goals in twelve appearances. In the ensuing years, his abilities continued to grow the Army-Men, playing a key role in the 2005 UEFA Cup triumph as well as the domestic double mid-decade. In 2008, he career jettisoned forward with twenty goals in domestic competition, including a stunning seven markers against FC Moscow and Rubin Kazan in the final month of the campaign. The following year began with great promise with the hiring of legendary Brazilian Zico to manage the club but in direct reversal Vágner Love's production nose-dived. With rumours swirling regarding of the drop-off of play, he was returned to his native Brazil on-loan to Palmeiras, at that time through to July 2010, under the pretext to need to address personal matters.

Though terms of the deal have not been revealed, in particular if there is an option to sign the striker at the end of the loan, it is quite possible that CSKA supporters have seen the last of Vágner Love. In his formal presentation to the Rio de Janeiro media, the new striker expressed that joining the “rubro-negra” was a boyhood dream and the general proceedings seemed nothing like a short-term loan. Adding that paired with former Internazionale man Adriano, rejuvenated since joining Flamengo, the club now possesses one of the sports most powerful attacking units, he is eager to push the Brazilian side to greater glory. Such enthusiasm, though easily flamed in an opening press conference could easily been seen as a shape of things of come.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jiří Jarošík leaves Krylia Sovetov

With more than a hint of the same financial problems they suffered last year, Krylia Sovetov's line-up is facing a number of line-up challenges as they head to training camp on Monday. Manager Yuriy Gazzaev has seen Roman Shishkin, Ramón, Roman Adamov and Stanislav Ivanov all return to their respective clubs at the end of the loans and further lost Vladislav Ignatyev to Yury Semin's Lokomotiv Moskva, Vladislav Kulik to Kuban Krasnodar be be under new manager Dan Petrescu and striker Jan Koller to AS Cannes so that he can be closer to his family. Adding further to the manager's woe is the announcement, that Czech midfielder Jiří Jarošík has joined La Liga's Real Zaragoza on a free transfer.

Jiří Jarošík, 32, began his professional career for Sparta Praha in 1996, with stops in Slovan Liberec, CSKA Moskva, Chelsea and Birmingham City before returning to Russia in January 2008 as a part of Krylia Sovetov.

The Samaran side begin training camp on 17 January before taking part in La Manga Cup in beautiful Murcia, Spain in February. Haunting Krylia Sovetov is the same financial woes of last year and without any notable solution in sight, Mr. Gazzaev will need to scrounge for available talent, most likely in the loan market, with little to invest.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zenit Saint Petersburg sign young Danish star Michael Lumb

Zenit Saint Petersburg have made their first major move under new manager Luciano Spalletti with the signing of defender Michael Lumb from Danish Superliga side AGF Aarhus to a three-year contract.

The talented, just turned twenty-two year-old defender, debuted for Aarhus in 2005 and since amassed 115 appearances for his hometown club. Winning acclaim for his high level of play, well beyond his years, he has attracted the attention of some of the premier clubs in Europe and recently awarded with his first international cap for Morten Olsen's Denmark side.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

CSKA Moskva loan Maazou to Monaco

Looking to shore up their anaemic attacking output, AS Monaco manager Guy Lacombe has brought in, on-loan from CSKA Moskva through June 2010, Nigerian international striker Ouwo Moussa Maazou with an option to purchase for €5 million.

Les Rouge et Blanc have suffered through a problematic first half of the campaign, where their consistent defending has been derailed with the lack of attacking output. Mired at the eleventh spot in the Ligue 1 table, with only a single win in the last eight encounters, attacking venom is priority one in the winter transfer season. In bringing in the twenty-one year-old striker, they have done well to solve one aspect of the problem as they immediately inject a player into the line-up with superb pace and a good eye for the goal.

For CSKA, the early transfer season has seen then solidify club president Evgeniy Giner's mandate to build a potent side, capable of winning the domestic crown as well as challenging on the European stage. Amongst a number of lesser moves, the Army-Men have added premier talents Keisuke Honda from VVV-Venlo and Côte d'Ivoire striker Seydou Doumbia. CSKA return to play in the Champions League round of sixteen as they welcome La Liga side Sevilla to Luzhniki Stadium on 24 February.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Saturday, January 9, 2010

arrival of Andriy Voronin signals departure of Aleksandr Kerzhakov from Dinamo Moskva

As previously reported, English Premier League side Liverpool have formally announced the sale of striker Andriy Voronin to Dinamo Moskva for €2 million. In a brief statement, Liverpool noted that, "paperwork for the deal (is) set to be completed over the weekend".

The journey to the Russian capital marks a fresh start for Andriy Voronin after an unsuccessful run at Anfield. Arriving in February 2007 from Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the thirty-year-old Ukrainian international rarely found his goal-scoring form and subsequently written out of manager Rafa Benítez's plans. However, with the "White-Blues" he will be immediately be ushered into Andrey Kobelev's starting eleven, who equally feature the rapidly emerging teenage stars Fyodor Smolov and Aleksandr Kokorin.

The arrival of the new Dinamo striker surely marks the departure of Russian international Aleksandr Kerzhakov, with most suspecting he will return to Zenit Saint Petersburg where is playing career started, though neither club or player have publicly commented. Presuming new Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti sticks to the tactical styling whilst leading Roma, the new man will feature as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Additionally the arrival of Aleksandr Kerzhakov in Saint Petersburg will cause Zenit to back off from a potential move on Roman Pavlyuchenko, presently looking for a route from Tottenham. Though Spartak Moskva is still actively pursuing his return to the Krasno-belye, the Tottenham asking price, said to be no less than £11 million is beyond their ceiling.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
All rights reserved

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Andriy Voronin set to replace Aleksandr Kerzhakov at Dinamo Moskva

After a disappointing second half of the recent campaign that resulted them shut out of European competition with an eighth place finish, Dinamo Moskva are rumoured to be hot on the trail of Ukraine striker Andriy Voronin.

The thirty-year-old Odessa native, who has made stops with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mainz, Köln and Bayer 04 Leverkusen before joining English Premier League side Liverpool in the summer of 2007, is widely accepted on his way out of Anfield. After a fine start with Liverpool his production waned and quickly saw his appearances dwindle. Following a loan spell back in the Germany last year with Hertha Berlin, he has yet to be a factor in Rafa Benítez's line-up after return to the English side. As Liverpool looks to build up its coffers to finance the acquisition of Maxi Rodriguez from Atlético Madrid, Andriy Voronin is rumoured to be available for the £1.5m.

Dinamo manager Andrey Kobelev is also dealing with the delicate issue of striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who many suspect has played his final match for the “White Blues”. The twenty-seven year-old Russian international contract expires next year and considered to be the target of Liverpool, Hamburg, Lokomotiv Moskva as well as returning to Zenit Saint Petersburg, where his professional career commenced. As Dinamo opened its training camp on Monday, it was without the striker, further raising speculation he is not returning to Dinamo. Speaking to Russian media outlet Sports Express, he noted, "Dinamo gave me a paper that I can train individually till January 15. That was the decision of the club and that is why I did not attend the first training."

Furthering speculation that he is headed to Luciano Spalletti's Zenit line-up he added:

"Actually I was ready to arrive in Moscow by the start of the trainings and even bought a ticket. I am in St. Petersburg at the moment. The negotiations about my transfer are on their way. Of course I know what is going on but I will not give the details. I think everything will be decided very soon. And at the same time I am not expecting the verdict with a sinking heart. The process of talks is normal and I am ready to accept any result."

Prepared by J. Davies

Rossoblù outclassed by AC Milan

Serie A returned to action on Wednesday with the premier match between Genoa and AC Milan at Milan turning into a stroll in the park for the hosts with a classy 5-2 victory. With the result, the Rossoneri hold down second place in the Serie A table, a point above Juventus and eight points off runaway leader Inter whilst Genoa disappointing campaign sees them to the bottom half of the table, now in the thirteenth spot.

The Rossoblù welcomed new man David Suazo to the starting eleven, though they were without Raffaele Palladino, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and long term absentee Boško Janković. However Milan, who welcomed David Beckham back on-loan until seasons-end, were in complete control from the opening and sliced the Genoa midfield apart with piercing runs.

The thirty-four year-old David Beckham, pressed into a more attacking role with Alexandre Pato and Clarence Seedorf out with injuries, served notice that time has not robbed him of attacking ingenuity. The match started with the former England captain sending a seeing eye cross from the right to Marco Borriello but Genoa 'keeper Marco Amelia made a brilliant save to deny the striker from point blank range. The heart pounding start continued and two minutes shy of the quarter-hour mark Giuseppe Biava was adjudged a penalty for bringing down Massimo Ambrosini in the area. However, the Rossoneri saw their chance come up empty as Ronaldinho’s effort to his right was denied by the sprawling Genoa 'keeper. Despite the miss, Milan continued to pour forward in a relentless attack but after an errant effort by David Beckham, Genoa notched the surprise go-ahead goal at the twenty-fourth minute as Giuseppe Sculli crept in at the back post to head Rodrigo Palacio's cross. The lead did not last long as seven minutes later Ronaldinho converted from the spot after Massimo Ambrosini was tripped-up in the area by the Genoa 'keeper. With the match now level, there was no holding back Milan and seven minutes prior to the break, Thiago Silva latched onto a loose ball in close range before driving it to the back of the net.

If there was any talk of Genoa mounting a comeback after the break, that was put to rest three minutes in as Ronaldinho linked the ball to Luca Antonini who provided Marco Borriello the chance for a close-range finish, which he made no mistake to give Milan the 3-1 lead. Milan was running roughshod over the clearly outmatched Rossoblù and on the hour Marco Borriello made it 4-1 with a splendid volley of Luca Antonini's cross. Milan manager Leonardo ushered in underused Klaas-Jan Huntelaar into the match and after Marco Rossi adjudged a penalty for mauling Ronaldinho, down to the ground the former Ajax sharpshooter converted from the spot to make it 5-1. Five minutes later David Suazo notched a fine consolation goal for Genoa but that would not defer the celebration of AC Milan as they posted a confident 5-2 victory.

The Rossoneri return to action on Sunday, as they travel to Turin to face Juventus whilst Genoa look to regain their winning form against Catania at the Marassi.

prepared by J. Davies

Jermaine Beckford pushes for Leeds exit

Riding the crest from the shocking victory over Manchester United, Jermaine Beckford has formally requested a transfer from Leeds. The twenty-six year-old striker is without a contract at seasons end and sought after by a numbers of clubs, including Newcastle.

As per Leeds formal statement:

"Leeds United can confirm that Jermaine Beckford has handed in a transfer request. The transfer request was handed in on Dec 30. By handing in a transfer request it clearly indicates that the player wants to leave Leeds United."

With Newcastle the apparent front-runner, though still well off Leeds rumoured asking price of £3m, Mr. Bates and company are making it known that the striker will not come cheap, further adding in the statement:

"However, that will only be allowed to happen in the event that it is decided to be in the best interests of Leeds United. The best interests of Leeds United involve receiving both an acceptable transfer fee and securing a suitable replacement to ensure his departure does not have an adverse effect on the club's overall aim of securing promotion back to the Championship."

For Leeds, the situation is both a troublesome predicament as well as being inevitable. Jermaine Beckford has been under the looking glass for the last three campaigns and Sunday's performance against Manchester United where he not only scored the matches lone goal but consistently out duelled Wes Brown, reaffirmed the strikers desire to move to the higher ranks. Whilst speculative in nature, one could assume that he is looking ahead with his sights towards Newcastle's successful promotional bid, thus jettisoning him to the Premier League. That aside many will question whether the move on his part is shortsighted and like youngster Fabian Delph, who has rarely seen the pitch since moving to Aston Villa, he would do better staying the course with Leeds.

prepared by J.Davies

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fenerbahçe's interested in move to Spartak Moskva

Though unsubstantiated by either club or player, various news agencies are noting Fenerbahçe attacking virtuoso, Alex(de Souza), is jockeying for a spot with Spartak Moskva. As noted in Russia media outlet Sports Express, the thirty-two year-old midfielder who joined the Turkish side in 2005 after stops with Coritiba, Palmeiras, Flamengo, Parma and Cruzeiro in his native Brazil, is said to be anxious to join countrymen Ibson, Alex and Welliton in Valery Karpin's attack.

Rubin Kazan’s Cristian Ansaldi to join Manchester City

If rumours are accurate, Rubin Kazan’s Cristian Ansaldi is in route to English Premier League side Manchester City with a transfer fee in the range of €4.2m (£6m). Per Russian media outlet Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс), the twenty-three year-old left back, who as been highly sought after in the winter transfer market with Benfica, Real Zaragoza and Atlético Madrid vying for his services, will be the first major signing for new manager Roberto Mancini.

Monday, January 4, 2010

CSKA Moskva adds Seydou Doumbia

Further to CSKA Moskva club president Evgeniy Giner's promise to load the Army-Men with talent, the club has announced the signing Côte d’Ivoire international Seydou Doumbia, 23, from BSC Young Boys of the Swiss Super League. The signing marks the second major addition to CSKA’s line-up as they added Keisuke Honda from Eredivisie side Venlo on 1 January.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Leeds begins road back with defeat of Manchester United

Entering the day, Leeds United visit of Old Trafford to face nemesis Manchester United in the FA Cup offered a cornucopia of story lines. Yet in a magical moment that seems destined to live in the lore of Leeds, the troubled League One side rose up, against the odds and resurrected the hopes and dreams of its faithful for a gallant 1-0 victory over mighty Manchester United.

The fall of once great Leeds has been a tale that has been told countless times, a great warning for all clubs who suffer financial fallout as they tumbled from the lofty perches of the Champions League to the third division of English football. On the opposite side of the equation, Manchester United with its billowing hardware case and array of international stars, were clearly the heavy favourites of the day. However, as situations as these so often go, today was not one for favourites and predictable events, as Leeds found within their claret a bit a magic in route to the victory.

As the day began, Man Utd’s erstwhile leader, Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly aware that his opposition posed an eye towards playing David to their Golaith. Still with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov in the Reds line-up Leeds was dreadfully out-matched, on paper that is. Leeds, too their credit, took a noteworthy opening stance and pushing aside comments of more defensive approach and instead launched forward with the striking tandem of Luciano Becchio and Jermaine Beckford. Tactically the move seemed both noble as an aggressive stance but equally suicidal, as the third division side would be easy pickings for the hosts.

At the opening whistle, Man Utd showed a sense of belonging, if not belief that they would given their fans the victory they hoped for. Yet slowly the tables turned, just ever so slightly at first as the curmudgeonly Leeds eleven began to press forward. Then finally it struck like a watchtower bell at the eighteenth minute, the 74,000 were shocked as Leeds notched what would become the matches lone goal. Remarkably, in a week that featured the first Premier League match in which not a single player born in the England graced the opening line-up, it was Jonny Howson, the hometown hero who turned the screw. With a magnificent long diagonal ball, he found Jermaine Beckford who once again outdistanced himself from statuesque defender Wes Brown and after chesting the ball down, the striker slid his twentieth goal of the campaign under ‘keeper Tomasz Kuszczak. Man Utd rolled-up its well-appointed sleeves and went to work, intent on the equalizer and only moments later Wayne Rooney’s goal bound effort was cleared from the line by veteran Jason Crowe. The thin margin continued and with much talent at Sir Alex’s disposal, he summoned Ryan Giggs in three minutes shy of the hour with Michael Owen not that long after. Pressure ensued in the Leeds end but despite the many efforts, Leeds clung to the lead. As regulation time ended, young Aiden White, eighteen years of age and a product of the Leeds academy was called upon for Andy Hughes as the Whites desperately held the lead. Tension thickened with five minutes of added-time called, surely an equalizer was in the offing but heroics were in store for Leeds ‘keeper Casper Ankergren with a stunning match saving save in the fourth minute. With the final tick of the clock, the white knuckle affair ended and for the 9,000 Leeds supporters who had made their way along the M62 to the Theatre of Dreams, their side resurrected the glory of the past once more in the greatest of fashions.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

CSKA Moskva finalizes deal with Keisuke Honda

As initially reported on 21 December in Russian media giant Sports-Express, CSKA Moskva have completed the signing of Japanese international Keisuke Honda from VVV Venlo. Though no details of the transfer fee were released the Eredivisie side noted to UEFA that they were “extremely content with the financial outcome”.

Debuting for Nagoya Grampus of the J-League in 2005, "Keizer Keisuke", as he is known by Venlo supporters, moved to the Dutch side two years ago and has been sought after by a variety of top European sides given his eye for the goal.