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.
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