Russian Premier League – Week 21 Review

This week of Russian Premier League action saw plenty of missed chances for sides chasing a European place. The biggest match of the week saw CSKA Moscow host a Zenit St. Petersburg side that dismissed their head coach Luciano Spalletti during the week.

Late drama saw Ural come out on top in their relegation clash against Terek Grozny. 

Last week saw these two sides provide us with the most surprising results, Ural managed to defeat Krasnodar, while Terek defeated Spartak Moscow thanks to an early goal. With their tails up this was set to be an interesting tie. The first half was rather disappointing but there was a key moment just 11 minutes into the game. Kudryashov was given a straight red after an awful attempt to get the ball off Khozin, the Ural right back received the ball out wide and as he headed the ball past Kudryashov, the left back raised his leg, studs showing and caught Khozin in the head. Khozin was taken off shortly after.

The closest any side came to a first half goal was just before half time, Ural’s Gogniev struck the post with his curling effort which had Godzyur beat. It took 88 minutes before we had the first goal, a fantastic long pass from Koman found Manucharyan and the Armenian finished brilliantly, taking the ball down with his chest before firing across goal and in off the post. Terek were level 3 minutes later, Rybus’ freekick was headed straight at Zabolotnyi by Maurício but the keeper couldn’t stop the header from crossing the line. That wasn’t the end of things, just two minutes later Manucharyan grabbed his second and Ural’s winner. His low strike from the edge of the area took a deflection on it’s way in and sent Ural fans wild.

Rostov avoid slipping up against Krylya in a tightly fought game.

Krylya came very close to opening the scoring in spectacular fashion, Dragun scored an outstanding goal last week and he almost grabbed another this time out, his volley from range had Pletikosa beaten but his shot cannoned off the post, hit Pletikosa and unfortunately for Krylya rolled across goal rather than in. The deadlock was broken when Kanga cut inside and fired a rocket into the top corner giving Veremko no chance. Krylya pushed and pushed for a way back but they couldn’t find a way past the Rostov defence or Pletikosa. Rostov managed to double their lead with 20 minutes remaining, Djakov got above his marker to head Kalachev’s corner past Veremko.

Zenit’s first game since Spalletti’s dismissal saw them leave Moscow empty handed.

Zenit started the game well and the heavily involved Hulk came close to opening the scoring on the 13th minute, his strike from the edge of the area beat everyone but the post came to CSKA’s rescue. CSKA scored the games only goal in the 32nd minute, Dzagoev laid the ball off to Milanov and the Bulgarian unleashed a stunning strike which flew into the top corner, Lodygin in the Zenit goal barely moved and Milanov’s first goal for CSKA will be tough to beat. Just past the hour mark Dzagoev tried beating Milanov’s goal but unfortunately for him his long range effort cannoned off the bar. Despite having more possession Zenit struggled to create when going forward and their best chance of the second half wasn’t until the 86th minute. Anyukov’s cross found Rondón, who laid the ball off to Kerzhakov, who’s effort took a slight deflection which forced Akinfeev into making a great save. The perfect response from CSKA after their derby defeat and another game in which Zenit have failed to win, making it 1 win in their last 7 leagues games (12 in all competitions).

Kuban and Dinamo couldn’t be separated as Petrescu visited his former side.

Dinamo failed to build on their derby victory against CSKA last week, while Kuban failed to win once again, their last league victory was back in November. Kuranyi missed a fantastic chance to put Dinamo 1-0 up in the 4th minute, the German was played through by Dzsudzsák but horribly put his effort well wide. In the 13th minute Kuban had their own golden chance, a well worked counter attack found it’s way to Sosnin at the back post, but like Kuranyi he wasted his chance, blazing his effort over the bar. Just before the break Kuranyi made up for his early miss when he controlled Kokorin’s cross before making himself enough space to tuck the ball into the bottom corner.

In the second half Kuban got themselves level, Popov punishing Kuranyi after he missed another great chance. Bugaev crossed from the left and Popov pounced as the ball was left to bounce between two defenders. With their heads up Kuban pushed for a winning goal but it wasn’t to be for them.

Lokomotiv’s goalless draw against Amkar move them three points clear at the top of the table.

There was no surprise this ended goalless, both were evenly matched and both had the same thing in common, they struggled to hit the target. This was the only game which failed to produce a goal and it looked like both teams were happy to play for a draw.

Rubin bounced back from last week’s disappointment with a great display against Volga.

Marko Dević celebrates his first goal for Rubin Kazan.

Marko Dević celebrates his first goal for Rubin Kazan.

Rubin suffered a defeat last time out against Anzhi and they were hoping to recover quickly, so it was the perfect time to host the team with the worst defence in the league. Volga were on the wrong end of a 5-1 thrashing last week against Amkar and this weren’t much better. Despite having more possession than Rubin, they struggled to hit the target, the same can’t be said for Rubin. Dević opened the scoring in the 14th minute to grab his first Rubin goal, it wasn’t the prettiest but they all count. Karadeniz’s cross caused problems, Azmoun couldn’t make the correct contact, but it was enough to fall to Dević, his first attempt was saved by Komarov but the Volga keeper couldn’t stop Dević’s second attempt.

Rubin came close to a second through Azmoun and Navas but both chances were wasted, Rubin finally got their second just before the break with a beautiful team goal. Nabiullin found Karadeniz, he played it to Azmoun on the edge of the area, Azmoun produced a lovely flick to find Dević and the Ukrainian played the ball through to Torbinski, the midfielder comfortably stuck the ball past Komarov to grab his first league goal of the season. Rubin continued to look dangerous going forward despite taking their foot off the gas and they wrapped up the points in the 80th minute. Eremenko’s delivery from a freekick was a good one, Mogilevets was left all on his own but there was a stroke of fortunate about his finish, the ball hit his shoulder and looped over Komarov into the corner. Rubin switched off and a minute later they lost their clean sheet. Leandro’s cross was directed towards the back post, Rodić hit the post before Sarkisov smashed his shot past Ryzhikov. Alarm bells will be ringing at Volga as the sides around them continue to pick up points, while they keep losing them.

Krasnodar score late to save themselves from a surprise loss to Tom’ Tomsk.

Tom’ Tomsk almost got off to the perfect start when Panchenko found Ignatovich with his cross, Ignatovich chested the ball down but couldn’t beat Sinitsyn, the Krasnodar keeper managed to make a save with his feet, the ball creeping just wide. The rest of the half was all Krasnodar but they entered the break frustrated, despite all their good attacking play they couldn’t find a way past an inspired Vasek. Vasek’s saves paid off as in the 60th minute Tom punished the wasteful Krasnodar. A cross into the box wasn’t dealt with, as a poor headed clearance fell to Panchenko on the edge of the area and he wasted no time in drilling his shot into the bottom corner, becoming the club’s top scorer in the process. Panchenko’s goal woke Krasnodar back up after a decent spell from Tom and Krasnodar finally found a way past Vasek in the 88th minute. Mamaev’s corner was flicked on by Jędrzejczyk, Komlichenko then made a mess of his effort but luckily his shot went straight to Wanderson who controlled before finishing from close range.

Spartak throw away their chance to move into second place against a much improved Anzhi.

Despite their disappointment last week, Spartak had a golden chance to leapfrog Zenit and they weren’t far off doing so. Spartak took the lead after 20 minutes, Parshivlyuk’s cross found Costa perfectly and the Argentine brilliantly directed his header into the bottom corner well out of Kerzhakov’s reach. Jurado doubled Spartak’s lead 3 minutes later, Movsisyan found Jurado running into the box with a delightful backheel and the Spaniard found the bottom corner with the outside of his foot.  Before the winter break this probably would’ve been game over but a much improved Anzhi side continued to fight and they had a fair few chances before half time, both Bukharov and Smolov missed a handful of chances.

Anzhi were back in the game in the 52nd minute, Bilyaletdinov produced a lovely delivery from his freekick and Epureanu was there to head over Mitryushkin. Anzhi grew in confidence as the game went on and after plenty of chances they were close to falling two goals behind again in the 86th minute, Özbiliz saw Kerzhakov slightly off his line, his shot caught the Anzhi keeper out, luckily for Anzhi the shot also caught the post. Spartak made a mistake at the back deep into injury time and they were punished for it, Serderov came off the bench and he pounced on the loose ball, poking the ball past Mitryushkin, the keeper could only get a slight hand to it. That was Serderov’s first goal for Anzhi and I doubt the youngster will score many more important than his late equaliser. 

Spartak and Karpin part ways.

Spartak and Karpin part ways.

Spartak have had a disastrous return from the winter break, as well as a loss to Terek and the draw to Anzhi they also lost in the Cup against third tier side Tosno. So it came to no surprise when on Tuesday the club sacked Valeri Karpin as their head coach. Amkar’s Stanislav Cherchesov is currently the favourite to take over.

Goal of the Week

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