Zenit 2-0 Tom Tomsk

The starting systems. Yuri Zhevnov in the Zenit goal had absolutely nothing to do, though was called upon during three occasions in the second half.

Two red cards, a goal disallowed just as play was about to be restarted, tons of show-boating, and a delay caused by excessive flare-smoke: all this, yet Zenit’s round 20 victory was still boringly routine.

In fairness to the visitors, Sergei Kornilenko’s recent departure and Artem Dzyuba’s absence was bound to prove blunting, and despite dropping points and positions by the week, Tom are probably content to write this match off.

Zenit didn’t exactly ooze class, but showed and used it at the right moments. Their two goals owed more to defensive mishaps, but as both came in the first half, they were able to play the second period in lesser gears.

Luciano Spalletti’s side boast an enviable quality of appearing to park the bus, only to dupe us all and illustrate their stranglehold on the game by launching unstoppable counter-attacks.

Both sides started with what were effectively 4-4-1-1 formations. However, Zenit’s was more potent in attack, fluid, and sharper on the break. Continue reading

Spartak Moscow 4-2 Tom Tomsk

Spartak Moscow 4-2 Tom Tomsk, Round 18 (21/08/2010). Tom sought to congest the centre, and by ensuring their banks were kept close together, Alex had to drop away from Welliton in order to get a look-in. Thanks to Spartak's never-say-die momentum, the flanks became a lethal outlet.

This was an enthralling game that promised goals from the off, before literally slapping viewers around the face with them via Welliton’s six-minute hat-trick!

Overall, Spartak deserved the three points, though it’s a shame the away side’s club-captaining goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko was at fault for 75 percent of their strikes.

His side were 4-1 down until Sergei Pasyakov’s harsh injury-time red card allowed another Sergei, Kornilenko, to reduce the deficit from the spot: a task rendered unproblematic as Martin Stranzl was forced to don the gloves.

Referee Eduard Maliy perhaps felt he needed to make amends by awarding the Siberians a penalty – at 0-0, he awarded then subtracted a dot-shot to the visitors, bemusing all by replacing it with a drop-ball!

Spartak started in a manner suggesting they were still buoyed by last week’s 3-2 *away* win over Loko at the Luznikhi stadium – the same venue used to contest this game.

They made one change from that successful XI, incorporating newbie Dmitri Kombarov after his signing from Dynamo. Aidan McGeady, on the other hand, wasn’t even deemed fit enough for the bench. Continue reading

Moscow sides and Rubin trail Zenit

Followers of thermal-clad football rejoice – Russia’s Premier League resumes in full after its break this Thursday!

In spite of bidding to host its 2018 edition, Eastern Europe’s stellar division is ignoring the ongoing World Cup.

The RFUs calendar runs from March to December, and deprivation of fatigued South Africa-starring personnel could therefore impact on the eventual standings.

Overtaking leaders Zenit St. Petersburg side is a primary mission for at least five clubs during the second half of the season, with the recent UEFA Cup champions by far and away the league’s best side.

Defending champions Rubin Kazan began the campaign intent on escaping their (2010/11) Champions League group, and scooping a third successive title. Continue reading