Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lokomotiv back to winning ways

After collecting just one point in the last two outings against Zenit and CSKA, yesterday Lokomotiv returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Tom Tomsk. Alhtough the score may suggest that it have been quite a closed match, this isn't true as Lokomotiv dominated much of the play and surely the margin should have been larger. Nevertheless a win is a win and credit much be given to the Lokomotiv attacking department as yesterday it functioned very well - actually, personally it was their best performance ever. For me, Aliev and Glushakov were the two who ran the show for Lokomotiv. While Aliev was at his usual best, with his pin-point passing and playmaking, Glushakov was industrious in the middle of the park. Apart of linking up well the defence with the attack, the Russian midfielder scored a real beauty - a reminiscence of his another beautiful goal against FC Moscow back when he still wore the number 58. Another outstanding performer was Maicon who tore Tom Tomsk defence apart with his agility and technique. One should also mention the improvement made by Sychev and Odemwingie, who actually produced their best performance of this season. Credit also to the defensive partnership who closed down the threat of Kornilenko very well.

As published in last post, Semin was unavailable to this match due to his one match-ban and thus his place was taken by his assistant Vladimir Maminov, who did a good job. For the first time this season, Lokomotiv's initial formation was left unchanged from last encounter, as the eleven who started last match, started against Tom Tomsk. This meant that there was no place for Dmitry Tarasov who was on the bench. Moreover Dmitry Torbinsky returned to the main squad and was also amongst the substitutes.

Back to the match chronicle - it was clear from way long before the match that the encounter against Tom Tomsk was never going to be an easy ride. Holding at bay teams such as Dynamo Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Zenit is no easy feat - nevertheless the Siberians done it. Actually Tom stood up to their reputation and within seconds Tom could have broke the deadlock. Poor decision making from Kornilenko saved the day for the Railwaymen. This was a sort of an alarming bell that we had to wake-up - to which Lokomotiv responded very well. As minutes passed by, Lokomotiv started to close up the whole Tom in their own half. Nevertheless the home team couldn't make the visiting keeper work as like previous matches, their final pass was lacking. Thus, Glushakov took the matters into his own hands and after picking the ball from the flank drove past three players and let an angled shot from the D which gave Pareiko absolutely no chance to arrive to it. Excellent finishing from the midfielder and what a goal!! Lokomotiv stadium erupted! Kharitonov, Tom's by far best player on pitch tried his luck to reply for the visitors but nevertheless it was the hosts that drew blood yet again. Sychev won the ball on the right flank and picked the incoming Aliev who after dribbling past a Tom defender drove the ball home to score his sixth goal of the campaign!! 2-0 was the score at half-time.

With both head coaches keeping faith in their respective eleven, Lokomotiv came out in the second half to put the match to bed. Actually within 2 minutes Sychev should have made them three as after some nice footwork from Maicon, the Russian forward found himself one-on-one with Pareiko and let a good shot to which the Estonian keeper was equal to. Minutes after Pareiko again denied Sychev with yet another good save. As minutes started to past by, the tempo of the game began to slow down, and actually Lokomotiv looked to sit at the back and operate on the counters. Actually soon the tiring Sychev was replaced by Dmitry Tarasov who in his few minutes on pitch shored Lokomotiv's midfield well. With the end approaching Tom looked out of ideas and still it was Lokomotiv that threatened - most notably Glushakov angled shot which the excellent Pareiko blocked down well. Nevertheless, an ingenuity from Guilherme gifted the Siberians a goal and a way back to the match. Fortunately there was no final drama as Lokomotiv held for an important victory which for sure ensure that the red-green will be going to Grozny on high morale. Video review of the match can be watched by clicking here.

Player Ratings
Guilherme - 5.5
Sometimes too much eager to rush out. Could have dealt Tom Tomsk's goal better
Kuzmin - 6
Good match from the fullback. Little culpable for the lack of communication with Guilherme
Asatiani - 7
Perfect match from the Georgian
Basha - 7
Classy performance from the Montenegrin. Sometimes came out with the ball very well.
Yanbaev - 6.5
Quiet evening for the Russian international.
Dujmovic - 6.5
Anchored the midfield very well.
Glushakov - 8.5
Ran relentlesly for the 90 minutes. His super goal was the icing on the cake of an excellent all around performance
Aliev - 8
Another inspiring performance from the Ukrainian. Scored what resulted to be an important goal.
Maicon - 8.5
A player likely to become a key player. Difficult to separate from Glushakov for the man of the match. Skillfull, with bags of energey, pacey, great work rate, good passing - what can you ask more from the lad?
Sychev - 7
True that failed at least one clear opportunity - but assisted Aliev for the second goal and gave the backline four no rest. It's only sharpness he's lacking as Pareiko should receive some credit as well for his block on Sychev. Other's drive similar chances to row Z.
Odemwingie - 6
Truly a mystery. Lacked the final pass but undoubtedly the player has the potential - truly don't know what's keeping him back....

Tarasov - 6.5
Was introduced to shore up the midfield and that's what he did
Torbinsky - N/A
Introduced very late in the game
Traore - N/A
Same as above.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Semin to skip next match

Following Loko's Yury Semin dismissal at the death of Lokomotiv's last encounter against CSKA, the 62 year-old coach will have to skip Lokomotiv's match upcoming match at home against Tom Tomsk. This because the rules stipulate that in the case a headcoach is dismissed, a one-match ban will automatically apply. In addition, the Russian Football Union also fined Yury Semin 60,000 rubles (equivalent to 1544 euros), 30,000 for the his dismissal and the other 30,000 for the fact that he left his techincal area. Just disappointing... I just hope that Lokomotiv doesn't suffer in his absence.

All the best Vladimir Maminov, the man expected to take over Semin for the match against Tom Tomsk. Recall that the match will take place next Saturday, 18.30 Moscow time, 16.30 Central European Time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wagner follows Rodolfo back in Moscow

Finally, the Brazilian duo are back in Moscow. Finally because it is evident that Lokomotiv are missing both the influential figure of Rodolfo and the creativity of Wagner. I'm of the opinion that the return of Wagner may also unleash Sychev again - who actually done very well in the last part of last season with Wagner assisting him. Moreover, the return of Wagner may finally relegate the uncomitted and often horrendous Odemwingie. Today I was reading some posts in and I read a comment which said that Odemwingie should be demoted to Lokomotiv-2 ... to say the truth it isn't a bad idea at all. Although Sychev is playing bad at least he tries, the Nigerian pitifully doesn't. Actually yesterday Sychev at the time he was replaced was the player which ran the most. It's true that I'm maybe being too harsh but truly enough is enough. Such players often disrupt the harmony in the dressing rooms and rarely produces something good.
Wagner, who unlike Rodolfo (who spent his time in Brazil) spent much of his time in Italy is expected to start training again in the gym before start training again with the main squad. Let's hope they come back as soon as possible!! Lokomotiv needs YOU!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lokomotiv score at death to hold rivals CSKA

Finally!! A first away point!! With 2 minutes to spare, Lokomotiv were looking of heading to a fourth successive away defeat, but, apparently Kuzmin had other plans. Out of nowhere the fullback popped up in the 88th minute and let a shot which gave Akinfeev no chance. CSKA players looked at disbelieve, Lokomotiv players were ecstatic - as their fans, who for much of the match outnumbered their counterparts in their support for the red-green. Credit to them!! Anyways with regards to the match, it was one of those derbies which failed to reach it's expectations. Most of the play was stationed at the middle of the park, and actually there were very few chances for both parts. Neverthless, CSKA looked a slighlty little more creative in attack as for another time Lokomotiv's attack failed miserably to function. Sychev is still far from his best while Odemwingie was once again really poor - his first half was disastrous as he almost gave every ball to his opposition. On the other hand, Maicon showed some glimpses of quality as he seemed to be the only Lokomotiv player to get past an opposite player.

For the match against CSKA, Semin welcomed back Aleksandr Aliev who skipped last match due to injury. Tarasov was suspended and thus Denis Glushakov started in his place. Tomislav Dujmovic completed the midfield. Following his poor performance against Zenit, Traore was relegated to the bench in favour of Maicon. Odemwingie started on the right while Sychev moved up forward as a lone striker. The backline was identical of last match - Guilherme started in goal.

The match started in a rapid way as both teams came out looking for an early goal to settle down the nerves. Unfortunately it was CSKA who broke the deadlock within just 7 minutes. Ignashevich played a long ball to Guilherme, whose literally forgotten by Basha let a shot which which came off the same player, took a strange trajectory and eventually ended up in the net. Guilherme had no chance. 1 - 0 for CSKA. Lokomotiv's response took as long as ten minutes as Aliev from an ideal position crashed his freekick onto the crossbar. Soon after CSKA made it 2 - 0 but the goal was rightly ruled out as Guilherme seemed to be centremetres offside. Lokomotiv tried to reply, but although they had a good share of the possesion, Lokomotiv were unable to reach Akinfeev's goal. And eventually it was CSKA who threatened again as Chidi Odiah's was well parried away by the diving Guilherme. 1 - 0 was the score at the half-time.

The second half started the way the first ended. CSKA were happy to let Lokomotiv take the iniative and operate on the counter. Nevertheless Lokomotiv were literally toothless in attack- and actually although enjoying the much of possesion Lokomotiv failed miserably to threathen Akinfeev. Lokomotiv looked resigned and CSKA looked confident of heading home with the three points. However Oleg Kuzmin had other plans. Traore shielded the ball to Kuzmin, who after finding himself in the opposition's area, stormed into CSKA area's and let an angled shot onto the net, with the ball hitting the post on its way in. Simply a finish which the bunch in attack would dream of! Good goal from a player who probably had the best match of the season. There was no other final drama apart from the sending off of Yury Semin who was infuriated for the fact that the referee took no action for an elbow in the direction of Aliev. 1-1 was the final score - much to delight of the visiting crowd.

Player Ratings:
Guilherme - 6
No chance with the goal. Made nothing wrong.
Kuzmin - 7.5
Lokomotiv's best player on pitch. Kept Mark Gonzalez very quiet and then popped up to score a valuable equaliser.
Asatiani - 6.5
Composed as ever
Basha - 6
A pity, truly. The big defender rarely put a wrong foot in a whole match but unfortunately he seems that at times he suffer from a lapse of concentration - as the one it lead to the goal. Unlucky.
Yanbaev - 6.5
Neutralised Krasic threat very well.
Dujmovic - 6.5
Won some balls in the middle
Aliev - 7
Hit the post with a freekick. An influential figure for Lokomotiv.
Glushakov - 6
Ran relentlesly over the park
Odemwingie - 4.5
Was he wearing an invisible CSKA kit in the first half? Slighlty better in the second but nowhere to level to a player who is believed of being paid 3.5 million a year. The earlier he leaves the better - no longer comitted
Sychev - 5.5
Lacking fitness and yesterday service as well.
Maicon - 7
Good with the ball at his feet and forced the CSKA defenders to foul him. Sometimes tracked back to give a hand to the defensive department.

Traore - 6
His contribution was shielding the ball to provide the opportunity to Kuzmin to score.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lokomotiv looking to ... Belletti

According to Russian portal, Lokomotiv are interested in the signature of Brazilian wingback Juliano Belletti. Belletti, who is 33 years old, currently plays for Chelsea. However with his contract expiring next June and Chelsea unlikely to offer him a new contract it is highly likely that the Brazlian will be leaving Stamford Bridge next summer and thus Lokomotiv are ready to pounce on. The report continues by claiming that Lokomotiv are ready to offer him a wage equivalent to the one he earns in London. Obviously given that he will be a free agent, should he join Lokomotiv, we won't pay any fee for his transfer.

Belletti, who have 23 international caps and 2 international goals to his name started his career with Cruizeiro before moving on to Sao Paulo. The other clubs he turned for are Atletico Mineiro, Vilarreal, Barcelona and of course Chelsea.

It is thoughted that Belletti is unsure where his future lies and thus he is open for any negotiations.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lokomotiv extend away losing streak

3 away matches, 3 loses. 1 goal scored, 5 goals against. For any reason not a ratio which a team looking to win a championship should aim for - and for sure to date no club won a league with goals coming from midfielders and defenders. This is because, 5 matches in and apart of the penalty scored by Sychev, Odemwingie and Traore have yet to score. Really poor. Nevertheless with regards to the latter you can't really blame him. How an earth a towering striker can score when you've got a winger in the form of Odemwingie who isn't able to decently deliver in an ordinary dead ball let alone cross in open play!! Sorry mate, your time is truly up!!! It's clear that the World Cup is the only thing he is thinking of!! Too much is too much!!! Undoubtedly a 16 year old would do better!! It's true that I am writing harsh words but few of the true Lokomotiv fans would disagree with the me on the matter!! Another massive disappointment for Lokomotiv was the loss of Aliev to an injury. With him on pitch I am pretty sure that we would have never lost against Zenit. For the fifth time running Sychev disappointed again - I just hope that he finds his form and fitness as soon as possible because we are suffering a lot to construct a decent attack. On the other hand, a positive thing from today's encounter was Maicon, who in the minutes afforded showed that he can be a pretty good signing for Lokomotiv. His speed is second to none, have good control and is eager to help his teammates at the back - Truly encouraging!! Anyways the final score was 1-0 and to add insult to injury, Tarasov was sent off and thus he will sorely miss the next tie away to CSKA - let's hope Charles fill up his boots as Tarasov was immense to date - today no different!! Another bright spot was Glushakov who apart of showing Mr Peter Osaze how to deliver in a decent set piece, the lad brought in a much needed new lease of life in Lokomotiv's final third.

With, as aforementioned, Aliev missing and a difficult task to hold Zenit's attacking trio of Lazovic, Danny and Bystrov Semin employed three defensive midfielders and changed his formation from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 one. Actually for the first time in the season, Charles, Dujmovic and Tarasov were employed simultaneously at the centre of the park. The backline and the keeper were identical of last week while in attack Sychev and Odemwingie, who played in a wide position had the mission (which they failed miserably) to assist (the often lonely) Traore.
From the first minutes of encounter, Zenit came out stronger and eventually forced Lokomotiv to show their inability to connect their defensive midfield with the attack. Nevertheless it was Lokomotiv that threatened as on the stroke of 15 minutes Sychev forced Malafeev into making a difficult save as his first-touch goal bound effort brought out the best of Malafeev. Minutes later, on the other end, Vladimir Bystrov drove past Sychev and let in a shot to which Guilherme was equal to. Nevertheless, other than a Kerzhakov effort the first half offered nothing more and the ref sent both teams to the dressing rooms with either team have yet to score. Clearly Zenit were better than their counterparts as for most of the match Loko's attack was literally inexistent.

For the second period, with Charles yellow carded and reprimanded, Syomin decided to withdraw the Brazilian for Denis Glushakov. Nevertheless Zenit were determined to continue where they left in the first half and actually in the opening five minutes the club from Saint Petersburg came close not less than three times, with Bystrov coming the closest as having only the keeper to beat he sent the ball into Row Z. Nevertheless within minutes, Zenit were ahead through the same player. Kerzhakov raced down the left and let a cross which found Bystrov, who unmarked bundled home to sent the home crowd (?) into "raptures". Loko coach responded immediately by withdrawing the isolated Traore for Maicon. The move seem to pay dividends as from Maicon first touch it seemed clear that his technical ability is superior's to Odemwingie and actually did what the Nigerian wasn't able to - that is dribble past a player. On the hour mark Lokomotiv nearly silenced the home crowd as from nowhere, Yanbaev mishit cross hit the crossbar and bounced out. Some minutes after Lokomotiv came close again as Sychev's header went just inches above the crossbar. With Zenit parking the bus in their half it was clear that there was no way back for Lokomotiv and eventually the only final drama was Tarasov's second booking which means that he will be suspended for the next match. Huge loss to say the least. 1-0 for Zenit the final score.

Player Ratings
Guilherme - 6
Nothing to do with the goal. Delivered the ball very well
Kuzmin - 6
Did no mistakes and on the day was more an attacking threat than his mate on the other flank
Asatiani - 6.5
Composed and consistent as ever.
Basha - 5.5
Some hesitant decisions spoiled what was otherwise a strong showing
Yanbaev - 6
Failed to close down Bystrov's threat. Nevertheless nearly scored one hell of a lucky goal.
Dujmovic - 5.5
Failed miserably to impose any authority in the midfield. Lost some balls too.
Tarasov - 5.5
The best of the pack in the middle. Ruined his match with a late tackle which got him sent off and eventually sit off the next important fixture against CSKA.
Charles - 5.5
His match lasted only 45 as he looked a likely candidate for a red card. Lucky to end the first half.
Odemwingie - 4.5
A poor rating thanks to his outrageous delivery. Didn't get a single one well!! Without words.
Sychev - 5.5
Poor yet again. Unsurprisingly withdrawn late in the match. The most dangerous Loko player on the day
Traore - 5.5
Lacked decent service and was too isolated. Unsettled Zenit's defence.

Glushakov - 6
Done a little bit better than the man he replaced. Decent delivery.
Maicon - 7
My question is - why didn't he started the match? The lad is very talented! Encouraging showing!
Smolnikov - N/A
No time to impress.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Aliev double paves the way for a laboured victory!

What a match my friends! And what a performance from Aliev!! After starting on the wrong foot, Lokomotiv managed to respond and eventually run out 3-2 winners against a very strong Dynamo side. As expected, it was a laboured win - a win which remained in the balance till the very last second of the match. How wrong was the commentator who declared the match over as Tarasov netted in the third! Although Kombarov gave the visitors hope with a 87 minute penalty there was no final drama as Lokomotiv held firm to bring home the precious 3 points. As the title and the introduction suggests, Aliev ran the show for Lokomotiv. Man of the match. Apart of starting the most of home side moves, Aliev charged his troops as first netted the equaliser through a perfect volley and then delivered home a trademark freekick. However, if Aliev was key in offence, Tarasov was key in defence. Once again the former Citizen was immense in the middle and together with Dujmovic bossed the middle of the park for the best periods of the match. Another one who impressed was Malkhaz Asatiani who had a good match at the back.

For the match against the former KGB club, Yury Semin made 3 changes from last encounter. While the backline was left unchanged, Tomislav Dujmovic regained his place in the line-up at the expense of Charles. Tarasov partnered the big Croation in the middle while Odemwingie, Aliev and Sychev assisted the returning Traore in attack. As the line-up suggests Semin kept his 4-2-3-1 formation. Unfortunately there was no place for Torbinsky who was demoted to the youth squad in order to regain his confidence.

The match started with a minute of silence in homage of those killed in the terrorist attacks this week. From this blog, I would like to offer my condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed, Rest in Peace. As agreed between the two sets of fans, in another act of homage to those who lost their lives, the first ten minutes of the match were played in total silence. Amazing act of solidarity - never seen something similar. Credit to all the fans who put aside their differences and believes and joined the forces to pay a deserved tribute to the unlucky 40 who lost their lives. Back to the chronicle, as last week, Lokomotiv came out stronger but weren't the first to draw blood. After that Aliev and Asatiani threatened Gabulov, Dynamo scored with their first real opportunity. A good cross the left evaded both Basha and Guilherme and from just 2 metres Voronin headed home to open his account for Dynamo. Lokomotiv failed to response, worser they were ineffective in attack and shaky in defence. Neverthless, from no where Aliev brought the home team level. An unharmful cross from the Kuzmin was dealt badly by Kolodin and presented an opportunity to Aliev who eventually made no mistake and volleyed home the equaliser. One-all was the score at half-time.

Bouyed by Aliev equaliser, Lokomotiv came out stronger in the second half, yet it was Dinamo that again threatened through a freekick of Samedov which Guilherme tipped over with some difficulty. With nearly 20 minutes remaining, Lokomotiv were awarded in an Aliev-position. The same Aliev stepped in and let a beauty into the net. Lokomotiv stadium erupted! From then on, Lokomotiv looked to have relaxed a little and thus Semin threw Smolnikov in the place of Traore. Aliev soon followed Traore and Charles took his place. The latter, being just few minutes on pitch soon threatened as his curling shot brought out the best of Gabulov. From the resulting corner Tarasov headed home for his first ever Lokomotiv goal. Barely a minute had passed and the two-goal cushion was again reduced to one as Dynamo were awarded a generous penalty for an adjudged infringement from Tarasov. Dmitry Kombarov made no mistake but neverthless it made no difference as Lokomotiv held out for a derby victory! 3-2 the final score!

All goals can be seen by clicking HERE.

Player Ratings:
Guilherme - 5
Strong on crosses but questionable position for the first goal.
Kuzmin - 6
Composed. Delivered some good crosses and closed down well.
Asatiani - 7
A rock at the back. Inspired confidence throughout all the team.
Basha - 5.5
Lost Voronin for the first goal. Improved in the second half
Yanbaev - 6
Unusually quiet. Rarely troubled at the back.
Dujmovic - 6.5
Put in some good tackles. His block on Khokhlov was key for Lokomotiv as Dynamo were pressing for the draw.
Tarasov - 7
What a match from the former Citizen. Industrious performance. His goal was the icing on the cake. Harshly given a penalty against.
Odemwingie - 6
Some sparks but with no end product. Assisted Tarasov for the third goal.
Sychev - 6
Passed a late fitness test but still his lack of fitness was evident. Neverthless an encouraging showing.
Aliev - 8
Scored a brace and was the mind behind every Lokomotiv attack. Charged his troops to victory. Already a crowd favourite!
Traore - 6.5
Hardworking performance from the Malian. Failed to score but forced Kolodin into a mistake from which Aliev stroked.

Smolnikov - 6.5
His speed created some problems as the match became stretched. His speed is a perfect weapon for counter attacks
Charles - N/A
Nearly scored in his few minutes on pitch
Glushakov - N/A
Introduced to waste precious seconds.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lokomotiv bring in new keeper

Yesterday Lokomotiv came into agreement with young goalkeeper Aleksandr Filtsov. Aleksandr, who is 20 years old, signed a contract of 4 and half years with Lokomotiv and will play under the number 35.

Aleksandr Filtsov, who is a graduate from the Academy of Football Yury Konoplev (Samara Region), last season played for FC Togliatti, in the Russian Second Division, that is the third tier of the Russian football league system.

Filtsov was also a member of the Russian Under-19 squad which took part in the qualification stage of the 2009 UEFA Under-19 Championship.