Lanin's sending off and Markov's shot
The play-offs have become a kind of cherry on the cake of the RPL and First League season, which is coming to an end. The two teams that finished 13th and 14th in the elite division had to compete with the teams that finished in the fourth and fifth positions of the sub-elite league. Alania, which became the third, was deprived of such a chance due to non-compliance with the requirements of the RPL of the home stadium. Therefore, this right passed to the "Motherland".
But the greatest interest was aroused by the confrontation between Fakel, which gained excellent momentum in the spring under the leadership of Vadim Evseev, but failed to guarantee itself salvation from relegation, and Yenisei. Krasnoyarsk had the opportunity to break into the Premier League for the second time in history. Moreover, in 2018, they also went there through the joints, when they turned out to be stronger than Anji (3: 0, 3: 4). A plus for them was the arena, unusual for rivals, in which they receive guests.
The meeting at the Yenisei Football Arena, as expected, turned out to be not very spectacular. The opponents acted with a minimum degree of risk, realizing that every mistake could be fatal, and first of all they thought about protecting their own gates than about storming someone else's.
The first half was without any chances. I remember only the unpleasant shot of Mohamed Braimi from outside the penalty area, which Eugene Staver coped with. Otherwise, the players, if they threatened someone else's goal, then from a long distance. Both teams played exemplary in defense and managed to block all free zones, especially since the speed left much to be desired. But there were enough joints and rough martial arts.
However, after the break, the Voronezh team increased the pressure, especially since Evseev threw Markov into battle instead of the inert Georgy Gongadze. The fresh striker was much more successful in clinging to balls and making discounts on partners. For example, after his pass, Ilnur Alshin made a powerful shot on goal almost from the penalty area, and the ball, catching the crossbar after a light ricochet, went a little higher.
And after an hour of the meeting, an episode occurred that largely predetermined its outcome. Oleg Lanin in his own half went into a rough tackle against Igor Kalinin and crashed into the opponent's ankle. Sergey Karasev initially showed the offender a yellow one. However, the assistants on the VAR strongly recommended that he proceed to the monitor. It turned out that after the contact, the Krasnoyarsk midfielder also hit the opponent with spikes between his legs. The referee had no choice but to remove it.
In the minority, Vadim Garanin's wards finally pressed against their own goal, but for the time being they held on thanks to the skill and calmness of Staver. In the 77th minute, Fakel was helped to crack the hosts' defense by a corner. After a cross from the right, Alshin made a cross to the goal, and Markov hit the target from close range. Thus, the main hero of the match was the striker, who joined the team only in the winter and had not scored a single goal for it before. But at the right moment, he, coming on as a substitute, brought her a key victory. "Enisey" will now have to win back the minimum handicap in the score in Voronezh. In addition, the disqualified Lanin will not help partners.
Nigmatullin's saves and Yuran's substitutions
But for Rodina, getting into the joints is akin to a miracle, because this season was her debut in the First League. Moreover, in the first part of it, Dmitry Parfyonov's team fought for survival, but in 2023 they made an impressive breakthrough and climbed to the top 5 of the table. And the matches with Nizhny Novgorod were especially interesting for the reason that former Spartak players Parfenov and Sergey Yuran came together on the coaching bridge. Moreover, both in the camp of red and white wore the captain's armband and even briefly crossed paths in 1999.
Fortunately, the second play-off match turned out to be much brighter than the first. It is gratifying that the Muscovites, with the support of the fans, were practically in no way inferior to the opponent. It was not easy for them only in the opening. The guests clearly relied on a quick start and achieved their goal. They immediately sent the ball forward to Timur Suleymanov and put pressure on the hosts.
Already in the tenth minute, Sergey Aidarov faltered under him. Nizhny Novgorod had a good pass from the right edge into the penalty area, and Dmitry Rybchinsky was alone with the ball. The midfielder immediately struck a nasty blow from below. The goalkeeper failed to tightly fix the projectile after the opponent's shot and, in a panic, knocked it right in front of him at the running Edgar Sevikyan, who was controlled by the defender. And from the midfielder, the ball jumped right into the net.
To the credit of the "Motherland", she, having missed, did not give up, but, on the contrary, seized the initiative. And Yuran's team allowed her to do this, apparently believing in her own success in advance. The capital's players competently possessed the ball, without straying into throws, and at the first opportunity sent it forward to Amur Kalmykov and Ivan Tymoshenko.
Chances at the gates of Nizhny Novgorod began to arise rapidly. Moreover, if it were not for Artur Nigmatullin, the opponents could have taken the lead before the break. The goalkeeper made three memorable saves only in the first half. Tymoshenko was especially unlucky. First, he shot into the near one from a few meters, but the goalkeeper showed miracles of reaction, then went one-on-one with him and artlessly shot low. Finally, Nigmatullin miraculously parried a point-blank shot from Nata Wesley with his fingertips.
Yuran, obviously, was dissatisfied with what he saw and was not afraid to make a triple castling at half-time. And if the departure of Sevikyan was dictated by a slight injury, then the substitutions of Suleymanov and Ilya Zhigulev were for game reasons. In particular, in the first half, the hosts too easily passed the center of the field and penetrated into the penalty area.
As a result, in the second half, the fans saw a completely different Nizhny Novgorod - collected and angry. The guests no longer allowed themselves not to give their best in individual episodes and turned on 100%. "Rodina" tried to put pressure on the other half as before, but no longer had such chances.
Finally, everything became clear after Nizhny Novgorod doubled the advantage in the score. This time they were helped by the standard position. After an excellent free kick from Nikolai Kalinsky, substitute Vladislav Yakovlev calmly sent the projectile into the net with his head.
After that, the Muscovites finally stopped resisting, although there was enough time left before the final whistle. However, Nigmatullin, unlike the first half, almost did not enter the game. But one Yakovlev could well have scored a hat-trick. He twice ran away to the rendezvous with Aidarov, but in the first case he shot at him, and in the second he missed the far one a little. And in the time added by the referee, another substitute player of the guests scored. Albert Sharipov received the ball in someone else's penalty area and left no chance for the goalkeeper.
Nizhny Novgorod defeated Rodina in the first meeting, although they could have conceded a few goals before the break, and almost guaranteed themselves the preservation of their residence in the elite division for the next season. The only fly in the ointment for the team was the knee injury of Vyacheslav Krotov. The striker, like Yakovlev, appeared on the field in the second half, but soon left it after an unsuccessful one-on-one with an opponent.