Astana are back on track, Dmitry Ogay proves his workmanship, Aktobe suffer a predictable blow – take a look at the picks from the Kazakhstan Premier League Gameweek 1 action.
After losing in the Kazakhstan Super Cup three days earlier, defending champions have been dominant against well-changed under the Slovak Jozef Vukušič Shakhter Karagandy side but looked set to another slump as the first half saw the Miners take a 1-0 lead via Dutch midfielder Desley Ubbink.
In the dressing room, Stanimir Stoilov urged his players to react properly and it was not long before Djordje Despotović equalised with his 47th-minute header for his first goal after joining Astana. Quarter of an hour later, Shakhter defense committed a mistake punished by Tanat Nuserbayev who sent the ball into an empty net to return the champions back on winning ways.
Hitting a brace against FC Aktobe–one was a penalty and another was a one-on-one strike–Nurgaliyev led his attacking-minded Ordabasy team to an impressive 3-1 win which also featured fantastic Edin Junuzović with a goal and an assist to his name. South Kazakhstan side now lead the table and Nurgaliyev finished the week as the league top scorer.
The goal from a new loan signing Serhiy Malyi was enough for Dimitar Dimitrov's men to beat Okzhetpes Pavlodar on home soil. Another newbies–Ousman Jallow and Ignacio Herrera–were also very good. "We put together the team just a fortnight before kick-off, so the lads deserved congratulations for the character they showed," said Dimitrov.
After six-year absence Ogay is back with Tobol Kostanay, the team he shaped in 2000s with such competence and charisma that it won a cult status in the city and the whole region. During his re-introduction, Tobol struggled against unexpectedly well-organised Akzhayik Oral but Ogay eventually confirmed his experience, something the Tobol fans should celebrate again and again. In the 68th minute, the manager has brought Kostyantyn Dudchenko off the bench and the Ukrainian rookie has scored what proved to be a winner just couple of minutes later.
Under the new coach Nurmat Mirzabayev (who is, like Ogay, actually the side's old coach as he acted as caretaker in 2013) FC Taraz started brilliantly, overcoming their giant opposition in a home game against Kairat Almaty. Taraz were solid at the back, pressed high up the pitch and managed to crush the Cup and Super Cup holders on the counter, with Ihar Zyankovich and Taras Danilyuk scoring in the second half. And a 2-1 victory wasn't an opportunistic outcome.
In his Kazakhstan bow, Alexandr Borodyuk has been successful winning the Super Cup on Tuesday but couldn't replicate that feat in his league debut on Saturday. With doubtful tactics and toothless approach, his Kairat side looked somewhat lopsided in Jambyl Region and found themselves beaten by the focused host outfit. "It's about defensive errors and fatigue. We wanted to win but in football, such things happen," lamented Borodyuk. What a pathetic Premier league start for the former Guus Hiddink's assistant and his charges.
While his Astana teammates had been grinding out a win over Shakhter, Jolchiyev remained an enigmatic absentee from the squad. The situation is unclear yet there are speculations that Kazakhstan international "doesn't want to play for Astana, dreaming about European football". Lingering question now is whether he stay or not. There is no harm in dreaming but in Jolchiyev's strange story that is far from making him a hero.
Despite coming into life in the latest stages of the game, the Westerners were seen off at Ordabasy. Following shocking changes to the club's finances and therefore, the squad quality, Aktobe have left exposed and even Samat Smakov return couldn't prevent them from being in a disappointing form. Maybe, under newly-appointed Yuri Utkulbayev the freshly gathered group of players would be able to click to integrate into kind of stable and effective unit. But for now, they are just the shoddy with a lot of hard work ahead of them.
Taraz defeated Kairat but still had some blow as their midfielder Abzal Taubay has been unlucky to suffer a forarm injury after challenging Lukáš Tesák in the first half. The bone fracture is suspected, which means 21-year-old will be out of play for an uncertain chunk of time.