Superb end product from the leading pack, remarkable message to the national team coaching staff from Marat Khairullin, inspiring comeback from Aktobe and disgusting behaviour from Kairat captain – take a look at our KPL Week 5 pick ups.
Dimitar Dimitrov's men delivered a five-star performance against Ordabasy Shymkent to defeat the Southern side at home, and it has been a bigger win than the 2-0 scoreline suggests. A goal difference of +11, zero goals conceded in 450 minutes (Irtysh have equalled a club record of a five clean sheets in the first five gameweeks set in 1998) and well-deserved position at the league's summit – Pavlodar supporters could hardly imagine a better start to the campaign.
Another Bulgarian coach in Kazakhstan football, Stanimir Stoilov, is also doing a sublime work. His FC Astana side collect points in a machine-like fashion, winning by a one-goal margin time and again. After beating Zhetysu Taldykorgan thanks to a sole strike from their winter signing Yuri Logvinenko, Astana are successfully keeping pace with Irtysh. "We haven't got any match-winning individuals of the same calibre as Messi or Ronaldo, so it’s important how we act as a team. And I am delighted by the way we performed, by our organisation," admitted Stoilov.
Okzhetpes Kokshetau prevailed over FC Atyrau at the Astana Arena courtesy of Khairullin's prominence. The ex-FC Aktobe man broke the deadlock with his expertly taken free kick before setting up Zhasulan Moldakarayev to make it 2-0. And it is not surprising that many fans want Khairullin – who thrives again under his admirable coach Vladimir Mukhanov – back to Kazakhstan national team roster.
Meanwhile, FC Aktobe are also back on winning ways. They showed a great character in 2-1 comeback victory over harsh rivals Tobol Kostanay in Zatobolsk. Recording back-to-back wins, the Westerners moved to sixth place which is relief given their poor start this term. Later, the team received an enthusiastic welcome from cheering fans upon their arrival back home.
Kazakhstan national team interim coach Baisufinov who continues his day job as Akzhayik Oral boss was the only local manager to avoid loss in the Week 5. Moreover, Baisufinov's outfit got all three points this time round, with Uralsk men clinching a 1-0 away win over FC Taraz to climb into seventh place. Not bad for the promoted club.
The Pitmen looked confident at Kairat Almaty and managed to stop the host side's exceptional creative players such as Andrey Arshavin and Gerard Gohou. Shakhter even tried to snatch more than a goalless draw but weren't able to capitalise on their numerical advantage in the final minutes. Nevertheless, they got a point that lifted them above the rock bottom in the league standings. "We didn't score but were intense and stuck to our game plan," praised his players Shakhter's manager Jozef Vukušič.BAD DAY
Nurmat Mirzabayev's side dominated proceedings in the home match against Akzhayik Oral but were extremely unlucky in front of goal and lost 1-0, conceding after a counterattack with a great finish from Kuanysh Begalin that seemed to be nothing less than a goal of the week.
This year, Tobol emerged as favourites to beat FC Aktobe only to slip to a 2-1 loss to end their unbeaten run and move down to fourth spot. "Lads didn’t fulfill the things we've planned. There were nothing of what we’ve discussed before the game," lamented head coach Dmitry Ogay after Tobol slumped to fifth straight defeat against Reds and Whites.
In the home stalemate with Shakhter, Kairat Almaty captain Islamkhan was quite ineffective in the 'fantasista' role and instead of bringing in leadership and calmness, committed two unneccessary fouls – with both being fairly punished by yellow cards – to be sent off in the final quarter of an hour. Of course, it was a blow for the side that struggled to find a way past a solid opposing defence throughout the game that featured Andrey Arshavin and his desperate efforts to feed his hapless partners up front. Besides the playing organisation, there are huge disciplinary concerns to solve for new Kairat manager Kakhaber Tskhadadze. Perhaps he should think twice whether Islamkhan is the right man to wear the skipper's armband.
The Oilers were flat against well-organised Okzhetpes and suffered another loss which sent them down to the foot of the table. Atyrau registered several wins in the preseason but those have disguised the reality, with the team having obvious problems in almost every area on the pitch.