Take a look at some of the key talking points following matches that marked a halfway of the 2016 Kazakhstan Premier League regular season.
For the first time in 2016, Kakhaber Tskhadadze's side earned three wins on the trot, the streak extended with an important 1-0 victory over second-placed Irtysh Pavlodar. Kairat made the difference without their star Andrey Arshavin who has been out of the lineup for previous match due to injury and came off the bench in the 82nd minute against Irtysh. "We had learned our opponents quite well and knew that set play is their strong point. In spite of their defensive formation with five-man backline we had a lot of chances. But it was a nervous game because [Irtysh goalkeeper David] Loriya approved himself, he denied us from winning by a bigger margin," said Tskhadadze.
FC Atyrau lost their manager Vladimir Nikitenko as he left the club last week, and his successor Yuri Konkov was keen on hailing his work and commitment. Under their new boss, Atyrau found the best way to pay tribute to Nikitenko as Konkov's men prevailed over league leaders FC Astana who went unbeaten since September. Altynbek Saparov proved to be the hero with his fantastic one-touch 20-meter finish into the top of the net to claim an honourable 1-0 win.
It was an emotional battle in Karaganda where Aktobe maintained their recent consistent form. They kept the host side at bay and scored two nice goals which meant they continue to sit fifth in the table, one point clear of Kairat.
Ordabasy have won again, this time in the Southern Derby against FC Taraz away from home, and that is a credit to their man in charge in Baiseitov. The first ever Kazakhstan national team manager remains the best local coach in the league, with five sides in the top six guiding by foreigners.
The Montenegrin striker hit the double against Taraz to make a massive contribution in Ordbasy's 2-1 triumph. "When Ieaving the pitch in the 70th minute, I was applauded by Taraz supporters despite their team left empty-handed, and this was what sustained my effectiveness," said Kasalica, per Sport.rs.
After three straight losses, Zhetysu managed to right the ship a little by beating Akzhayik Oral in West Kazakhstan. Marko Simonovski put the visitors in front inside the opening stages but Oleg Hromţov levelled the match with 10 minutes to go. However, Dušan Savić fired from the spot in added time to seal an unlikely 2-1 victory. And it is easy to suppose that it was this win that saved Zhetysu coach Almas Kulshinbayev's job.
FC Astana & Irtysh Pavlodar
Although Astana and Irtysh still lead the league with some healthy cushions, both had a day to forget, failing to get over difficulties on the road, in Atyrau and Almaty respectively. And both coincidentally were beaten by a goal that came in the 22nd minute. With a lot of time to overcame the deficit, neither Stanimir Stoilov's men nor Dimitar Dimitrov's charges manage to find the way through. "We were in control, pushed forward but again were below par in terms of converting our chances," admitted Stoilov.
The question: How many KPL Week 11 games have been shown on TV? The answer: None. Instead, the football fans were offered an opulent showcase of judo action. And it is not a joke, nothing of the sort. It's serious, you know. Very.
FC Taraz's manager announced his departure after his side lost to Ordabasy. His third spell at the club's bench lasted 12 official matches, most of them seeing Jambyl Region men deliver a lopsided performance as they could clinch just one win (though this one has been against Kairat). Taraz didn't waste much time to hire another manager, with the Ukrainian Yuriy Maksymov having been appointed as their new boss.
Akzhayik Oral & Shakhter Karagandy
The teams from West and Central Kazakhstan fell at home, conceding two in the process, to slip down in the standings. Shakhter are now 10th with two back-to-back defeats while Akzhayik, winless in seven (including the Kazakhstan Cup exit), found themselves in 11th position.