FC Astana leapfrogged Irtysh Pavlodar at the top of the league, Kairat Almaty regained their confidence, and three games ended in draws in Sunday's Kazakhstan Premier League action.
The league title holders FC Astana extended their winning streak to five matches with a 3-0 defeat of Okzhetpes Kokshetau to grab the top spot in the table.
In the game at the Tarlan Arena in Astana yet with Okzhetpes as a host side, Stanimir Stoilov's team were able to capitalise on their clear advantage.
Before the interval, Junior Kabananga missed a penalty awarded for handball, firing wide from the spot. That didn't matter in the end since Serikzhan Muzhikov got the 61st-minute opener from a Didar Zhalmukan cross before Srdjan Grahovac bettered Kabananga by converting the spot-kick moments later. On 79 minutes, Roman Murtazayev wrapped things up after some great buildup from Azdren Llullaku.
"Today, it was obvious that Astana were favourites. We have a lot of squad weaknesses at the moment, so it's hard for us to be competitive," said Okhetpes manager Vladimir Mukhanov.
Kairat get back on winning ways
Another convincing victory of the evening came in South Capital as Kairat Almaty eased past Ordabasy Shymkent 3-0 to climb to third place. There is a two-point distance that separates the big duo in the KPL standings.
Kakhaber Tskhadadze's troops made a strong start, with Bauyrzhan Islamkhan smashing home from the right side of the penalty area. Later, Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev hit the crossbar for Ordabasy before Isael, an integral part of Kairat's fluent passing, delivered an assist for Gerard Gohou's easy finish in the 44th minute.
The hosts controlled proceedings and with Ivo Iličević scoring the third from an Andrey Arshavin smart pass, the outcome was never in doubt as Almaty club ended their winless four-game run against Ordabasy.
Late show in Kyzylorda
Two late goals in the span of three minutes saw Kaisar Kyzylorda and Irtysh Pavlodar tie 1-1 in coaching duel of two ex-Bulgaria national team managers.
It looked destined to finish goalless until Rodrigo António put Irtysh in front with an exquisite left-footed effort from outside the box only for Saidi Ntibazonkiza to slot home in a counterattack to produce a quick equaliser.
Dimitar Dimitrov's side found themselves in second position, one point shy of Astana and one point clear of Kairat, while Stoycho Mladenov's outfit remained sixth with comfortable cushion over their midtable rivals.
Shakhter Karagandy couldn't register their first win of the season but at least managed to share points with Tobol Kostanay, the sides playing out a 1-1 draw at the Metallurg, Shakhter's backup ground.
In an tense affair, it was Tobol who found the breakthrough in first-half injury time as Karaganda club's veteran Sergey Skorykh headed in his third own goal (!) since the start of the campaign.
Nevertheless, the Miners refused to give up, responding through Daurenbek Tazhimbetov shortly after the restart. Shakhter's No. 10 was set up by Korede Aiyegbusi for a clinical tap-in at the far post following a set piece.
Both teams ended the game with ten men after a brawl in added time that resulted in red cards for Shakhter defender Didier Kadio and Tobol striker Alexey Schyotkin.
Meanwhile, FC Taraz and Akzhayik Oral remained deadlocked at 0-0 in Jambyl Region. The scoreless outcome helped both teams consolidate their positions above the playoff zone, with Akzhayik who failed to find the back of the net for the first time this term maintaining seventh spot. Taraz, for their part, moved to eighth, opening a narrow cushion Okzhetpes and FC Aktobe who were out of the Week 7 action.
The meeting between Aktobe and FC Atyrau as well as Aktobe-Shakhter matchup (Week 8) have been postponed by the league due to unsuitable pitch conditions at both the Central Stadium and ODYuShOR in Aktobe. The fixtures will be rescheduled for later dates.
Gameweek 7 details
Shakhter Karagandy v Tobol Kostanay 1-1 (0-1)
16/04/2017, Metallurg Stadium (Temirtau). Att: 1,000. Ref: Karlibayev (Uralsk).
Shakhter (4-4-2): Shatsky – Gabyshev (Omirtayev 14), Skorykh, Kadio, Aiyegbusi – Zošák, Stanojević, Szöke, R.Khairullin (Vasilyev 79) – Allegria (Mangutkin 15), Tazhimbetov. HC: Alexey Yeryomenko (RUS/FIN).
Tobol (4-2-3-1): Nepohodov – Glavina, Malyi, Dmitrenko (Kassaï 46), Sartakov – Mukhutdinov, Tagybergen (Jalilov 80) – Savić (Modakarayev 45), Despotović, Simkovic – Schyotkin. HC: Omari Tetrazde (RUS).
Goals: 0-1 Skorykh (45+3 – OG), 1-1 Tazhimbetov (48).
YC: Dmitrenko (22), Moldakarayev (73), Tazhimbetov (90+3), Malyi (90+3).
RC: Kadio (90+3), Schyotkin (90+3).
Kaisar Kyzylorda v Irtysh Pavlodar 1-1 (0-0)
16/04/2017, Gani Muratbayev Stadium (Kyzylorda). Att: 5,000. Ref: Bobrov (Karaganda).
Kaisar (4-2-3-1): Islamkulov – Amirseitov, Graf, Lamanje, D.Yevstigneyev – Kamara, Korobkin (Sakhalbayev 85) – Arzhanov (Narzildayev 75), M.Baizhanov, Ntibazonkiza – S.Nikolić (Coureur 63). HC: Stoycho Mladenov (BUL).
Irtysh (3-5-2): Loriya – Vorotnikov, Dvali, Tkachuk – Kislitsyn, Darabayev, Aliyev, Rodrigo António, Živković – Dja Djédjé (Fonseca 62), Nganbe (Fofana 73). HC: Dimitar Dimitrov (BUL).
Goals: 0-1 Rodrigo António (83), 1-1 Ntibazonkiza (86).
YC: Aliyev (14), D.Yevstigneyev (25), Rodrigo António (41), Korobkin (45+1), Kamara (77).
Okzhetpes Kokshetau v FC Astana 0-3 (0-0)
16/04/2017, Tarlan Arena (Astana). Att: 900. Ref: Vishnichenko (Kostanay).
Okzhetpes (5-4-1): Stamenković – Yurin, Chertov, Marochkin, Strukov, Volkov – Fedin, Horvat, Politylo (Nedashkovsky 81), Kozlov (Dosmagambetov 46) – Schaff (Genkov 81). HC: Vladimir Mukhanov (RUS).
Astana (4-2-3-1): Mokin – Shytaw, Postnikov, Aničić, Shomko – Grahovac, Mayewski – Zhalmukan (Twumasi 78), Muzhikov (Beisebekov 82), Murtazayev – Kabananga (Llullaku 73). HC: Stanimir Stoilov (BUL).
Goals: 0-1 Muzhikov (61), 0-2 Grahovac (64 – PG), 0-3 Murtazayev (79).
PM: Kabananga (45 – wide).
YC: Strukov (44), Yurin (87).
FC Taraz v Akzhayik Oral 0-0 (0-0)
16/04/2017, Central Stadium (Taraz). Att: 3,000. Ref: Chekhovsky (Astana).
Taraz (3-5-2): Loginovsky – Shipitsin, Mijušković, Moltusinov – Amirkhanov, Taubay (Zainutdinov 70), Diarra (Ergashev 46), Feshchuk (Maurice 65), Gorbanets – Kozhamberdy, Mukhametshin. HC: Vait Talgayev.
Akzhayik (4-2-3-1): Tolebayev – Schmidt, J.Nikolić, Odibe, Sapanov (Shabayev 90+2) – Zharechny, Coronel – Yersalimov, Arenas (Pertsukh 68), Valiullin (Tapalov 90+4) – Azuka. HC: Vakhid Masudov.
YC: Coronel (49), Ergashev (73), Shipitsin (77).
Kairat Almaty v Ordabasy Shymkent 3-0 (2-0)
16/04/2017, Central Stadium (Almaty). Att: 15,000. Ref: Alyoshin (Pavlodar).
Kairat (4-2-3-1): Plotnikov – Kuantayev, César Arzo, Marković, Suyumbayev – Elek, Kuat – Isael (Arshavin 60), Islamkhan (Zhukov 71), Iličević – Gohou (Anene 89). HC: Kakhaber Tskhadadze (GEO).
Ordabasy (5-4-1): Bekbayev – Bocharov (Kozhabayev 85), Abdulin, Yerlanov, Fontanello, Tolebek – Tungyshbayev (Geynrikh 70), Diakhate, Kovalchuk, A.Nurgaliyev – Nuserbayev (Martsvaladze 75). HC: Alexey Petrushin (RUS).
Goals: 1-0 Islamkhan (6), 2-0 Gohou (44), 3-0 Iličević (70).
YC: Marković (40), Nuserbayev (55), Nurgaliyev (65), Tungyshbayev (67), Kuat (75).
Gerard Gohou (Kairat Almaty) – 7, Alexey Schyotkin (Tobol Kostanay) – 4, Aslan Darabayev (Irtysh Pavlodar) – 3, Mardan Tolebek (Ordabasy Shymkent) – 3, Ruslan Mukhametshin (FC Taraz) – 3, Daurenbek Tazhimbetov (Shakhter Karagandy) – 3, Jure Obšivač (FC Atyrau) – 3, Junior Kabananga (FC Astana) – 3 (1PG)
April 22 – FC Atyrau v Okzhetpes Kokshetau, FC Astana v FC Taraz, Akzhayik Oral v Kaisar Kyzylorda, Irtysh Pavlodar v Kairat Almaty, Ordabasy v Tobol Kostanay