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What We Learned From Kazakhstan Premier League Week 12

What We Learned From Kazakhstan Premier League Week 12
Irtysh Pavlodar captain David Loriya (1) came up big against FC Astana though his side lost 2-0 at the Astana Arena (Photo credit: fca.kz)

Five talking points related to KPL weekend action as Kairat Almaty rallied to an impressive comeback, David Loriya showed a great level and Shakhter made a gift to their iconic veteran.

1. Arhavin saves Tskhadadze's blushes

When Kairat Almaty were two goals down away to Okzhetpes Kokshetau with 16 minutes to play, it seemed like under-pressure head coach Kakhaber Tskhadadze was all but doomed. But with Andrey Arshavin on the pitch, you always have hope which the Russian star has underlined by running riot to decide the encounter.

It was Arshavin who kick-started the rescue mission with his clinical shot past Saša Stamenković before having a hand in two more goals scored in quick succession by Tskhadadze's men, including the match-winning substitute Bauyrzhan Turysbek. The remarkable five-minute rally saw Kairat grab a feelgood 3-2 win that saved the Georgian's job.

"His goal proved to be a game-changer, it let the visitors believe they can salvage the result," reacted Kazakhstan football veteran and expert Vladimir Gulyamkhaidarov on Arshavin's influence.

2. Technical innovations would be helpful

The Video Assistant Referee system (VAR) is a young project still but it is already being launched worldwide and likely to have a bright future due to its obvious capability to help referees avoid important mistakes. Although nobody in Kazakh football discusses VAR or Hawk Eye technology, the issue may come into mind on the wake of some pieces of controversial officiating appeared in Week 12.

The biggest one has occured in FC Atyrau-Ordabasy Shymkent clash where the Southern side escaped with a point courtesy of a debatable penalty call late in the game. "We deserved to win but the referee intervened," Atyrau manager Sergey Pavlov claimed at the press conference.

And the Goal-line technology would help to FC Taraz-Kaisar Kyzylorda match officials when the visitors struck a phantom goal or came close to striking it – it's impossible to understand given the angle and quality of the picture provided by the league's web channel PFLK TV.

PFLK TV replay doesn't clear up the matter if the ball crossed the line or not. The goal wasn't counted, otherwise Kaisar Kyzylorda could have taken the 29th-minute lead over FC Taraz

3. Loriya is the league's best keeper at the moment

Experienced Irtysh Pavlodar custodian David Loriya has sent a huge message to Alexandr Borodyuk and his Kazakhstan technical staff, despite conceding twice in a 2-0 away loss at FC Astana.

Against the high-profile opponents, the 35-year-old was brilliant, with a string of his stunning saves preventing the reigning champions from winning big.

With less than a month left before the World Cup 2018 qualifier against Denmark and with Loriya in impressive form, there is little doubt now who is the best man to be handed the international goalkeeping role come June.

4. Shakhter honour retired Finonchenko with a win

While European football celebrates the likes of Francesco Totti, John Terry or another examples of career-long loyalty to one's boyhood clubs, Kazakhstan top-flight has its own equivalent of such an icon, Andrey Finonchenko. The Karaganda-born striker spent all his footballing life at Shakhter Karagandy before quitting as a player at the age of 34.

Finonchenko then became a part of the Miners' coaching staff to assist manager Alexey Yeryomenko. Last weekend, Shakhter paid a tribute to their legend as the veteran received heartful cheers from the fans and officials during the special pre-match ceremony in his honour.

That inspired his former teammates for a fighting performance, with a terrific Aidos Tattybayev volley earning them a vital 1-0 win over stubborn Akzhayik Oral side, their first home victory in the 2017 campaign. Shakhter just couldn't fail on a day like this.

Former Shakhter Karagandy captain (14) Andrey Finonchenko, seen here with his parents and the FFK President Seilda Baishakov, has been honoured with a personal retirement party by the club and league (Photo credit: Shakhter Karagandy Press Office)

5. Aktobe's woes continue after reaching rock bottom

In a home meeting with Tobol Kostanay, five-time Kazakhstan champions FC Aktobe produced an emphatic attacking display only to be thrashed 3-1 by the visitors. Following this defeat, the Westerners fell down the table to its very foot.

In midweek, the club has announced managerial replacement, with interim coach Igor Prokhnitsky stepping in as temporary successor to the departed Ihor Rakhayev. However, the switch hasn't been enough to add confidence to the team since they've lost both games under Prokhnitsky.

It can hardly be remembered Aktobe suffer so much in more than a decade, a clear evidence of the lasting crisis at the club that has been the country's most successful one between late 2000s and early 2010s. And the problem is obviously bigger than just poor coaching or recruitment, it's about organisation, vision, decision-making and atmosphere.

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