FC Astana establish themselves as the league pace setters, Okzhetpes Kokshetau enjoy flying high, Kairat Almaty fail to arrest their slide - capture the essence of the Week 6 action.
Though beating tough Tobol Kostanay side wasn't an easy task, the defending champions retained their 100 per cent points tally to open up a two-point gap at the top of the league, with their rivals Irtysh Pavlodar sitting second now. "Tobol are a good side but I don't think they had any clear-cut goalscoring chances," said Astana boss Stanimir Stoilov.
The man who won it for the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League group round participants touched the ground at the Astana Arena in an official game for the first time since joining the club on loan from Dynamo Kyiv. In the 32nd minute, Haruna made a well-timed run into the box before slotting home Patrick Twumasi's inviting pass. Great move, great finish!
Third-placed Okzhetpes have been a surprising success so far and that wasn't a full story as Vladimir Mukhanov's men managed build on that by extending their winning streak to four matches. Against Shakhter Karagandy away from home, Okzhetpes were defensive-minded and it proved to be the right approach, with the Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Chyzhov bagging a winner for the Kokshetau club.
The Red and Whites couldn't grab all three points against Irtysh Pavlodar but were solid enough to end the visitors' winning run by beating their veteran custodian David Loriya who hasn't conceded a goal for 586 minutes. His friend and Kazakhstan teammate Samat Smakov netted against him to clinch a 1-1 draw that means Aktobe lifted to fifth spot.
Ordabasy Shymkent manager has won the tactical clash with his Kairat Almaty counterpart Kakhaber Tskhadadze as the Southerners earned a narrow 1-0 home win. Baiseitov implemented a smart game plan to put Kairat players on the back foot, destroying their rhythm and fluency and forcing errors. One of those resulted in Filip Kasalica's strike that made the difference and brought Ordabasy back into the top four.
In a tense Western Derby game, FC Atyrau got three points at the expense of visiting Akzhayik Oral. It was the Oilers' first win this term, something that saw them pull out from the relegation zone with a two-point cushion and a match in hand. The meeting has been held in nasty conditions since the rain spoiled the pitch at the Sudoremontnik but it couldn't prevent Pavel Shabalin and Przemysław Trytko from scoring between the 4th and 19th minute to wrap up the contest in Atyrau's favour.
The Semirechye club also tasted their first victory of the campaign, with Dušan Savić stealing the show in Taldykorgan. The Macedonian forward struck the opener and set up the second goal for his countryman Marko Simonovski before Malick Mané pulled one back in style for a consolation in Zhetysu's 2-1 win.
Southern capital side lacked momentum and leadership at Ordabasy to go down to an inglorious loss. In the wake of it, the 2015 runners-up found themselves 13 points adrift of the league leaders Astana. There are fears that another lopsided performance could harm the team's mentality. At the same time, Kairat have chances to recover since they have a demanding manager in Tskhadadze and have played on home turf only once thus far (while Astana have already hosted four games from six).
Rock bottom Shakhter Karagandy were seen off by the visiting Okzhetpes side 1-0, failing another attempt to find their footing. There are alarm bells ringing for the Pitmen who now sit two points behind 11th-placed Atyrau. "We wanted to score and had plenty opportunities but were unfortunate to miss them," reacted Shakhter coach Jozef Vukušič.
FC Taraz have a rather bad run and we are not trying to make their goalkeeper a scapegoat for all those in the squad should share the responsibility. Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore a clear fact that after the Zhetysu upset, Grigorenko has the worst current goalkeeping product in the league so far with 10 goals allowed.
At the moment, Talgat Baisufinov's side experience mixed fortunes in their post-promotion season. They beat Taraz on their trip last week but weren't so clinical in their next away clash at Atyrau. Recently, Akzhayik tended to be successful against their neighbours but this time it wasn't the case as they were handed a 2-0 defeat.
Week 6 stats