Russia got hot and won
Made friends. But stone and waves,
The coldest ice and hottest flames...
An attentive fan (who also loves various football stats) is likely to have noticed a very interesting "divergence" in final group stage statistical data of the XXIV Commonwealth Cup. If four teams in group A collectively scored 11 goals, then the scoring efficiency of the other four teams in group B turned out to be twice higher – 22 goals! And these were the same six matches in each group...
Four Trophies of Team Russia
Two important goals scored in the final match between Russia and Moldova by the attacking midfielder of team Russia, Kamil Mullin, encouraged the organizers of the XXIV Commonwealth Cup to give the best tournament player award to him, a player of Sokol Samara. It's curious that Mullin was one of the oldest players, as he had his 22nd birthday on January 5, and the Commonwealth Cup admitted players were not older than 22.
The final day of the tournament:
11:00. Match for the 7th place. Kazakhstan - Tajikistan 3:2
13:15. Match for the 5th place. Belarus - Latvia 0:0 (5:4 pen.)
16:30. Match for the 3rd place. Kyrgyzstan - Estonia 0:0 (1:4 pen.)
19:00. Final. Moldova - Russia 2:4
Kiryakov's hat trick, Gerasimets' double and a draw in the end!
Sergey Gorlukovich, the Olympic football champion, brought a veteran team Russia composed mostly of Moscow players onto the artificial SCC pitch as a captain. However, Gorlukovich himself hasn't played more than several starting minutes on pitch, retiring invisibly to the bench. But even without famous players, the veteran team of Russia had someone to look at. Dmitri Khlestov (Spartak) – seven times Champion of Russia, and a USSR Champion Alexander Mirzoyan (Neftchi Baku, Ararat Yerevan and again Spartak) who also acted as the delegation head, were forming the bastion of the defense aiding to the ex-goalkeeper of CSKA – the mighty Valery Novikov. Sergey Kiryakov, the famous skillful forward of four national teams – the USSR first, the USSR Olympic, the CIS and the Russian – is at his traditional attacking end. And the midfield was a surprise from the away team: the whole game was played by... nominal defenders – a USSR Champion Akhrik Tsveiba, a former player of three Dynamos (Tbilisi, Kyiv and Moscow), Erik Yakhimovich, an ex-defender for Dynamo Moscow, and Aleksandr Shmarko, a former defender of Rotor Volgograd. All the three have wisely distributed their energy for the two 20-minute halves.
Winning Stability Of Team Russia
On Thursday, January 21, the XXIV Commonwealth Cup witnessed the finishing third match-day in both groups, A and B. The situation in these groups turned out to be polar opposite prior to the last match-day.
Let us remind that the team of Moldova has won the group A, qualifying to the final already after two match-days. These six points out of the six possible have allowed the team coached by Danut Oprea to play the third match in the group against the Belorussians in an "energy-saving" mode before the final. The Romanian specialist, indeed, left some key players on the bench, but already during the first half he started to send his leaders on the pitch, for Belarus has taken the initiative and eventually won the first half, having scored from a penalty spot on the last minute. After a half-time the Moldovan team improved its play and managed to equalize. But the better motivated Belorussians took the lead again almost at once and this time managed to keep it till the end.
Schedule of of the third match-day:
12:00 #9 Group A Belarus – Moldova 2:1
14:15 #10 Group A Kyrgyzstan – Kazakhstan 2:2
16:30 #11 Group B Latvia – Tajikistan 3:2
19:00 #12 Group B Estonia – Russia 1:2
Gorlukovich, Kiryakov, Shmarov... And Kulik with Mashkarin – against the native Zenit
It is known that the playing calendar of the XXIV Commonwealth Cup contains 16 matches featuring eight national teams with players not older than 22 years. But we may have to remind that on Saturday, 23rd of January – when this Commonwealth Cup is coming to an end – the stadium will host an additional 17th match, where the SCC pitch will see footballers of quite a different age group and of quite a different football authority.
Marians Pahars, Head coach of the national football team of Latvia
"I like coaching even more than playing"
The main character of this interview is turning only 40 in August of 2016, but he has already got a solid football name thanks to careers as a player and as a coach. He's got more than 100 goals scored in his personal collection with 42 of them in such a top championship as the English Premier League. He has impressive 75 appearances (and 15 goals scored) for his national team. Now this bright star of the Latvian football is coaching this team. And, of course, Marians Pahars does not forget about its closest reserves. That is why Pahars was one of the most attentive spectators on the stands of Peterburgsky SCC (where he is always welcome) watching youth teams of Russia and Latvia playing.
Schedule of of the second match-day:
12:00 #5 Group A Moldova – Kyrgyzstan 2:0
14:15 #6 Group A Kazakhstan – Belarus 0:0
16:30 #7 Group B Tajikistan – Estonia 1:4
19:00 #8 Group B Russia – Latvia 2:1
Nikita Simonyan, the FUR First Vice-President
We'll be discussing perspectives of Valentin Granatkin Memorial and the Commonwealth Cup on a FUR Executive Committee meeting
Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan, a famous player, a coach and a remarkable football manager is celebrating his 70th anniversary of being a part of big football. Young Simonyan made his first appearances in the USSR Championship playing for Moscow Krylia Sovetov in 1946. He was lucky then to have such a teammate in the attacking line of Krylia as the outstanding striker Petr Dementiev or legendary "Peka". Here's how Simonyan himself is recalling those days: "When I first saw Dementiev on a football pitch I was astonished by his ball control skills. It was simply impossible to take a ball from him!" And here's what Petr Timofeevich Dementiev is recalling in his autobiography: "The glorious Nikita Simonyan started his sporting career in Krylia Sovetov. He came from Abkhazia when he was 18 years old and he stayed in Moscow for the rest of his life. I liked the guy right away and having looked at him playing I gave him an advice to use more creativity and less standards".