Published on Saturday, 23 January 2016

IMG 8966Russia 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...

A curious explanation to this fact was given by one of the journalists accredited on the Commonwealth Cup, namely "All the games in group A were held in the morning and day time, and so all the teams were not awake by the kick off". Maybe there is something in these words, indeed. But it's more likely that it was Tajikistan to "blame" for so many goals in group B, although they have eventually taken... the last place in this group. Here are the results of all four games of Roman Pylypchuk's team: 1:2, 1:4, 2:3 and another 2:3 in the match for the seventh place against Kazakhstan. Tajikistan looked quite well in combinations and overall attacking moves, but some wrong decisions in defense and mistakes by the goalkeepers played a bad part for their final standings...

Saturday saw "coldest ice" from group A confronting "hottest flames" from group B in the second and the third matches notable for more pragmatic tactics. It worked well for Belarus that played 0:0 against Latvia in the main time and later got their fifth tournament place winning the penalty series. By the way, the team coached by Igor Kovalevich has set a funny record on this Commonwealth Cup being the least-scoring (only two goals for) and at the same the least-conceding team (just two goals against!).

The same exact scheme was also victorious for Estonia that converted a 0:0 main time score to a successful penalty series and getting a win over strong Kyrgyzstan and taking the bronze medals of the tournament. This is a doubtless success of Martin Reim, a young coach and a former leader of Estonian national team. Nevertheless, Mirlan Eshenov, an even younger coach of Kyrgyzstan has all the rights to consider this St. Petersburg tournament a success for himself and his team.

And the winner of the XXIV Commonwealth Cup predictably is... the youth team of Russia. The team coached by Nikolay Pisarev had its own special "arithmetic" throughout the tournament. Russia won ALL its group B matches with the same 2:1 score. However, Russia was slowly, but steadily improving its play with every match adding aggression and team understanding that eventually resulted in 4:2 in the final over Moldova. The spectators who came to watch the decisive match really liked what they saw on the pitch and were also kind enough to express their gratitude applauding to team Moldova, headed by Danut Stelian Oprea, a Romanian specialist. It was Moldova to open the score in the final match with the help of Danu Spataru, the team captain who was quite a visible personality on the pitch during the entire tournament. But for an evident Moldova goalkeeper's mistake when the score was 1:1, the luck could have turned its other side for Russia in the final. Nevertheless, a winning "double" by Kamil Mullin brought all doubts about the likely winner away in the end. Our congratulations to the youth team of Russia!


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