Reigning champions FC Astana beat FC Atyrau to remain in the title race (kpfl.kz)
Week 28 review: Kairat Almaty keep marching towards the crown, FC Astana are back to winning ways, the last three teams all at once swallow defeats
Despite their squad problems, league leaders Kairat Almaty emphasised their title credentials with a 2-0 away win against Irtysh Pavlodar. Djordje Despotović opened the scoring just two minutes into the match and Bruno Soares notched a header in the 78th minute to wrap up the game. That means Almaty club chalked up a fourth straight victory, seeing their seven-point gap over their big boys rivals intact. "We took important points from a team that play very organised football after the coach [Dimitar Dimitrov] arrival. I'm happy with that points because we had some medical issues with several players and couldn't deliver our best performance. We grabbed golden points although I'm not saying the league is decided," noted Kairat manager Vladimír Weiss.
Tanat Nuserbayev lead FC Astana to a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over FC Atyrau, the Capital city club's captain getting the winning goal ten with minutes left. Astana, fresh from their impressive draw with Galatasaray A.Ş. in the UEFA Champions league group phase home debut, are back on track, maintaining second position in the league table with a three-point cushion.
Third-placed FC Aktobe have lost their sixth match out of last nine, Ioan Andone's outfit falling to Ordabasy Shymkent 2-1 at the Kazhymukan Stadium. After 39 minutes, Edin Junuzović put the hosts in front with his powerful volley but it wasn't enough as Sergey Khizhnichenko restored the parity in the 57th minute before his header was disallowed for a dubious offside call. Ordabasy supporters had to wait until the very end of added time when Aleksandar Simčević headed in free-kick to send Aktobe home empty-handed and close the gap on them to just two points.
Championship round standings
Shakhtyor Karagandy suffered another disappointment, the Miners were outplayed by the visiting Tobol Kostanay side 2-1, missing a chance on escape from penultimate place in the standings. Sergey Maslyonov's men had a two-goal lead following superb second-half strikes from former Shakhtyor players Ihar Zyankovich and Anatoly Bogdanov. Two-time Kazakhstan champions could only half the deficit via Alexey Muldarov's 79th-minute long-ranged deflected attempt, losing their third game in six outings. "The reason of our loss is lack of concentration, we failed in a 10-minute spell after the good first half and the beginning of the second," said Shakhtyor boss Igor Zakharyak.
Pavel Shabalin scored the only goal in the first half to help Okzhetpes Kokshetau record a narrow 1-0 away win over inconsistent Kaisar Kyzylorda. Vladimir Mukhanov's side reacted well after previous home loss to Tobol although it is Kostanay outfit who lead the Relegation playoff tournament, having a two-point advantage over their rivals.
In the tough battle in the heart of Zhambyl Oblast, Almir Mukhutdinov bagged what proved to be an early winner as FC Taraz prevailed against Zhetysu Taldykorgan, 1-0. As a result, the space between ninth and tenth spots encreased to six points leaving Zhetysu, Shakhtyor and Kaisar as the main contenders in the relegation battle while Taraz sit quite comfortable three points behind Okzhetpes.
Relegation round standings
Matchday 28 results
Irtysh Pavlodar 0-2 Kairat Almaty
0-1 Despotović 2, 0-2 Bruno Soares 78
Ordabasy Shymkent 2-1 FC Aktobe
1-0 Junuzović 39, 1-1 Khizhnichenko 57, 2-1 Simčević 90+4
FC Taraz 1-0 Zhetysu Taldykorgan
1-0 Mukhutdinov 3
Kaisar Kyzylorda 0-1 Okzhetpes Kokshetau
0-1 Shabalin 25
Shakhtyor 1-2 Tobol Kostanay
0-1 Zyankovich 61, 0-2 Bogdanov 75, 1-2 Muldarov 80
FC Atyrau 0-1 FC Astana
0-1 Nuserbayev 80
FC Astana v Ordabasy Shymkent
FC Aktobe v Irtysh Pavlodar
Kairat Almaty v FC Atyrau
Zhetysu Taldykorgan v Shakhtyor Karagandy
Tobol Kostanay v Kaisar Kyzylorda
Okzhetpes Kokshetau v FC Taraz