Tanat Nuserbayev (L) was the hero of FC Astana in a 1-0 win against Kairat Almaty (Photo credit: Eduard Gavrish)
Week 30 review: Kairat Almaty fall to FC Astana to lose control with the league at stake, Irtysh Pavlodar find themselves beyond the top-three finish, while FC Taraz join Tobol Kostanay and Okzhetpes Kokshetau who now are safe from relegation
Tanat Nuserbayev injected life into the title race with his winner against Kairat Almaty as reigning champions FC Astana saw off their harsh rivals 1-0 in the crucial encounter at the Central Stadium. Although Kairat pushed forward throughout the match they weren't able to prevail their opponents, fresh from huge UEFA Champions League match at Atlético Madrid. Therefore, the Two capitals derby was decided on the stroke of half-time when Nuserbayev sent the ball past Almaty goalie Vladimir Plotnikov and into the bottom corner. Having one game in hand, Astana are back as league favourites despite of the fact Kairat sit on top above them with a one-point margin. "We had lost a very important game that was a 70 per cent decisive one in the title race. But we still have mathematical chances on winning the league," said Kairat boss Vladimír Weiss. His Astana colleague Stanimir Stoilov insisted: "It is still a long way to the title. At the moment, I don't feel like we are the champions."
Meeting Marcos Pizzelli's corner, Viktor Dmitrenko got the early opener for FC Aktobe only to see his effort cancelled out before half an hour by Abdoulaye Diakhaté in a 1-1 tie with FC Atyrau at the Munaishy Stadium. After their first draw since June, Aktobe maintained third position in the table and guaranteed themselves a UEFA Europa League campaign in 2016, while Atyrau remain sixth and without real prospects of grabbing medals.
Ordabasy Shymkent came from behind to clinch a valuable 2-1 away victory over Irtysh Pavlodar which means Dimitar Dimitrov's side left four points behind the Southerners having only a ghost of a chance on claiming European berth. Before the interval, Evandro Roncatto slotted a penalty to give Irtysh the lead but Bakhtiyar Baiseyitov's men then produced a blitzkrieg performance. Aleksandar Simčević beat goalkeeper David Loriya in one-on-one situation to level the match on 57 minutes and Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev added the second following Irtysh's defensive error moments later. "It's a shame to lose this game. Taking into consideration the quality of our play, I believe it wasn't we who had to lose it. But when you fail to convert such chances like Roncatto, Fonseca, Vomenko had, then you, as a rule, have the ball in your own net," said Dimitrov.
Championship round standings
Oleksandr Pyschur scored a last-gasp goal as FC Taraz registered a 1-0 win over Relegation round leaders Tobol Kostanay. In an even clash, the Southerners struggled to find a breakthrough until the stoppage time, with Ukrainian forward striking his eighth of the campaign to make sure ninth-placed Taraz's beat the drop.
Okzhetpes Kokshetau failed to go top in the group, Vladimir Mukhanov's men were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Zhetysu Taldykorgan. FIFA 2002 World Cup star Dmitry Sychyov put hosts in front in the 32nd minute before Dušan Savić equalised with one minute remaining in the first half. "The pitch conditions were poor, so we tried to play physical football, in pressing manner. Sychyov scored against the run of play but in the second half, we did as we planned and created a lot of chances. It's a pity we couldn't took them as we lacked some composure," admitted Okzhetpes coach Vladimir Mukhanov.
Shakhtyor Karagandy boosted their hopes on top-flight football in the upcoming season after beating Kaisar Kyzylorda 1-0 away from home. It was former Kaisar player Plamen Dimov who made the difference on 69 minutes, handing the Miners their second win in a row. Bottom Kaisar are trailing Zhetysu Taldykorgan by one point, with two clubs trying hard to claim play-off spot and relegation straight back to the First League.
Relegation round standings
Matchday 30 results
Kaisar Kyzylorda 0-1 Shakhtyor Karagandy
0-1 Dimov 68
FC Atyrau 1-1 FC Aktobe
0-1 Dmitrenko 14, 1-1 Diakate 28
FC Taraz 1-0 Tobol Kostanay
1-0 Pyschur 90+3
Irtysh Pavlodar 1-2 Ordabasy Shymkent
1-0 Roncatto 34 (p), 1-1 Simcevic 57, 1-2 Tungyshbayev 59
Okzhetpes Kokshetau 1-1 Zhetysu Taldykorgan
1-0 Sychyov 32, 1-1 Savic 44
Kairat Almaty 0-1 FC Astana
0-1 Nuserbayev 45
FC Astana v FC Atyrau
FC Astana v Irtysh Pavlodar
Ordabasy Shymkent v FC Atyrau
FC Aktobe v Kairat Almaty
Zhetysu Taldykorgan v Kaisar Kyzylorda
Shakhtyor Karagandy v FC Taraz
Tobol Kostanay v Okzhetpes Kokshetau
Gerard Gohou (Kairat Almaty) – 22 (3p)
Luka Rotković (Okzhetpes Kokshetau) – 13 (2p)
Djordje Despotović (Zhetysu Taldykorgan / Kairat Almaty) – 10
Tanat Nuserbayev (FC Astana) – 9
Sergey Khizhnichenko (FC Aktobe) – 9 (1p)
Dušan Savić (Zhetysu Taldykorgan) – 9 (1p)