Estonia: Flora and Nõmme share the lead in title race
It has been a very interesting week in the Estonian Meistriliiga with back-to-back derbies involving Tallinn rivals Flora and Levadia. With the former well-placed to defend their title it was imperative for Levadia to take some points off the league leaders and provide some hope for the rest of the chasing pack.
Before Tuesday’s game, in which Flora were the home side, the defending championship holders enjoyed a two point lead over nearest challengers Nõmme Kalju with two games in hand so it was important for Levadia to stall their local rivals’ momentum in the title race. Levadia were ten points behind and seemingly out of contention but a couple of victories could provide the title race with a major twist so they were never going to go into these games lightly.
Tuesday’s game saw Levadia shock home side Flora with the visitors winning 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Igor Subbotin and set things up nicely for today’s return fixture at the home of Levadia. A repeat result seemed on the cards for most of the game with Aleksandr Volodin’s 19th minute goal giving Levadia a lead which they were determined to hold on to. However, just as it seemed that the home side would be celebrating back-to-back wins over their arch rivals, Flora gained a penalty kick in second half stoppage time which Valeri Minkenen tucked away to sneak a 1-1 draw and a point for the table toppers.
The point ensured that Flora Tallinn (23 games, 54 points) held the league leadership on their own for at least a couple of hours. However Nõmme Kalju battled their way to a 1-0 win this afternoon against third place Trans Narva with Tarmo Neemelo’s goal in the 73rd minute securing all three points. Kalju have joined Flora at the top of the table with 54 points but have played a game more than the capital side who they meet at home on September 10th in a game which will be highly anticipated.