#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Last weekend Norilsk hosted the first two semi-finals of the Pari-Superleague. Mini-football club Norilsk Nickel hosted the reigning champion of the country – FC Gazprom-Ugra on its floor in the Ayka sports hall. Both meetings were bright, spectacular and memorable.
The first meeting started with the guests’ quick goal. Already in the second minute, Dmitry Shvedko opened the scoring in the match.
The Norilsk players were preparing the answer for quite a long time. Only in the 15th minute, Ruslan Kudziev equalized the score – 1:1.
The teams played like a chess game, looking for each other’s mistake, for which they would be punished. As a result, Roman Bukin took an advantage of the gap in the guests’ defense, and gracefully threw the ball after Alexey Lyalin’s exact transfer.
However, local fans did not applaud for long. A minute later, Nikolay Shisterov converted a 10-meter foul for the sixth foul of the Norilsk team. As a result, again equality 2:2. The meeting was moved to overtime.
Two additional halves of five minutes did not reveal the winner, and according to the regulations, the game continued with a series of post-match penalties. In the six-meter series, the goalkeeper of the Norilsk team Nikolay Balashov became the hero, who was able to deflect three penalties and thus helped to win the first victory in this confrontation.
“We didn’t get in very well again. We need to think about this, why at the beginning of the match we are gaining momentum for a long time. It’s good that we were able to get back into the game. It was an equal, uncompromising and dynamic struggle. Victory was won by blood and sweat. I thank the guys, because five of them were on anesthetic injections. But they survived and got this victory”, said Evgeny Kuksevich, the Norilsk team head coach.
The second game began right opposite way to the previous one: the Norilsk team scored first in the third minute of the match: Ruslan Kudziev scored. The hosts were in the lead, and it seemed that the teams would leave for the break with a score of 1:0. But literally in a minute the guests completely turned the course of the fight. First, in the 22nd minute, a 10-meter shot was done by Nikolay Shisterov, and then a few seconds later Alexander Pirogov scored his goal – 2:1, the guests lead.
The Norilsk team equalized the score only in the second half: Alex seized the moment in the 32nd minute. At the 39th, Gazprom again took the lead through the efforts of Joao Guilherme. Six minutes later, the score became equal again – 3:3, a goal was on Gabriel’s account. A draw, like the day before.
At the end of extra time, Aleksey Lyalin forced all the spectators of the Ayka sports hall to rise. But the scorer of Gazprom Joao Guilherme was still against the hosts’ victory in this match, and scored five seconds before the end of the match.
As a result, another penalty, as in the first meeting. The teams were hitting right on target for a long time, but Gazprom-Ugra still showed off its goalkeeping skills. Zurab Kalmekhelidze caught the six-meter from Denis Povarov, and this became the key moment of the whole evening. Gazprom-Ugra took the victory.
The guests won the victory and equalized the score in the series – 1:1. The teams will go to Yugorsk to decide who will reach the playoff final and compete for the main trophy of the season – the Pari-Superleague championship.
Text: Victor Tsaryov, Photos: Magomed Ismailov, Denis Kozhevnikov, Sergey Kolosov and Elena Funkner