NICK LEYDEN - Monday, May 30, 2011
Eugene Starikov earned his second consecutive start up top for Tomsk but could not prevent the Siberians from being thrashed on the road by Rubin Kazan.
Though the two teams entered the game with only one point separating them in the standings, Rubin Kazan's convincing victory left no doubt about which of the two is a perennial championship contender.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 7th minute after a Tomsk giveaway on the wrong side of midfield led to an Alexei Medvedev shot from just beyond the penalty spot. Sergei Pesyakov made a spectacular kick save, but Alexander Ryazantsev was there to tuck home the rebound.
Medvedev would go on to double the lead in the 32nd minute after a long clearance was misjudged by the Tomsk defense, bouncing over their heads and gifting the veteran striker a breakaway.
Attacking moments were rare for Tomsk in the first half, but they did manage to pull within a goal in the 38th minute after Starikov was involved in the buildup to a penalty.
The California product received a pass 20 yards from goal and played a smart, square ball across the top of the box and into the path of South Korea's Kim Nam-Il. Roman Sharonov attempted to dispossess Kim, but the ball looked to have struck his arm in the process of the slide tackle.
Sergei Skoblyakov made no mistake from the spot, sending the teams to the locker rooms with a 2-1 scoreline.
Kazan continued to be the superior team in the second half, notching two more goals via set pieces.
Ecuadorian Cristian Noboa curled a 25 yard free kick past Pesyakov in the 58th minute, while Bebars Natcho tallied a penalty of his own in the 76th.
After two impressive appearances in a row, Starikov's performance was fairly quiet, though the same could be said for most of Tomsk's lineup. The Ukraine-born striker was replaced in the 58th minute by Vlatizlav Khatizhenkov.
The loss is Tomsk's first in nearly two months, and will keep them in the bottom half of the standings for at least one more week.
They will next take the field on June 10 when Lokomotiv Moscow comes to town.