sports blog by andy shenk

Torpedo Secure FNL Berth in Scoreless Draw

In At The Game, Russian Football on May 22, 2013 at 5:48 AM

I attended an FNL relegation scrap on Monday evening between Torpedo Moscow and Khimki and published the match report, along with some background on a simmering conflict between Torpedo administration and the fans, at Russian Football News. Click here or at the end of this excerpt to read the entire article. 

Torpedo Moscow guaranteed a place in the Football National League, Russian football’s second tier, on Monday evening, playing to a scoreless draw with neighboring Khimki at Eduard Streltsov Stadium in Moscow.

Light rain fell on the fans and the players in the early going. About 3000 spectators attended the match, including 60-70 Khimki supporters.

Torpedo needed at least a draw to ensure a place in the FNL next season, while Khimki looked for the same to keep its survival hopes alive. The Red and Black trailed Metallurg-Kuzbass by three points with two matches to play and a game in hand.

Torpedo had a chance three minutes in. Tadas Labukas whipped Denis Boyarintsev’s corner at Khimki goalie Aleksandr Budakov, but the 28 year old just nabbed the ball on the line.

The visitors countered with several corners in the opening 15 minutes, which Torpedo cleared with ease.

As the rain abated and fans began to pack the two central sections in the Vostok stand, the first anti-administration cheer rang out, concise and to the point, “Administration, go away!”

Torpedo fans made a stir last fall when they forced a Russian Cup match vs Dynamo Moscow, played here at Eduard Streltsov Stadium, to be abandoned early in the second half. Torpedo were assigned technical defeat by the Russian Football Union’s Disciplinary Committee and handed a three-match spectator ban, an important precedent, incidentally, for the controversial Dynamo – Zenit RPL match almost two months later.

In the Cup match, fans threw flares on the field in protest of club president Aleksandr Tukmanov and other Torpedo officials. The conflict stretches back several years, with the fans publishing a letter this April 26th, in which they made nine separate demands to club leadership, including a call for team director N.I. Kuzmin to be fired and Tukmanov to admit his ineptitude at running the team and personal role in ruining relations between the fans and the club.

Earlier this spring the club also announced that fans in the Zapad-5 section, the nearly 30-year-old home for Torpedo’s most dedicated supporters, would need to register passport numbers with the club, ostensibly to improve communication. The Zapad-5 crowd refused and has since moved to the Vostok stand, stirring up support from football fans across the country who view the introduction of identification measures as an attack on their privacy and individual rights.

There wouldn’t, however, be any incidents on Monday. Though their distaste for the administration was expressed in song every 15 minutes, support for the team on the field was the focus, with relegation still a possibility.

The home team’s best chance in the first half came in the 40th minute. Former Rubin and Spartak winger Denis Boyarintsev sent in a free kick that Budakov punched outside the box. The ball came to Nikita Bezlikhotnov, whose volley collided with the crossbar before sailing harmlessly on.

Continue reading at Russian Football News

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