Fixed match in Russian Premier League?

13th August 2011

Every season in Russia there are matches that seem dodgy – the goals look soft, the betting patterns odd, the team selections unusual. Although there’s been a lot of talk of things being cleaned up, this year seems no different – and one such match may be taking place tomorrow: Krasnodar v Krilya Sovietov.

There is of course no absolute proof of this, but what alerted me to this game seeming odd was the amount of money matched on the Betfair exchange. Check the Russian Premier league weekend coupon, and compare the money staked on this match to the other Premier League ties. At the time of writing the other three Premier League games scheduled for tomorrow have around £1000 staked on them, which is typical a day before the game – the Krasnodar/Krilya Sovietov game has over £130 000.

Such large sums of money staked so early are uncommon in Russian games, and when they do happen, it’s usually because the big teams are playing – Spartak, CSKA or Zenit. Krasnodar are a mid table side in their first season in the top flight, Krilya Sovietov are bottom of the table.

So who’s going to win? The game is in Krasnodar, and they are well above Krilya Sovietov in the league – on paper they are surely the favourites. However, according to where the money is on Betfair right now, Krilya Sovietov are favourites.

Krilya are desperate for points, having never been relegated from the Russian top flight and suddenly in danger here; recently they sold one of their first team regulars, Oleg Samsonov, to Krasnodar. But maybe I’m putting two and two together and making five – we’ll see what happens tomorrow, and check the highlights when they are available on YouTube. In the meantime, check out another recent suspicious game involving Krilya Sovietov.

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15th August 2011

And so it came to pass – Krasnodar 1 Krilya Sovietov 2. Or maybe I’m wrong – it wasn’t a fix at all.

Maybe the game was played at such a slow tempo solely because of the heat. Maybe the Krasnodar strikers are always so bad in front of goal that they look like they’re going for a conversion in a rugby match. Maybe it was an honest mistake when Krasnodar’s goalie seemed to let the ball slip through his hands for the first goal. Maybe the gap he left on his near post for the second was lack of knowledge of the basics. And maybe the consolation goal, where Krilya Sovietov’s keeper parries the ball right into the path of a Krasnodar striker, was down to tiredness – it happened in the 94th minute (when the result was beyond doubt; a cynic might say this goal made the result look a little more realistic).

Judge for yourself; the goals are here. The commentators make reference to suspicious betting patterns, suggest that Krasnodar’s keeper Usminskiy should go before the match fixing committee, and suggest that conclusions need to be drawn by the authorities.

The same goes for me – but I don’t expect anything to change as a result…

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