A great start to April, but a tough finish for the squad put our league lead in jeopardy. We had 4 Russian Premier League Games, 4 Champions League Games, and 1 Russian Cup match this month
Our first game this month was against OM in the Champions League. We were away, so my goal for this game was to keep it close and score an away goal. Loic Remy was the first to get on the board though. Remy beat one of our defenders in the box before tapping the ball past Malakeev. No worries for our side though, Axel Witsel came right back at the top of the box and played a quick give an go with Wellington Nem before smashing the ball pass Mandana into the side netting. OM would retain the score again 7 minutes late with a Carlos Valbuena goal. The game would end 2-1 and we would go home to Russia a goal down.
Our second game this month as in the league was against Dinamo Moscow, a mid table side. We started off pretty poorly when formal gunner Andrey Arshavin tipped the ball past a keeper from a cross to the top of the 6. We would equalize later on in the 22nd minute when Victor Faizulin smashed the ball near post in the goal on a breakaway. We would go in front just 2 minutes late when Alexandr Kerzhakov goal. We would lose the lead later in the 37th minute when Luke Wilkshire took advantage of a mistake by Tomas Hubucan to score on an easy breakaway. Lastly, Victor Faizluin would secure a win in the 54th minute when he dribbled around 1 man before slotting the ball past the keeper. A good win for our side.
Our third game this month was the return leg in the Champions League against OM. We started off very well when in just the 4th minute, Wellington Nem smashed the ball near post to score and give us the lead on aggregate. The lead would not last long though, Valbuena beat the keeper in the 33rd minute to force us to score once more. It looked like we were headed for an exit in the Champions League in the 90th minute when Axel Witsel ran into the box at full speed and od tripped. Witsel would calmly convert the penalty to force overtime. We would take the lead just before the end of halftime for the 1st half when Bruno Alves headed the ball off the bar and in. Hulk would secure a win in the 118th minute on a breakaway.
Our 4th game this month was against Rostov in the Russian Premier League. Hulk would give us the league in the 29th minute with a upper corner shot from the PK area. Rostov would soon equalize with a goal from David Tsoreav. We would take the lead once more after half time in the 59th minute with a smash into the lower corner by Axel Witsel, whose really improving as a player. Wellington Nem would secure a lead in the 80th minute when Welligton Nem got a perfect pass from Hulk at the top of the box before converting. A 3-1 win for us.
The next game this month was against Metallurg-Kusbass in the Russian Cup, a fairly straightforward game for us. Vladimir Bystrov would give us an early lead in the 12th minute which would be doubled later in the 76th minute with a great strike from Alexandr Kerzhakov. The game would end 2-0 and a rematch from last year against CSKA Moscow was coming up in the semifinals.
Our 6th game this month was against Krylja Sovetov in the Russian Premier League. This was a tough match for the side, which was feeling the pain of a tough schedule. Vincente Pacheo would score first in the 24th minute from a finesse from just in the box. Alexandr Kerzhakov would give us a point though in the 91st minute when he beat a player before coolly finishing. Late game magic strikes again for us.
The next game was the disastrous fixture against Bayern in the semifinals of the Champions League. I wanted the team to try to keep it close in Germany, but that just didn’t happen, we got trounced. Robben would score the first goal in the 28th minute, but that would be the only goal scored before half time. The squad was playing POK, and if we could keep it up, we could be able to maybe squeak out a win at home in Russia. That was not to be as in the 63rd minute Mario Mandzukic was to double Bayern’s lead. It became 3-0 3 minutes later when Robben scored his second of the night. Mandzukic would score again in the 78th minute and Kroos would cap of the scoring in the 85th minute, final score 5-0.
Our 8th game this month was against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League. The game was a bore with no goals and really no great chances. 22 shots but no goals for our side.
Our last and final game this month was meant to be a consolation game against Bayern in the second game at home. Our players were not having any of it and came out firing, First it was Hulk in the 12th minute, Kerzhakov doubled our lead 8 minutes later. We would go into haldf time just 2 down when Kerzhakov doubled his scoring total in the 39th minute. Kerzakov completed his hat trick in the 68th minute and we were 1 goal away from forcing overtime. The only goal that would come was from Javi Martinez in the 81st minute. We would lose 6-4 on aggregate but I was still proud of the team after such a great showing against one of the best in Europe.
No screenshot of the league table as I forgot to take one after April was over, and taking a screenshot now would be a spoiler. I can tell you that we were in first place with 60 points in front of Anji by 2 points with 2 games left in the season. All we had to do was win out to win the league.
Our player of the month is……………..
Axel Witsel, the Belgian is always clutch and seems to have a knack for scoring in the Champions League. He scored 3 goals, all clutch, to go along with an average rating of about 7.5.