Gorgeous five. Who made Astana the leader of the group?
Former loader, a Serbian with Kazakhstan passport and the best player of the Croatian Championship 2015.
24 October, 2018
After two rounds, FC Astana unexpectedly leads in Group K thanks to a 2:2 draw with FC Dynamo in Kiev and a 2:0 home victory over FC Rennes. This week, the Kazakhstan club will try to strengthen its leadership in the match against FC Jablonec. We represent the five players of FC Astana, defining the game of the team.
Goalkeeper, 36 years old
Clubs: OFC, Sibir, Kairat
National Team of Kazakhstan: 7 matches, 7 goals conceded
Serbian goalkeeper has long got on the inside been in Kazakhstan. Not many people remember that Eric started the Kazakhstan stage of his career in FC Kairat – one of the main rivals of FC Astana. Now Eric is the record holder of FC Astana on the matches played, the favorite of fans, the captain and the real leader.
“We always set high goals. In the championship we want to win the fifth title in a row. In European Competitions – to perform well, to represent Kazakhstan adequately in the international arena, – Eric said before the start of the group stage. - Despite the status of opponents, we will be playing each game with one goal – to win. And if we succeed in advancing the group or not, we will find out in December.”
Defender, 28 years old
Clubs: Ekibastuz, Irtysh
Shomko spent several years on loan in FC Astana, before signing a full-fledged contract. Today, it is impossible to imagine the club’s defense without him.
Left-back is the best assistant of FC Astana in European Competitions. In the domestic arena, Shomko became the four-time Champion of the country, won the Cup and the Super Cup. Sportive anger, desire to win and high concentration allow him to play for a few years on a serious level. He is not only one of the leaders of FC Astana in the matches played, but also the captain of the National Team of Kazakhstan.
“Football is not only my job, but also a great responsibility. We have already got used to fly to Europe for five to six hours,” - Shomko said. - A lot of things go out of my head, you do not need to pay attention to this, you need to get ready and play football. Conditions are equal for anyone.”
Midfielder, 31 years old
Clubs: Hajduk, Munich 1860, Rijeka
National Team of Croatia: 1 match
The best player of the Championship of Croatia in 2015 came to FC Astana last season and at first could not adapt. However, he added from match to match and reached the peak of his form by the last European Competitions autumn. This season, the Croatian is in rage. There are 10 goals and 15 assists in the Kazakhstan Championship in his account.
“I don’t think that the players who play now for the National Team of Croatia are much better than me. I’m doing everything to get a chance to play for the National Team of Croatia, - said Tomasov before the World Cup 2018. - I win trophies, play well and score in Europe”. Maybe a bright performance in the Europa League will pay Zlatko Dalić’s attention to him?
Midfielder, 29 years old
Clubs: Zhetisu, Kaysar
National Team of Kazakhstan: 19 matches, 1 goal
The midfielder was invited to FC Astana in 2014. Muzhikov not succeeded in everything, he spent one season on loan. However, the able-bodied and motivated midfielder earned the trust of the former coach Stanimir Stoilov and became a solid player of the main squad. Now he is one of the leaders not only of FC Astana, but also of the National Team, with which Stoilov works.
Successes have not led to complacency. “Competition is a pledge of progress, - Muzhikov believes. - Plus, let’s not forget that FC Astana is a four-time Kazakhstan Champion. The team has been participating in the group stages of European Competitions for three years in a row, therefore no one can be assured of the place in the first eleven”.
Midfielder, 30 years old
Clubs: Minsk, Zavisha, Anzhi
National Team of Belarus: 23 matches
His career is worthy for movie scenario. Maevski was engaged in sports in childhood and youth, but he preferred the faculty of forestry over professional football. He worked as a loader in the market, worked at a metal products factory, from where he was called to the club of the Belarusian Second League. After several years in Minsk clubs via transit through Makhachkala and Bydgoszcz, he ended up in Astana.
Here the midfielder quickly earned the confidence of the coach and the love of the fans. He is one of the best on statistics of challenges won, sees the field perfectly and reads the game. “We take the field every match with one goal – to win. Last season we managed to advance from the group, so we will try to repeat the success,” - said Maevski before the start of the Group Stage of the Europa League. So far everything goes according to his plan.