By Margus Luik
July saw the beginning and the end of Estonian sides' involvement in European club competitions this season.
UEFA Champions League contenders FC Levadia Tallinn and UEFA Cup hopefuls FC TVMK Tallinn and FC Flora Tallinn all bowed out after the second legs. Levadia lost 2-1 on aggregate against FC Dinamo Tbilisi, TVMK lost out to Myllykosken Pallo-47 by the same margin while Flora went down 7-2 against Esbjerg fB.
Levadia had started their campaign with a 1-0 win at home against one-time UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners Dinamo thanks to a Konstantin Nahk penalty, but they could not withstand the pressure in the return leg in Georgia, despite their opponents being reduced to ten men for the last 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, TVMK were left to rue the two shots that cannoned off the woodwork in the home leg of their game against MyPa. Ingemar Teever's goal helped them earn a 1-1 draw in that match, but with Tarmo Neemelo's dismissal in the return fixture in Finland their hopes of reaching the second qualifying round vanished.
Flora created a major upset by winning 2-1 in the away leg of their UEFA Cup tie against Denmark's Esbjerg fB, but the home leg was a catastrophe. EfB were 4-0 up by half-time, eventually running out as 6-0 winners to equal Flora's worst ever European defeat against FK Partizan in 1999/00.
That was not the only disaster of Flora's month as their form in the Meistiliiga continued to flag. They twice lost to TVMK and drew against JK Merkuur Tartu as Vjatšeslav Zahovaiko, Teet Allas, Märt Kosemets, Joel Lindpere and Aleksander Saharov joined the four other names on their injured list.
Flora are now fourth in the table, eleven points adrift of leaders TVMK, who recovered from a minor slump to win all four of their league games in July. However, their title credentials will come in for a stern test as they take on second-placed Levadia on 21 August.
Levadia dropped points in a 1-1 draw against form team JK Trans Narva to allow TVMK to open up a five-point lead at the top. An added-time Maksim Gruznov equaliser in that game on 27 July saw Trans extend their unbeaten run to a club record of 12 games and rise above Flora into third place.
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