Kazakhstan’s league resumed on Wednesday after a three and a half months break, due to the coronavirus pandemic and despite a recent surge in infections which forced some coaches to field weakened teams.
The matches, played without spectators, were preceded by a minute’s applause for medical workers. The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 22,000 people and killed 188 in the Central Asian country.
Kairat moved two points clear at the top of the standings after goals by Armenian midfielder Kamo Hovhannisyan, Polish midfielder Konrad Wrzesinski and striker Artur Shushenachev secured a 3-0 win over Zhetysu.
The two-times Kazakh champions are top with nine points from four games, two points ahead of Astana, who won six titles in a row from 2014-19, and Tobol.
Kostanay-based Tobol beat Caspiy 2-0 with late goals from Azat Nurgaliev and Oralkhan Omirtayev, both sides fielding second-string teams due to a number of positive coronavirus tests.
Caspuy coach Srdjan Blagoevich also stayed home because of the virus.
“Both teams were in a difficult situation.“We have about 10 people missing the game, the opponents have the same problems.
“We need the support of our fans but we understand that the health of Kostanay people and all Kazakhstan people is more important,” said Tobol coach Grigori Babayan
Kaisar’s Bulgarian coach Stoycho Mladenov announced on Monday that 10 senior players and 15 juniors had tested positive for the coronavirus but the club said all senior players had registered negative results on re-testing. (Reuters/NAN)