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Could this be the breakthrough season?

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Lokomotiv Tashkent Lokomotiv Tashkent

The last few seasons were not very lucky for Baranello. In his 5th year of service on PEN, his best result so far has been successful playoff fight for promotion in Season 9. Seasons 10 and 11 ended in a massive slump in the table near the season's end, so the hopes for the new Season 12 were close to non-existent for the poor Pole. However, change of brand from former CSKA Moscow to even more exotic Lokomotiv Tashkent must have inspired this veteran manager and as of now, he's holding his own in the top half of the table.

The season however didn't start off to a success - first tight game against dobermanxedos, Serbian manager who poses as one of the top contestants in D2 this season, was lost 4-3 and it seemed that despite good football, the good results might be out of reach yet again for Baranello. But subsequent games proved that wrong - wins over Govie, Miken333 and Nizaam, South African lad who seems to be having hell of a streak, turned things around.

The team started to look composed and reliable with good attack/defense balance and players playing up to their strengths and skills. Defense led by two italian veterans Moretti and Masiello, with Ruben Semedo in the mix, and flanked by polish rocket-boy Rybus on the left and big man Morganella on the right turned out to be goal-proof enough to keep the full points in most games. Midfield captained by young Pole Linetty and a mixture of youth (Henriquez) and experience (Brunt, Corgnet) managed to supply the forward duo, with usual suspects of Jermain Defoe and Marco Sau or Milan Skoda, with enough passes to put strikers in front of the goal for clear chances.

There were minor slumps as well, game vs Baz was just too much for the team to handle and the match against CMYKhazi was THE most unfair, unlucky game in clubs history - Lafont managed to stop pretty much everything and one nippy counter gave Khazi 3 points, to Loko's fan's disbelief.  But overall, the high hopes are out there.

Question remains, how the team will cope after winter transfer window when a BOD deal would see Defoe leaving in exchange for young Polish striker Dawid Kownacki - will experience be traded for a new hope for many seasons to come, or would it only cripple clubs chance for promotion? There is a lot of promise in recent Milan Skoda's accomplishment of scoring 5 goals in two consecutive league games, but will it be enough to keep goals coming in? How the departure of Ruben Semedo would affect defensive formation performance? A couple of risky steps were taken, should they pay off in final standings, it's still to be unravelled.

Halfway through the season, Lokomotiv Tashkent has been playing the best in the team's history. Should they keep the form for the remaining fixtures, the direct promotion to higher division might finally come true. But it's still long, long way to go. Keep your fingers crossed. 




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