FC Astana


Astana Football Club (Kazakh: Astana Fýtbol Klýby) is a professional football club based in Nur-Sultan. They play in the Kazakhstan Premier League, the highest level of Kazakh football. The club's home ground is the 30,254-seat Astana Arena stadium. The club colours, reflected in their badge and kit, are sky blue and yellow. Founded as Lokomotiv Astana in 2009, the club changed its name to Astana in 2011.[4] They are members of the Astana Presidential Club, an association of the main sports teams in Astana supported by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna.[5]

Astana
Full nameAstana Football Club
Nickname(s)The Blue and Yellows[1]
Founded2009; 12 years ago (2009) as Lokomotiv Astana[2]
GroundAstana Arena
Capacity30,254[3]
OwnerSamruk-Kazyna
General managerMikhail Gurman
ManagerAndrey Tikhonov
LeagueKazakhstan Premier League
2020Kazakhstan Premier League, 3rd of 12
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The short history of the club already boasts six league titles, three Kazakhstan Cups and five Kazakhstan Super Cups.

History


Founding and first years (2009–2014)

On 27 December 2008, football clubs from Almaty Megasport and Alma-Ata announced they would merge to found a new club.[6] The club was named "FC Lokomotiv Astana" as the National Railway Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy became a general sponsor.[6] Kazakhstan Temir Zholy in cooperation with City Council of Nur-Sultan decided to move the club to the new building stadium in the capital of Kazakhstan.[6] Vakhid Masudov became the first head coach in the club's history.[7] The club has benefited from a high salary role which has enabled them to attract players of status to the club. Andrey Tikhonov and Yegor Titov first of all came from the Russian Football Premier League.[8] Several more followed such as Patrick Ovie and Baffour Gyan. Maksim Shatskikh later arrived from Dynamo Kyiv in the Ukrainian Premier League which was again a very high-profile capture for the club.[9] The majority of their other players have arrived from other clubs of the Kazakhstan Premier League, mostly on free transfers from the clubs which were absorbed to make the club and several which went into bankruptcy.

On 8 March 2009, Lokomotiv played in the league's inaugural match against Kazakhmys in Satbayev. In March 2009, Vakhid Masudov was replaced by Vladimir Gulyamkhaidarov.[10] However, only two days after his appointment he was replaced by Russian specialist Sergei Yuran.[10] The club earned silver medals in their first season of play. On 14 November 2010, Holger Fach guided Astana to their first Kazakhstan Cup success.[11] However, they were ineligible for a UEFA license since they had not yet existed for at least three years.[12] So they were not able to start in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League. On 2 March 2011, Astana beat Tobol 2–1 and won the Kazakhstan Super Cup for the first time.[13] In 2012, Miroslav Beránek led Astana to win their second Kazakhstan Cup.[14] In July 2013, the club made a debut in Europe playing in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League against Botev Plovdiv. Astana lost both matches, 0–1 at home and 0–5 away.[15][16] On 4 July 2013, Astana officially joined to newly created Astana Presidential Sports Club, the organization supported by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna to combine the main sports teams in Astana.[5][17]

Stoilov years: Domestic dominance and European breakthrough (2014–2018)

Match against AIK in 2014

On 22 June 2014, the club announced that former Botev Plovdiv manager Stanimir Stoilov was appointed as new head coach.[18] In 2014–15 European campaign, Astana played four ties in the UEFA Europa League qualifying stages. In the first round they beat Pyunik 6–1 on aggregate, then raised more than a few eyebrows in the second round, beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 3–1 on aggregate thanks to a convincing home leg win.[19] The third qualifying round saw Astana cruise past AIK, with a 4–1 aggregate score. In the play-off round, Astana was defeated by Villarreal.[20] On 1 November 2014, Astana became Kazakhstan Premier League champions for the first time in their history, securing the championship with a 3–0 home win against Kaisar.[21]

On 1 March 2015, Astana won the 2015 Kazakhstan Super Cup, beating Kairat 3–2 in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended with the score 0–0. On 26 August 2015, the club became the first team from Kazakhstan to reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, after beating APOEL 2–1 on aggregate in the play-off round.[22][23] They were drawn in Group C alongside Benfica, Atlético Madrid and Galatasaray,[24] where they managed to obtain four points in six games after four draws and two losses.[25] On 8 November 2015, Astana clinched their second Kazakhstan Premier League title beating Aktobe 1–0 at home in the last tour game.[26] On 9 December 2015, the club extended their contract with Stanimir Stoilov for the next two years.[27]

In the 2016 season, Astana was eliminated from UEFA Champions League after two stages, being defeated by Celtic in the third qualifying round 3–2 on aggregate. However, the club qualified for the UEFA Europa League group stage, beating BATE in the play-off round. On 26 October 2016, Astana won their third straight championship under Stoilov's rule. On 19 November 2016, the club won the 2016 Kazakhstan Cup, defeating Kairat 1–0. Their 2017 Champions League bid was stopped short once again by Celtic, this time in the playoff round. Following an embarrassing 5–0 rout in Glasgow, they failed to reach the group stages in an 8–4 defeat on aggregate. However, Astana reached another milestone by reaching the knockout phase of the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League after finishing second in the group phase. Astana extended further its domestic dominance by winning fourth consecutive title in the 2017 season.[28] On 8 January 2018, Stoilov signed a new contract with Astana,[29] but left the club on 1 March 2018 to take over the vacant Kazakhstan national football team's manager position.[30]

Post Stoilov years: (2018–)

On the same day as Stoilov was announced as the new manager of Kazakhstan, 1 March 2018, Grigori Babayan was announced as the Astana's interim manager.[31] On 1 June 2018, Astana announced Roman Hryhorchuk as the club's new manager.[32] On 17 August 2018, Hryhorchuk left Astana on compassionate leave with Grigori Babayan again stepping in as Caretaker Manager.[33] Astana announced on 3 January 2019 that Hryhorchuk would return to lead the team after missing the second half of the 2018 season due to family reasons.[34] On 14 January 2019, Paul Ashworth was announced as the new executive director of FC Astana.[35] Hryhorchuk left Astana by mutual consent on 13 January 2020.[36] The following day, 14 January 2020, Michal Bílek was announced as the new head coach of Astana.[37]

On 18 February 2020, Astana revealed a new logo to commemorate 10-years of the club.[38]

On 26 August 2020, with Astana 2nd in the league and having just being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, Michal Bílek was sacked as manager, with Executive Director Paul Ashworth taking over in a caretaker capacity.[39] Ashworth his role as caretaker manager and Executive Director by mutual consent on 7 October 2020.[40] Two days later, 9 October, David Loria was announced as the clubs new Executive Director.[41] On 16 October 2020, former captain Andrey Tikhonov was appointed as the clubs new manager.[42]

Stadium


Astana's current home venue is Astana Arena. The stadium has been Astana's home since the mid of the 2009 season, when the club moved from the Kazhymukan Munaitpasov Stadium.[43] The stadium holds 30,254 and has a retractable roof. The inaugural match at the new stadium was a 2–1 win over the Kazakhstan national under-21 football team in a friendly match. It is also serves as a national stadium for the Kazakhstan national football team.

A panorama of Astana Arena from the Eastern Stand, showing from left to right the Southern Stand, the Western Stand and the Northern Stand

Colours and crest


Crest used as Lokomotiv Astana

The team's original crest was implemented in 2009 consisting of the team's name, Football Club Lokomotiv Astana, on a blue round frame and a blue coloured letter "L" in the center, meaning railway track. As the result of renaming in 2011, the club adopted a new crest. The crest consisted of the team's name with uppercase letters on an image of the ball. This was accompanied by the words "football club" in Kazakh and Russian languages on the top and bottom of the crest. On 23 January 2013, the club presented a new crest, which replicated the style and colours of the Lokomotiv Astana crest. The crest consisted an image of the ball in a shanyrak style and two Kazakh national patterns on each side.[44] The present club crest was introduced on 10 March 2014, and incorporated the Astana Presidential Club crest's style and colours as well as BC Astana, Astana Pro Team and Astana Dakar Team.[45] The crest consists of the team's name, Astana Football Club, under a flying ball.

Blue and white were initially the club's primary colours, the team's nickname was the "Blue-and-White". Blue was used to accent the home jersey while white was the main colour of the team's away kit. During the 2012 season, Astana wore yellow and blue striped shirts and blue shorts as home kit and wholly blue away kit. In 2013, they retrieved original colours used from 2009 to 2011. In 2013, the club joined to Astana Presidential Club and adopted its colours. The present club colours are sky blue and yellow. Astana's current shirt sponsor is Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna.[46] The club's first kit sponsorship was from national railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy who sponsored the club for a total of 4 years before ending the deal in 2013. The team's kit supplier is Adidas who have supplied the club kits since their inception.[46]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2009–2014 Adidas Kazakhstan Temir Zholy
2014– Samruk-Kazyna

Players


First team squad

As of 13 July 2021[47]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF  SRB Antonio Rukavina
5 DF  KAZ Mark Gurman
7 MF  BLR Max Ebong
8 MF  KAZ Islambek Kuat
10 MF  CRO Marin Tomasov
11 MF  ARM Tigran Barseghyan
15 DF  KAZ Abzal Beisebekov
17 FW  KAZ Abat Aymbetov (on loan from Krylia Sovetov)
18 DF  KAZ Sagi Sovet
19 DF  KAZ Lev Skvortsov
20 FW  MNE Fatos Bećiraj
21 DF  ESP Cadete
22 GK  KAZ Dmytro Nepohodov
No. Pos. Nation Player
24 DF  CRO Luka Šimunović
26 DF  ALB Eneo Bitri
29 MF  KAZ Madi Zhakypbayev
31 GK  KAZ Danil Podymksy
33 DF  MNE Žarko Tomašević
55 GK  KAZ Aleksandr Zarutskiy
65 MF  KAZ Meyrambek Kalmyrza
70 MF  KAZ Sultan Sagnayev
72 FW  KAZ Stanislav Basmanov
77 MF  POR Pedro Eugénio
80 FW  KAZ Vladislav Prokopenko
91 MF  KAZ Aldair Adilov
92 MF  MDA Valeriu Ciupercă

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
32 FW  CUW Rangelo Janga (at Apollon Limassol)
55 DF  KAZ Talgat Kusyapov (at Caspiy)
81 FW  KAZ Ramazan Karimov (at Caspiy)
No. Pos. Nation Player
87 MF  KAZ Zhaslan Kairkenov (at Atyrau)
99 FW  BIH Semir Smajlagić (at Kyzylzhar)

For recent transfers, see 2021 FC Astana season.

Retired numbers

No. Player Nationality Position Astana debut Last match Ref
1 Nenad Erić  Kazakhstan Goalkeeper 12 March 2011 27 November 2020 [48][49]

Non-playing staff


Management

Position Staff
General Manager Mikhail Gurman
Executive Director David Loria[41]
CEO'S Counselor Alexander Konochkin
Sporting Director Gani Kainazarov
CFO Erlan Akmagambetov
Senior Media Officer Dmitriy Nesterenko

Last updated: 14 October 2020
Source: FC Astana

Coaching staff

Position Staff
Manager Andrey Tikhonov
Assistant Manager Vladimir Yezhurov
Assistant Manager Nurken Mazbayev
First Team Goalkeeping Coach Nikolay Rodionov
First Team Fitness Coach Igor Kasyanenko
First Team Doctor Oleksandr Medvedev
First Team Physiotherapeutist Tadeush Perekhod
First Team Analyst Timur Kusainov
First Team Massagist Sergei Larin
First Team Administrator Vyacheslav Begunov

Last updated: 19 October 2020
Source: FC Astana

Notable managers

The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of Astana:

Name Period Trophies
Holger Fach 2010–2011 Kazakhstan Cup, Kazakhstan Super Cup
Miroslav Beránek 2012–2013 Kazakhstan Cup
Stanimir Stoilov 2014–2018 Kazakhstan Premier League (4), Kazakhstan Cup, Kazakhstan Super Cup
Grigori Babayan 2018 Kazakhstan Premier League, Kazakhstan Super Cup
Roman Hryhorchuk 2018–2020 Kazakhstan Premier League, Kazakhstan Super Cup
Michal Bílek 2020 Kazakhstan Super Cup

Honours


Winners (6): 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Winners (3): 2010, 2012, 2016
Winners (5): 2011, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020

Statistics


Seasons

Season Rank P W D L F A GD Pts Cup EL CL
20092262006542430602R
20104321481041281350Won
20114321679503713332R
2012526137634241046Won
2013232195856282838QF1QR
20141321810463263745SFPO
2015132207555263946Runner-upGS
2016132234547212673WonGS3QR
2017133254474215176R16R32PO
2018133245468224077R16GSPO
2019133223867283969R16GS1QR
20203201136322111362QR1QR
Key

Rank = Rank in the Kazakhstan Premier League; P = Played; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points; Cup = Kazakhstan Cup; EL = UEFA Europa League; CL = UEFA Champions League.
in = Still in competition; — = Not attended; 1R = 1st round; 2R = 2nd round; 3R = 3rd round; 1QR = 1st qualifying round; 2QR = 2nd qualifying round; 3QR = 3rd qualifying round; PO = Play-off round; GS = Group stage; ; R32 = Round of 32; R16 = Round of 16; QF = Quarterfinals; SF = Semifinals; F = Final.

European record

As of match played 29 July 2021
Competition Pld W D L GF GA GD
UEFA Champions League 31 11 10 10 37 45 −8
UEFA Europa League 45 17 9 21 64 74 –10
UEFA Europa Conference League 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1
Total 80 29 19 32 104 121 –15
Key

1QR = 1st qualifying round; 2QR = 2nd qualifying round; 3QR = 3rd qualifying round; PO = Play-off round; GS = Group stage; R32 = Round of 32.

UEFA coefficient

The table shows the position of FC Astana (highlighted), based on their UEFA coefficient club ranking, and four clubs, which are closest to FC Astana's position (the two clubs with the higher coefficient and the two with the lower coefficient).

Rank Team Points
62 RSC Anderlecht25,000
63 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim23,000
64 Astana22,500
65 Standard Liège22,000
66 AZ Alkmaar21,500

As of 23 April 2021.[51]

Records

As of match played 23 April 2021

  • Record European victory 4–0 v. Maccabi Tel Aviv (19 October 2017)
  • Record European defeat  6–0 v. AZ (24 October 2019)
  • Record League victory 7–0 v. Atyrau (9 September 2017)
  • Record League defeat 0–5 v. Irtysh (26 May 2011)[52]
  • Most League wins in a row 8, 7 April 2009 – 30 April 2009[53]
  • Most League appearances 227, Nenad Erić 2011–2020
  • Most appearances overall 318, Nenad Erić 2011–2020
  • Most goals scored in a League season 19, Junior Kabananga 2017 & Marin Tomasov 2019
  • Most goals scored in a season overall 26, Marin Tomasov 2019
  • Youngest first-team player Madi Zhakypbayev, 15 years, 11 months, 21 days[54]
  • Oldest first-team player Andrey Tikhonov, 39 years, 9 days[55]

Most appearances

As of Match played 29 July 2021

Players played over 50 competitive, professional matches only. Appearances as substitute (goals in parentheses) included in total.

Name Years League Cup Super Cup Europe Total
1 Abzal Beisebekov2009, 2012–present237 (11)24 (1)9 (0)57 (2)327 (17)
2 Nenad Erić2011–2020227 (0)16 (0)7 (0)68 (0)318 (0)
3 Dmitri Shomko2011, 2014–2020194 (7)8 (0)7 (0)67 (5)276 (12)
4 Yevgeny Postnikov2014–2021149 (2)10 (0)6 (0)58 (3)223 (5)
5 Marin Aničić2014–2019148 (5)7 (0)5 (0)52 (6)212 (11)
6 Tanat Nusserbayev2011–2016152 (46)18 (5)3 (0)24 (3)197 (54)
7 Serikzhan Muzhikov2014, 2015–2019122 (16)10 (1)3 (0)54 (2)189 (19)
8 Patrick Twumasi2013, 2014, 2015–2018123 (48)9 (6)4 (0)35 (15)171 (69)
9 Roman Murtazayev2017–2019, 2021110 (25)3 (0)4 (0)36 (5)152 (30)
10 Marat Shakhmetov2009–2014131 (6)17 (0)1 (0)2 (0)151 (6)
10 Marin Tomasov2017, 2018–Present107 (50)2 (1)5 (3)37 (14)151 (68)

Top goalscorers

As of Match played 29 July 2021
Competitive, professional matches only, appearances including substitutes appear in brackets.
Name Years League Cup Super Cup Europe Total
1 Patrick Twumasi2013, 2014, 2015–201848 (123)6 (9)0 (4)15 (35)69 (171)
2 Marin Tomasov2017, 2018–Present50 (107)1 (2)3 (5)14 (37)68 (151)
2 Tanat Nusserbayev2011–201646 (152)5 (18)0 (3)3 (24)54 (197)
4 Junior Kabananga2015–2018, 2018–201931 (77)3 (5)2 (2)6 (44)42 (128)
5 Foxi Kéthévoama2012, 2013–201526 (109)5 (13)1 (2)2 (22)34 (146)
6 Roman Murtazayev2017–2019, 202125 (110)0 (3)0 (4)5 (36)30 (152)
7 Igor Bugaiov2010–201118 (57)6 (6)2 (1)- (-)26 (64)
8 Đorđe Despotović2016–201814 (53)3 (4)0 (2)3 (19)20 (78)
9 Sergei Ostapenko2010, 2012–2014, 201516 (82)2 (13)1 (1)- (-)19 (96)
9 Serikzhan Muzhikov2014, 2015–201916 (122)1 (10)0 (3)2 (54)19 (189)

Partnerships


On 11 November 2013 it was announced that Astana had partnered with the La Liga team Real Sociedad to cooperate in terms of exchange of skills and knowledge, organization of friendly matches, training camps for youth development and grassroots football.
On 29 April 2014 it was announced that Astana Presidential Club had signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Galatasaray Sports Club. The memorandum chiefly provides for cooperation between the Astana and Galatasaray S.K. football departments.

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