Just look at the two goals he scored yesterday. I’ll be honest and say I’ve not come across him before, but according to Wikipedia he’s had trials at Southampton and Djurgården already, and he’s only 19. He’s scored 5 goals in 9 games this season, from midfield. We’ll see how he plays at Ratina on Sunday.
The top of the table clash in Valkeakoski was what I think football journalists are supposed to call ‘absorbing’. The first 30 minutes were absolutely dominated by Tampere, as they closed down space and refused to give Haka any options. Key to this was Jussi Kujala at centre back. His distribution and reading of the game are excellent, and in the first half he created the best opening with his pass to Tomi Petrescu, which is in Iltalehti’s highlights (see link above, use the sidebar).
He’s a bit weak defensively, though. For all their dominance Tampere couldn’t score, and it was inevitable that Haka would come back into it at some point. They did, and had some good chances despite never really getting the upper hand in the first half. Honours even in the first half.
After the break Tampere tired badly. They lost control of the midfield, and Haka hit the woodwork twice. Popovich played very well. Tampere are a resilient team though, and they came back into it immediately after Daniel Nwoke’s introduction. The first action after he came on was a corner, which he flicked on. From the flick the ball was crossed back in and Lindström headed home at the far post. 1-0, should be game over for an experienced team like Tampere.
When Sakari Saarinen broke free in injury time, he could have taken the ball into the corner, he could have shot and at the very least put the ball behind the goal and allowed Tampere to regroup from the restart, or he could have passed to Daniel Nwoke in acres of space, just to his left with an open goal to shoot at.
He did none of these things, preferring to try to dribble around the entire defence before weakly shooting against the defender’s legs. Of course, Haka went straight up the other end and scored. I’ll be surprised if he plays in the next few weeks, Ari Hjelm tends to remember these things. Saarinen has struggled to regain last season’s form, and he may be looking at a spell on the sidelines now. Tampere are not short of midfielders.
I was surprised by the number of Tampere United fans in the ground. It’s a little bit sad that they have strict segregation for Sinikaarti, but nothing at all for the rest-so you have 80 people singing and 200 odd sitting quietly in the next stand. And there is no ‘end’ for the away fans so they might join in the singing and stuff. As it was, I didn’t realise till Tampere scored that half of our stand had travelled from Tampere. Dedicated stands for away fans would be a very good innovation in Finnish football.