|IFK Mariehamn||–||AC Oulu||0||– 0|
|VPS||–||FC Lahti||1||– 0|
Veikkausliiga had two games and only one goal this weekend, anybody interested can watch the ‘highlights’ here. VPS pulled clear a little bit, and MIFK and Oulu now occupy the bottom two spots. Sometimes the relegation race makes a league more exciting, I don’t think that will be the case in Veikkausliiga 2007.
Much more interesting is the race to see who will replace them in Veikkausliiga. I was at Tammela to see TPV vs KuPs, a big game played in darkening skies under floodlights. I should probably try and limit myself to one ‘Tammela is great’ ramble per post, but it has to be said – this is a brilliant stadium, one that is exactly suited to Finnish football, and it looks brilliant under lights. Incidentally, the floodlights were purchased by Tim Rowe, who is now a Tampere United director.
KuPs started the brighter and looked the more likely to score. They have a bulldog of a centre forward who battered the TPV defence – looking at my programme I think he was called Miikka Oinonen, but I couldn’t be sure. Oinonen looks a bit slimmer in his picture on the KuPs website.
There was a big crowd of over 700 with a lot of KuPs fans present. This brought the best out of the old timers supporting TPV, and there was a decent atmosphere with plenty of shouting at the more reckless challenges that went in. There were a few, and credit must go to the referee for letting the game flow. Finnish refs are often pernickety and get annoyed at the strangest things, but Antti Munukka did a good job of letting both teams fight with just the right level of ‘edge’.
TPV scored early on, against the run of play frankly. After that they dominated the game for the middle 45 minutes or so, until they tired and KuPs came back into it and grabbed the equaliser to make it 1-1. KuPs looked like a professional team whereas TPV seemed more like a semi-pro club raising their game for a cup tie. TPV could have scored on several occasions, Makela spurning a one on one being the most wasteful incident. They probably don’t have quite enough to challenge for promotion, which is a shame as it’d be great to see Tampere derbies (or indeed any Veikkausliiga football at all) at Tammela. KuPs will certainly be there or thereabouts though, they have a good team and the fitness that will tell against the lesser teams.
That result kept KuPs top of the league, and RoPs began their summer home marathon with a 2-1 win against JJK that keeps them in touch and confident of success. Friend of FiF Jon Burklo gives his view here.
Here are the standings:
|KuPS||11||6||5||0||23 – 8||23|
|PK-35||11||7||2||2||21 – 9||23|
|JJK||11||6||3||2||21 – 9||21|
|RoPS||11||6||3||2||19 – 14||21|
|TPV||11||5||4||2||17 – 13||19|
|TP-47||11||4||4||3||16 – 12||16|
|Atlantis||10||4||2||4||11 – 12||14|
|VIFK||11||3||4||4||9 – 16||13|
|PP-70||11||3||3||5||12 – 19||12|
|KPV||11||2||6||3||9 – 16||12|
|GBK||11||3||1||7||12 – 20||10|
|FC Hämeenlinna||10||2||2||6||9 – 14||8|
|JIPPO||11||1||4||6||10 – 20||7|
|Klubi-04||11||1||3||7||10 – 17||6|
Jyrki Heliskoski has been doing his bit for the national side again, moaning about foreigners in the league. I can’t really understand his view, if all Finnish footballers stayed in Finland he’d have a pretty crappy team. I wish more English players would play abroad, they might learn to pass to a team mate then. But then sport makes even the most liberal of commentators into nationalists, as my fellow FiF contributor Aapo demonstrates….
I noticed in this week’s Veikkaaja more Pasi Rautiainen speculation, including this time the assertion that TVMK and Levadia Tallinn are ‘Russian clubs’. I thought I’d check this out, and my friend at Postimees told me ‘Russian clubs play in the Russian league, and Rautiainen will stay at FC Flora’. I’m sure it’s a good story to do field work and ‘research’ on, but really.
EDIT-TVMK and Levadia both started with a majority of Russians, but both now have a mix of players. Estonian football doesn’t really have mass appeal in the same way as it does in other countries, so a definite cultural link is difficult to define. most games get less than a thousand people, which doesn’t set the pulse racing quite like rioting over a statue.