So, all the Finnish teams have played their second legs in the European competitions, and all of them lost. I only saw the Tampere United game, as the others weren’t televised.
TamU played as they should have done in the first leg – keeping things tight, roughing up Riseth, breaking with poise and speed. But unfortunately the referee was a bit of a homer and gave out silly yellow cards to tamU players, that will hurt the UEFA Cup challenge. The goals were well taken and showed the difference between the sides, but at least they weren’t as bad as the first two goals at Ratina. TamU got a bit of pride back and could have scored, but they played better and learnt more than they did in the first game.
It was interesting to see that Lindström mentioned European football as one of the pull factors in signing a new contract with TamU. He is 25 and a lot of Finnish players look to move abroad at this stage of their careers, but he has decided that TamU offer as good a chance to progress as any. That’s pretty rare in Finnish football.
In the UEFA Cup first round TamU will now face Bordeaux, a tough tie but not an impossible one. Bordeaux have had a mixed start to the season and Laurent Blanc may come under pressure if form doesn’t pick up soon. They won their first two games but have struggled for form a bit since then, recovering a little with a 1-0 win away at bottom club Le Mans on Wednesday. It’s a bit of a shame fr the second leg attendance that the away leg is first, but that may be how TamU like it if they can get the crowd to ‘turn’ by keeping things tight.
In Veikkausliiga there were some dodgy penalties and three home wins last night. Patrick Bantamoi had a storming game, saving two of the penalties, spoiled slightly by his silly rush to meet a cross that resulted in Mika Ääritalo’s winner. Lahti won the derby with KTP and Honka beat VPS as expected. Highlights here.
Looking ahead to the weekend, KTP-MyPa looks to be the pick of the games, followed by TamU at Inter. The football will be better at Veritas, but KTP-MyPa is a bit of a derby and should have a good atmosphere.
One thing to note though – TPS got another 8,000 plus crowd yesterday, I think that is their third this season. That’s what happens when you have a proper team playing in a proper stadium. There has been some talk in the media about a new stadium for Tampere, and I am all in favour of it. At Tammela, at Ratina, hell, even in Hervanta – just get the thing built so that Tampere’s football teams can compete on a level playing field.