Are they still playing football?

Apparently so. Another 600-odd crowd saw TamU beat GBK 2-0 yesterday, and what looked like a similar number saw HJK lose to Honka. This means ‘klubi’ will not be competing in europe next year, and Honka will go straight into the UEFA Cup. As Mika Lehkuosuo pointed out before the game, Honka did not lose a game in this season’s Intertoto and would ave a good go at the UEFA Cup if they got the chance. HJK lost their away leg 3-1 against Aalborg, whereas Honka went out on away goals against the same opposition. And at least now there should be a game or two at Pohjolan Stadion next year.

HJK have a Sierra Leonian striker called Medo, who came to Finland in 2003 for the World Under-17 Championships and never left. 22 of the 23 squad members decided similarly. Medo is a livewire striker, very very fast, and caused some problems early on. He faded after getting kicked in the face, but if that’s the only way to stop him he has a bright future. At 20 years of age he might well attract the attention of bigger clubs next year.

When the second half started I became distracted somehow, but on my limited viewing I would advise Antti Muurinen to move Mika Nurmela back into some kind of sweeper role. He’s not quick enough to get away with what he’s trying to do, and he can be relied on to get one booking in each half if the referee does his job, simply by being too late for a challenge. He’s still a good player, but I think his experience would be much better used in more defensive areas where he has more time to anticipate.

The Cup final is next week, on Sunday. Your last chance to see Finnish club football this season should be a decent game, a nice prelude to the Azerbaijan game the following week. That’s the big one for everyone involved in Finnish football – the cup final is a route into europe and that’s already been decided. I expect TamU will want this one more and come out on top, and Finland to beat Azerbaijan 2-0.

The Azeris have a new coach after sacking Shakhin Diniyev, with caretaker Gjoko Hadzievski looking to bring glory (or maybe just a couple of points and a decent seeding) to the oil rich Caspian autocracy. He’s from Macedonia, something of a nomad, whose biggest job would appear to have been at CSKA Sofia. CSKA are friends of Finnish football, so hopefully the FK Baku coach knows which side his bread is buttered.


6 Responses

  1. Dunno if you mean Kabba Samura or Medo, since Medo is an anchor man in the midfield.

    And more than one of the Sierra Leone boys went back home. For example Obi Metzger (who came back to Finland and Atlantis a bit later) and Samuel Barlay (who went to Sweden and then came to Mariehamn as a loan player last season).

  2. He was certainly playing as a striker on Saturday. Is he normally an anchor man? He’s built like a 12 year old.

  3. Medo played the first half as a sort of deep-lying striker and that was certainly the first time this season. One of Muurinen’s new ideas, I suppose.

    Armstrong even employed Medo as a fullback and a halfback. Just to prove how mad the dancing geordie really was.

    BTW, Medo won the supporters poll for player of the year:

  4. Hang on a second. They’ve been playing Nurmela in a more advanced position than Medo? Wondrous incompetence there. way to neutralise your paciest player, too.

  5. Well, yes on the Nurmela question. The best games he played were however in the playmaker position. He’s a bit too slow for the right wing spot and frankly is lost when employed at fullback.

    Medo might be the paciest player in the squad but I don’t think that should be a reason to make him go up and down the wing or act as a forward. The fact that he won the supporters poll so overwhelmingly does tell that just was so good in his main role as a defensive midfielder.

    The next season is a different story. Let’s see what the walrus comes up with.

  6. I bow to your knowledge on Medo, he’s obviously a quality player wherever he slots in. Nurmela is embarrassingly slow though, he can’t play as an attacking midfielder. he should use his ‘experience’ further back, as a sweeper. In my opinion.

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