RoPS 0 TPS 1

So Liigacup Group 1 is over as far as TPS are concerned. They are top at the moment, but Honka are not done yet and can still beat TPS due to better goal difference, provided they can win their last game.

I only saw the second half, but I heard the first half was crap and neither team had many chances, except for Ääritalo hitting the crossbar for TPS. RoPS weren’t too special. Their defence was well organized and TPS had a hard time trying to get through, but offensively RoPS offered nothing. Mika Nurmela surprised by being one of the worst if not the worst player on the pitch. He never seemed to find his teammates and mainly concentrated on getting on Simo Valakari’s nerves (and feet). Despite numerous decent efforts, he only managed to pick up a booking during additional time. RoPS keeper Kalle Rönkkö played well, but other than that I cannot pick out individuals.

TPS surprisingly lined up with a 3-4-3 formation. Sometimes it could have been called 3-3-3, however, since Sami Rähmönen (usually right back) played midfield and was not very competent. Jani Sarajärvi played pretty well as left back, considering that he was one of the worst players of the team last season. Titi Essomba could do pretty much nothing to challenge Sarajärvi.

Armand One seems to have lost weight during the winter. Tonight he even looked quick at times, it was only a matter of seconds before he was beyond the horizon (well, almost). Armand deservedly finished the match with his beautiful 62nd minute winning goal and it seems like he will be a useful player for the club this year.

Other than that, super-sub Riku Riski looked lively and assisted One in scoring the winning goal. Antti Hakala had decent chances, but he wasted them all. Anyway, the match seemed to be experimenting for both teams, TPS fielding a new formation and RoPS making four substitutions (five substitutions allowed in Liigacup).

RoPS are good at defending, but scoring seems to be a problem. They have scored once in their four Liigacup fixtures, so I predict they will be fighting to avoid relegation unless they can solve the problem.

Practically, TPS were through to the quarter finals even before tonight’s match but now it’s for sure. TPS will now do a quick tour of Sweden, playing Syrianska FC on Saturday and Väsby United on Wednesday.

Interestingly, the match was played in Turku despite RoPS being the home team. Rovaniemi does not have an indoor hall with a large enough pitch. Another option would have been playing the game in Oulu, but TPS did not want to since they had the chance to avoid making a 1200 km round trip.

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3 Responses

  1. “Mika Nurmela surprised by being one of the worst if not the worst player on the pitch. He never seemed to find his teammates and mainly concentrated on getting on Simo Valakari’s nerves (and feet). Despite numerous decent efforts, he only managed to pick up a booking during additional time.”

    That sounds exactly like Nure to me. He’s obviously got talent, vision and skill, so why does he feel the need to rely on his physical presence (which is declining) and his influence on referees (which is not) ?

    I’m looking forward to seeing One play this year. I have a feeling he’s going to be top scorer in Veikkausliiga, and if he is, TPS may take some stopping.

  2. Well, to be honest, the word “surprised” is a little misleading, since Nure was far from good last season, like the rest of his team. It seems to me like he’s trying to be something he isn’t anymore. He could be a useful player if he was concentrating on playing.

  3. Armand’s all set up for a smashing 15 goal breakthrough season in Veikkausliiga, there’s no doubt about it. He seems well focused now and yes,

    I wouldn’t be too worried about Mika Nurmela either. Getting on everybody’s nerves (and feet) is just his usual business, like Egan said. Nure is greatly experienced as a player, he will be ready when the big games are here.

    Things are looking somewhat odd in the RoPS front though. Sacking your head coach (and stabbing him in the back in media) just four weeks before the season start just isn’t the wisest thing to do, really.

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