Yes, it’s gonna be the derby

Yes, local rivals FC Inter and TPS will be playing each other in the Liigacup final. The semi finals were played on Saturday in Helsinki (see the post before last for some whining). TPS won 3-2 against FC Lahti while Inter beat Honka 4-2.

There was nothing much between TPS and Lahti during the first 20 or so minutes of the game. Jarno Heinikangas put the ball home in the 14th minute after a TPS corner. After four minutes Jonne Kemppinen scored what was the most beautiful goal I have seen since last year (see the video).

TPS took control after that, with Kasper Hämäläinen putting TPS back in front some eight minutes before half time. Super-sub Riku Riski scored another in the 60th minute and I thought the game was as good as over. TPS were not superior, but FC Lahti could not really create chances. Berat Sadik headed home during additional time to make it look like a match, but TPS pretty much held on to the ball for the remaining couple of minutes and went on to the final.

Both teams had a few important players missing. In fact, Lahti only had three players and a keeper on the bench and the likes of 19 year old Eetu Sassila were in the starting eleven. The goalkeeper, Juha Tuomi, came on when Mika Ääritalo was trying to reach the ball for a breakaway and ended up running over Viktor Szentpeteri’s head.

TPS, on the other hand, were missing their top scorers, Armand One and Mikko Paatelainen, as well as playmaker Hamza Aït Ouamar. They were doing quite well without them, however.

I was not there to see FC Inter beat Honka 4-2. Judging by the opinions from their supporters, Honka was not much of a challenge for Inter.

Timo Furuholm put Inter in front in the 6th minute. Ats Purje, who came on as a sub, doubled the lead in the 68th minute. What followed was an immediate response as Jussi Vasara scored two minutes later, only to see Ats Purje adding another to his tally after a minute or so. A little bit later Mika Mäkitalo put the game beyond doubt, scoring the fourth for Inter 86 minutes into the game. Honka got some consolation as Aleksander Kokko scored one more for Honka in the 88th minute.

What follows will be a derby final – in Helsinki. Turun Sanomat reported that there had been talks about playing the game at Veritas Stadion, but the guys working at the ground laughed it off. What the hell, shouldn’t the pitch be okay by the beginning of April if it’s for the purpose of playing football?! (Will be writing stuff on this topic in the near future.) This is just sad, because I think the game would have attracted some 5000 or more people if it was played in Turku. I don’t think the people in Helsinki will bother.

Well, it seems like the fans won’t mind. The supporters are collecting names of people traveling to see Saturday’s final. Inter supporters have 27 names on their list, while TPS fans have collected 82 names. While it might be just another game for some, a derby is always a derby for the supporters.

Saturday might turn out great for TPS, since their women’s team won PuiU on penalties on Sunday and will also play in the Liigacup final – a game that will take place at Finnair Stadium on Saturday before the derby.

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2 Responses

  1. I agree with you (as does almost everybody) that the final should take place in Turku but as you said the pitch at Veritas is not in a condition to host a football match just yet.

    That pretty much underlines the reason why the Finnish football season starts so late. We somehow lack the ability to take care of our football pitches. Or the people responsible just don’t care enough. It’s not just coincidence that the football season has already begun in Norway, Sweden and Russia (even Estonia).

    In Helsinki region there are two big grounds with artificial turf (Finnair Stadium and Pohjola Stadium) and it shouldn’t be like that since Helsinki is the southest place we play football in a Veikkausliiga level. OK, when it comes to Finnair Stadium, there are many flaws which I think you have covered before but even the players say that they don’t want to play on that turf. Luckily there will natural grass for at next season at least.

    I didn’t see the Inter – Honka match but Honka was suffering from same problems that Lahti and they had many young players in their squad who probably won’t even feature in the Veikkausliiga this season. But all credit to Inter for reaching the finals. And now that TPS are playing without One (suspension) Inter even might have a slight chance of winning it on saturday. I’ll definitely be there. It’s not everyday you see the Turku derby in Helsinki.

    btw. there is also live coverage on Urheilukanava starting 18:30 with the studio and the game kicking off at 19:00.

    Finally I predict that there will be a crowd of around 1200 which really is a shame. With Honka or HJK there would have been a bigger crowd but at least HJK is sh*t!

  2. I totally agree with you, the season should start earlier – late March, early April or so. Climate is not the reason, because they already play in Sweden, Estonia, Norway and Russia as you pointed out.
    Maybe the Finns are not so good with the pitches, but then again, they haven’t really been challenged, have they? I mean, why would they hurry and have the pitch in perfect condition in late March if they are told that the season starts a month later.

    There are some dreadful examples, such as the Tampere incident before the Finnish Cup semi final last year, but then again the pitch has usually been great in Lahti when the league starts, so I think there is not much reason not to start the season earlier. More could be done with little investments.

    More on the game as well as this very topic coming up later this week!

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