Waste of time

FC Inter won the Sami Hyypiä Award (or whatever it is called), the trophy given out to the Liigacup winner. That is basically all there is left to say about the game, because the game was just horrible. TPS could do nothing at all and Inter had a couple of chances, making them deserved victors. However, it was quite fitting that the only goal of the game was scored by Diego Corpache following a set piece.

Not once have I seen such a poor performance from TPS under Martti Kuusela’s reign. In a pre-match TV interview, centre back Jarno Heinikangas told that the idea is to get through the Inter midfield simply by playing the ball all the way up to the strikers. In simple English that means long balls, and there was no way it was going to work with the only target player, Armand One missing and the opposition having the best pair of central defenders in Finland.

Inter manager Job Dragtsma tactically outclassed Martti Kuusela. Inter simply stuck to what they have, an excellent defence in Corpache and Jos Hooiveld (who was named man of the match) and a good playmaker, Dominic Chatto. His TPS counterpart, Riku Riski quite rarely had a decent touch to the ball and Simo Valakari and Chris Cleaver could not do much to keep Chatto away from causing trouble. Furthermore, TPS were sub-standard at both flanks. Mika Ääritalo was not having an easy day as the left midfielder, and Sami Rähmönen was definitely not having the best of nights, either.

That is not to say Inter were good, though. I would say – and I guess most Inter fans with some sense of objectivity to them will agree with me – that Inter won not because they were the best team, but because they were not the worst team. (I would say that with the performance TPS put in, being worse than them would have been against all the laws of nature).

The much-anticipated derby spirit was there, with some 60 Inter supporters cheering for the team in black and blue, and 150 or so TPS fans chanting for their club. The supporters were by far the best thing out there. Other than that, the game was a most horrible – and falsified – example of Finnish football to be shown to those who are not regular visitors at the Veikkausliiga stadia. The football was awful and I really do not think there was a four-digit number of people watching (even if the official amount somehow ended up being almost 2000).

Inter, both fans and players, seemed to enjoy winning the tournament, though. And why wouldn’t they, since this is the first time that the senior squad has got silverware to bring home in the club’s 17-year history. And the fact that TPS was so bad does not decrease the value of their achievement at all.

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Inter celebrate. The photo is from Seppo, via the Finnish Football pool

What does decrease the value of the victory, however, is the fact that it was just Liigacup. I am not saying this through bitterness, being a TPS supporter and having lost the derby final. Seriously, something should be done about the competition that allows five subsitutions and trial players. That something, in my opinion, would be forgetting about the competition altogether. The final seemed to me like neither of the teams had real passion for winning the Liigacup title, and I am not surprised. Winning the competition just means nothing, except an indifferent 20 000 euros. The group stages are played in whatever pitches the teams happen to have at their disposal, and the pre-final stages are played in a small indoor football hall. That does not make Liigacup worthy of the reputation of a “national competition”.

It is not just me saying this, but supporters from several clubs. Liigacup seems to be there so the Veikkausliiga crew can brag about saying that “the competitional football season lasts 9 months”. Liigacup is not much of a competition, though.

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5 Responses

  1. After seeing Corpache celebrating his game-winner and the overall tension in the game, I wouldn’t say “just Liigacup”. Admitted, the games in the group stage were nothing more than just pre-season friendlies, but the excitement did grow a bit after that.

    As long as we can’t extend the season, Liigacup deserves it’s place. Lundtsröm’s suggestion about giving the winners a place in the Intertoto could change the attitudes for the competition.

  2. The Intertoto Cup will be abolished in 2009, so it’s a bit too late for that suggestion…

  3. I think ‘waste of time’ is putting it a bit strongly, but it’s clear the competition isn’t capturing many imaginations. I’d like to see the season begin a bit earlier and have more attention focused on the proper cup-it’s ridiculous that MIFK play in the league cup but not the cup.

  4. I concure that winning the title was a big deal to Inter. After seeing the celebrations and the sheer joy in the players faces, it must have ment something. And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the first ever silverwear for FC Inter?

    Btw.. a really good picture you have there 😉

  5. Yeah, thanks for the pic Seppo! Keep them coming, we really appreciate the help. I have to say I quite like Inter, they always seem to play good football. Fingers crossed the curse of League Cup success doesn’t apply to them.

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