I should make a declaration here: I have strong Musa sympathies. It wasn’t really a day to be neutral, given that the top of the Kolmonen table looked like this in the morning, before the last game of the season:
FC Jazz Juniors, pl 17 pts 45
Musan Salama, pl 17 pts 44
So Musa needed to win to overtake Jazz and get into the play-offs for promotion to Kakkonen. They are a tortuous procedure involving two sides from Vaasa and central Ostrobothnia and one each from Tampere and Satakunta. It is not usually that difficult to get promotion that way, as a lot of clubs don’t try too hard because they cannot afford the increased costs and regular drubbings that would come with a season in Kakkonen.
But I digress. Musa, always the third club in Pori behind PoPa and FC Jazz, have in recent years yo-yo’d between Kakkonen and Kolmonen. Jazz are the heirs of PPT, who my more biased contacts in Musa regard as being slightly flasher and brasher than is altogether necessary. The reformed team gained successive promotions in 2006 and 2007, after tax-paying difficulties forced the senior side into bankruptcy in 2004.
That unfortunate incident is the reason they are called ‘juniors’, despite one or two beer guts and bald patches among their players. They have also signed a couple of players from Musa this season, adding a little bit more needle to what was already a big match for both sides.
There is a thriving transfer market among the Pori clubs, and indeed one of the anticipated effects of PoPa’s elevation to Ykkönen is an influx of new players to their squad, which will in turn free up a better standard of player for Musa and Jazz to sign. The local paper carried a story about PoPa’s recruitment plans for next season (they secured promotion last weekend), illustrated by a picture of Antti Sumiala – 85% owner and centre forward at PoPa; used to play for NEC Nijmegen, Vaduz, and Kansas City Wizards, among many others – holding up a globe in front of a rickety looking plane that hopefully isn’t in service.
The plan is that PoPa will look to South America for their players next year, using Piracaia‘s contacts. Their budget this season is €200,000, and manager Rami Nieminen says that they are looking to increase it by 30-50%. That would give them a budget of €260,000-€300,000 (I am a maths genius, I know), which is not too shabby at Ykkönen level and should allow them to compete.
Satakunnan Kansa’s Anne Sivula argues that they should use this to sign players who have left Pori and would like to return, citing Inter Turku goalkeeper Oskari Forsman’s recent comment that he would like to play Veikkausliiga football in Pori.
It is not a binary choice, of course. The ideal situation is to have high quality imports and motivated homegrown players, rather than headline catching Brazilians who might or might not succeed. Whichever route PoPa choose to take, they will sign new players and that will allow both Jazz and Musa to strengthen their sides, which will continue the renaissance of football in Pori. It’s not quite back to the level it was in the 1990s, but it’s getting there.
Anyway, the game. Christ, the game. Musa started as if they’d been drinking heavily last night, and were lucky to get to half time at 0-0. Jazz hit the post and sliced open Musa again and again, with Joao Gaetti showing a vision to spot passes that compensated for his slight paunch and lack of pace. Jarno Ruisniemi was quick and occasionally dangerous for Musa, but Jazz always seemed to have an extra man and Ruisniemi kept getting outnumbered.
There was a passage of play that amused me greatly, when the shouty Jazz bench encouraged their strikers to chase the ball down. The Musa defence, just shaking off their hangovers 20 minutes into the game, were a bit surprised but quickened their passing. Gaetti and his strike partner ran for a bit but after 30 seconds they needed a breather and dropped back to the halfway line.
This seemed to rouse Musa a little, and for 20 minutes either side of half time they were on top, culminating in a goal from Juha Vallin on 64 minutes. They then dropped a little too deep trying to defend the lead, but seemed pretty comfortable and when Jazz hit the woodwork again it looked like their moment had passed. Musa broke free on one occasion and inexplicably missed with three players forward and only the keeper to beat, and then, right at the end, Aleksi Nurminen headed the equaliser that takes Jazz into the play-offs.
There are a load more pictures here and here.
Filed under: Football in Finland archive, Kakkonen, Kolmonen, Ykkonen | Tagged: Aleksi Nurminen, Antti Sumiala, FC Jazz, FC Jazz Juniorit, FC Jazz-j, Inter Turku, Joao Gaetti, Juha Vallin, Kakkonen, Kansas City Wizards, Kolmonen, Musan Salama, NEC Nijmegen, Oskari Forsman, Piracaia, PoPa, Pori, PPT, Satakunnan Kansa, Vaduz, Ykkonen | 1 Comment »