Veikkausliiga transfer update

The new year has seen a flurry of confirmed transfers, as well as a few trials that might lead to permanent moves. Some clubs are busier than others, with one in particular seemingly in the business of fire-fighting rather than planning for the future right now. Tampere United have seen chairman Jari Viita depart, after a season in which they lost around €200,000. Viita’s company lost €2.7m last year, and he is not in a great position to bail out TamU.

Winter recruitment has therefore been a painful process for TamU, with 17 year-olds Johannes Mononen and Juha Pirinen joining the club from Jippo and Haka respectively, and Aleksei Kangaskolkka signing from MyPa. While the chance for youth to shine is welcome, the somewhat frantic efforts to offload TamU’s saleable assets point to a less settled strategy.

Tomi Petrescu has signed for Ascoli on a loan until the 15th of April, with the option to make the move permanent at that point, while Henri Myntti is bewilderingly spoilt for choice as he ponders which club to sign for. Myntti is a freakishly tall player, who used to be a blunder-prone centre back but was converted last season into a Veikkausliiga goal machine, playing up front for TamU and heading everything that came his way and bagging 13 goals in 23 league games.

Myntti went to FC Saturn on trial at the end of last season, signed an improved contract with TamU, and is now on trial at Hansa Rostock after apparently turning down a move to Romania. More on the fun and games at Ratina Stadium later in the week.

HJK full back Jukka Raitala is on trial at Newcastle United. Raitala had a good season with HJK, playing 23 games and impressing with Finland’s successful under-21 side, and has attracted attention from Greece as well as West Bromich Albion, where he had a trial in the autumn.

Other current trials include FF Jaro’s central defender Jonas Portin, who is currently at NEC Nijmegen, and Brazilian midfielder Luiz Vanderlei, who MyPa are looking over. Vanderlei has been at Tornio club TP-47 for the past two years and adds a touch of class to teams in need of a playmaker.

Finland 2 Austria 1: Under 21 European Championship Qualifing play off second leg, Finland v Austria LIVE BLOG

Finland win the shoot-out 4-2, what a game! Better go celebrate.


Finland go first, the end where SMJK are situated.

FIN: Sparv GOAL, 1-0
AUS: Stankovic, Maanoja saves! 1-0

FIN: Aho GOAL, 2-0
AUS: Beichler, GOAL, 2-1

FIN: Kokko GOAL, 3-1
AUS: Kavlak GOAL, 3-2

FIN: Hakola GOAL 4-3
AUS: Madl, must score, MISS! FINLAND ARE THROUGH!!!

120 mins: The match goes to penalties! Finland was slightly better in the second half of extra time, but it does not matter now.

118 mins: Furuholm gets a perfect chance to score, but is unable to convert. Might be an expensive miss! Hopefully not.

114 mins: Austria are now more patient and build decent attacks. However, as I type, Finland are close to scoring. Aho set off Kokko, but the flag went up.

113 mins: Beichler gets in a header from close range, but Maanoja saves.

112 mins: Austria get a free kick from some 40 metres, but Finland clear it easily.

109 mins: Austria are seemingly nervous. Finland keep attacking, but the Austrian defenders can hold the Finns back.

106 mins: Finland get a good start to the second half, with Hakola and Vasara both getting a chance. Austria brought on their last sub, Andreas Shicker replaced Harun Erbek.

104 mins: Clash of heads between Raitala and Madl, but they both seem to be okay. Madl came off worse, at any rate.

102 mins: A bad couple of minutes for Daniel Beichler. First he goes down in the box but gets no penalty, then he is rather dubiously called offside and booked for rolling the ball on after the whistle.

98 mins: Hakola falls down for no reason in particular, but gets a free kick. He delivers it himself but an Austrian heads it out for a throw. The attack ends when, of course, Mr Kelly gives a free kick to the defending team. as he does again as austria cross the halfway line….

96 mins: I’m acutely aware of being a bit too involved here. I celebrated both goals with an embarrassing little fist pump, as the desk prevents a proper stand-up celebration, but most of the journos were a little bit annoyed that their deadlines will be tough to meet now. Vasara wins a corner for Finland to be delivered by Hakola, but it’s claimed by Olejnik.

93 mins: An Austrian is writhing around on the floor. Raitala and then Hakola are unsure whether to kick the ball out, but Hakola eventually does. Florian Klein is now being ‘treated’ on the touchline, but runs back onto the pitch almost immediately.

92 mins: corner for Austria after Raitala fails to clear. The ref helpfully gives a free kick to Finland for pushing in the box.

91 mins: Vasara is feeling confident: he has a crack from fully 40 yards out, but hits it well wide.

90 mins: End of normal time. I did not expect Finland to pull that one out of the bag, to say the least. lets see what they can manage now. Tomi Maanoja just legged it down the tunnel, presumably for a toilet break – I wonder what happens if he doesn’t make it back in time? Oh, he’s back out again now. 30 minutes of extra time to come. both teams are in huddles on the pitch, the Austrians noticeably less vocal at the end of theirs than they were at the start of the game. They’ve made a substitution too, captain Dober coming off for Daniel Beichler.

89 mins: Vasara scores again! Great flick from Sparv to set Hakola free down the left, he crosses for Vasara to pivot and slam it into the bottom left hand corner. This is the first time at Veritas Stadium I’ve seen the whole crowd stand up to celebrate a goal. Three minutes off added time to come, Finlandcould still mess this up, as Juha helpfully points out….

88 mins: Awful miss from Furuholm when he elects to shoot from the right with kokko open and screaming for the ball in a central position.

86 mins: Sparv heads a poor goal kick back towards goal, Kokko runs onto it but volleys wide. Furuholm is booked for a late tackle near the centre circle. Finland are playing at a high tempo, they just need a bit more composure.

83 mins: Hakola crosses from the left but Kokko, peeling off to the penalty spot, pings it well wide. In the run up to the goal Stankovic had dived on the halfway line, expecting the usual soft free kick, but the referee didn’t give it. Stankovic was furious, hahahahahaha.

80 mins: GOAL for Finland! Furuholm fed Vasara, who took the ball on and slotted home from a tight angle.

77 mins: The referee is giving freekicks in central midfield all the time. It’s incredibly annoying. Turunen has done quite well for Finland, as has Hakola in the second half, but apart from that it’s difficult to pick out a good performance. Still only two goals needed though, all is not lost…

76 mins: Belarus are leading Turkey 2-0 in Borisov. That’s the way to overturn a one goal deficit at home….

73 mins: Jarno Parikka off for Kokko, Saurer off for Austria to be replaced by Michael Madl. Finland have another free kick they’re about to fire into the box…. and Austria clear. Furuholm has to juggle the ball when it comes back in, but Olejnik claims easily above his head.

72 mins: Substitutions on the way for both teams, it looks like Kokko is coming on for Finland. At last. Free kick for Finland in a dangerous area, easily cleared by Austria. They’re totally comfortable now, not troubled at all by Finland.

68 mins: Hakola takes a tumble in the area but the ref gives nothing. It could have been a penalty, but it was just strong defending really. Now the referee gives a free kick to Austria, that really was dubious, and it seems like the game is getting more disjointed. Hopefully the perceived injustice will wake the crowd up a bit.

66 mins: Parikka crosses for Furuholm, who just fails to make contact, and Finland win a corner from Hakola’s cross after he collects.

63 mins: Raitala breaks after Hakola beats two men, but the HJK left back cannot get past his and gives away a free kick for fouling Dober. The game’s slipping away from Finland.

59 mins: Sparv harshly booked by the Irish referee, whose name I notice now is Alan Kelly. Stankovic just missed from just 8 yards out.

56 mins: Some technical difficulties here, sorry for the break. Finland made another substitution while we were offline, Hetemaj being replaced by Vasara. I would really, really like to see Kokko introduced soon, but I wonder who would come off. Possibly Parikka. Portin was booked for bringing someone down, i think Stankovic, and Finland need to retain the urgency they’ve shown in the last ten minutes.

48 mins: I was waylaid by SPL’s magnificent marble cake, but I’m back now. Ojala off, Furuholm on. Finland seem to have dropped Parikka back, with Furuholm playi

45 mins: Half time. Changes are desperately needed, and Finland have a strong bench. It could be Otaru, Furuholm, Kokko or Vasara, but I think Ojala needs to be withdrawn as his confidence is getting a battering against a very strong left back. If AEK Athens are here looking for a left-back, they might well switch to the Austrian one now.

42 mins: Belarus are leading Turkey 1-0 in Borisov, leaving the tie level on aggregate. Hakola just beat the full back and put over a cross, the first time I can remember in this game, but Erbek flicked the ball off Ojala’s feet at the far stick.

39 mins: Juha says Finland have lost their patience, and I agree. Austria are stroking the ball around without impediment apart from the occasional foul, and when Finland get the ball it is almost always punted long to Parikka. And lets face it, Jarno parikka is not a target man striker. I’d like to see Kokko come on at half time, possibly for Ojala with parikka dropping back into midfield. Finland desperately need a change, as things are Austria look very, very comfortable.

34 mins: Hetemaj loses the ball to Stankovic in the middle, Portin falls over on the edge of the box, but Stankovic can’t really be bothered to shoot properly and wellies it at the giant Pepsi bottle behind the goal.

31 mins: Finland are playing like children. Only Turunen seems to have any composure, everyone else is panicking a little bit and the Austrians are taking full advantage. Their best players are Erbek, Kavlak and Stankovic.

25 mins: Poor communication betweek Maanoja and Aho lets in Marco Stankovic, who finishes from a very tight angle. Just what Finland did not need.

21 mins: Kavlak curls in a dangerous free kick, but nobody is on the end of it and Maanoja claims. SMJK are having some high pitched call-and-respond with the kids, who have no begun to chant ‘Suomi’ on their own. Their are a good few people watching from outside the fence at the Jäähalli end, but there’s room for them inside the ground if they want to pay….

19 mins: What was I saying about long balls? Turunen releases Raitala down the left and from Parikka’s ball in Ojala has a fantastic chance. He fluffs it, and looks a little nervous.

17 mins: Baumtlinger is booked for wretsling with Tim Sparv.

13 mins: Veli Kavlak wellies the ball into touch. i wouldn’t call it a shot. Ojala goes down on the edge of the area, but it was nowhere close to a foul. Harun Erbek has played very well so far, and Ojala has had some difficulty against the Kayserispor left back.

10 mins: Finland are playing too many long balls in the air. As i type, Turunen feeds Parikka in to his feet, he is brought down and Finland have a dangerous free kick. It’s headed clear but Finland retain posession. this is a bit more like it.

7 mins: Hakola and Ojala are wearing red boots, with their classic blue and white kit. It looks awful, and is for some reason irritating me greatly.

5 mins: Parikka given offside in a marginal decision. Finland are playing some decent stuff till they get to the final third, but they are well martialled at present.

1minute: The referee gives a free kick against Sparv for pushing down on Austrian shoulders at a long throw. The Austrian bench has a lot of people on it, for some reason, and they’re all squashed up tight.

19:00: National anthem behaviour is different for the two teams. The Austrians grip each others shoulders and do some shouting when theirs finishes, while the Finns don’t bother with that rubbish. Finland kick off, kicking left to right, as a ‘Suomi’ chant goes up.

18:58: The Veikkaus inflatables are out in force tonight, but not blocking anyone’s view (assuming they deflate the one that’s actually on the pitch. They could of course leave it there, that would be an interesting rule adjustment, and maybe an idea for FIFA to work on). The teams are entering the field!

18:55: SMJK have arrived, and started singing. They have competition from excited schoolkids just to their left, and the not-so-massed ranks of Austrians a bit further along. The ground is filling up, but it doesn’t quite look like a sell-out. The tannoy has gone strangely quiet.

18:35: The teams are in. We think Finland will line up in a 4-5-1 formation as follows: Tomi Maanoja; Jukka Raitala, Jonas Portin, Tuomo Turunen, Joni Aho; Tim Sparv, Kasper Hämäläinen, Mehmet Hetemaj, Juha Hakola, Mika Ojala; Jarno Parikka.

Austria’s team is: Robert Olejnik; Andreas Dober, Mario Sonnleitner, Mario Reiter, Julian Baumgartlinger, Florian Klein, Niklas Hoheneder, Marco Stankovic, Christoph Saurer, Veli Kavlak, Harun Erbek.

There is a big Austrian flag on the far side in the Olympic stand, and no sign of SMJK’s Finland fan section yet. Hopefully they’re in the pub, maximising drinking opportunities because this is a UEFA game and all the bars are closed. The floodlights are on and rumour has it the game is nearly sold out – this does feel like a big match.

That’s the longest title I think I’ve ever written on this blog. I’m on my way to Turku now, and unfortunately there isn’t much in the way of coverage in Ilta Sanomat or Veikkaaja. I’ll update this at regular intervals, so refresh it to get the latest. Team news will be up as soon as I get it.

Finland v Austria Under 21 European Championship play-off second leg LIVE BLOG


I’m heading to Turku tomorrow and will do a live blog of the game. They’ve sold 4,700 tickets, the Greek press is reporting that AEK are there to watch Finnish players, and the game is actually going to be shown on Finnish TV, on channel Viisi/The Voice. All very exciting, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Perparim Hetemaj and Tomi Petrescu are suspended for Finland, with Jussi Vasara and Nicholas Otaru rcoming in to reinforce the squad. Franz Schiemer and Rubin Okotie are suspended for Austria.

The yoot dem

Got a train to catch, so I’ll make this quick: the under 21s lost 2-1 in Austria last night, leaving things in the balance for the second leg in Turku this Tuesday. Perparim Hetemaj got the goal for Finland.

I’m hearing from the Greek football press that Jukka Raitala was watched by AEK Athens last night. If he goes, I hope he plays, but I’d like to know what HJK are going to do with the money. They were talking about getting €700,000 for Sakari Mattila from Udinese, and you wonder whether they will pass on some of this wealth to the clubs these lads played for before HJK took them on – Malminkartano, KP-75 and Pohu.

Is that part of HJK’s modus operandi, or will they try to sign Aki Riihilahti or Shefki Kuqi back with the cash?