What would a man want to do on a Friday night, if not go to a football game and watch it from behind a computer screen. My nerdiness at least has developed to such an extent that I am turning my back on Kari Tapio and Tapani Kansa and going to spend my evening on the computer, treating you to a live blog from Friday’s only Veikkausliiga game. The game is also on Urheilukanava, but our coverage might make a decent complementary good. Your comments are very welcome during the game, I’ll be doing my best to answer any questions.
Pasi Rautiainen, TPS head coach:
-Everyone was talking about how tough TamU are. This was an important win. We were good already when TamU had 11 men, but after the sending off we used the flanks much better due to the increased space. I know nothing about goalkeepers, but I think Kavén made some astonishing saves today. And to be honest about the ref, we could have been given another penalty or so, but TamU would also have deserved a penalty.
Jarno Heinikangas, TPS defender:
-For the first time this year we had the full game in balance. We were good already before Saarinen got sent off. We got a reward in the end.
-We’re unbeaten in 11 games now, and we certainly don’t want to lose when we play Inter next week. Derbies are games where the league table has no significance at all.
Ari Hjelm, Tampere United head coach:
-It’s obvious that TPS deserved to win, but the way in which it came hurts. First the linesman told the ref to give Saarinen his second yellow, the a last-minute penalty.
Juska Savolainen, Tampere United midfielder:
-When we had 11 men, we were okay defensively, but we were highly average offensively all through the game.
90+2 min: 1-0 BROWN!!! Half the crowd stood up to see that happen! Exactly what TPS deserve! And there’s the final whistle!
90+2 min: Wusu brought down in the area by Kavén, penalty for TPS!!!
90+1 min: Another poor through ball from Manninen goes astray, and TamU get a goal kick.
90 min: Additional time 3 minutes.
88 min: So little time left, and it’s still stalemate. Even if there’s just one team on the pitch. TPS have had enough chances to win five football games, yet they’re still not winning this one.
86 min: Incredible, Wusu misses from a metre away and does it again when he connects to Aalto’s cross! Kavén saves both efforts. Amazing misses.
84 min: Oh my. Hämäläinen has a perfect chance from just 7-8 metres, but it’s an easy one for Kavén. TPS are building from the back now, and the rhytmic clapping of the crowd helps them on before Iiro Aalto is flagged offside.
83 min: Another excellent attack ends in Brown shooting the ball wide. TamU can do nothing to prevent TPS from controlling the game, and the crowd are really supporting the home team now.
82 min: Vili Savolainen brings down Wusu and TPS get a free kick near the middle of the pitch. Nyberg connects, but it’s well wide. Lindström hurts himself, which is quickly noted by TPS fans – Lindström, mind you, is another former Inter player.
80 min: I saw a replay now, and it looked like a clean tackle to me. Petrescu brings down Nyberg, and gets a deserved booking. Petrescu is perhaps not the best player for this occasion, as he gets frustrated pretty easily. The free kick results in Heinikangas heading the ball well wide.
78 min: Ääritalo plays his way into the area where he is brought down. The players, Rautiainen and the crowd protest furiously. Things are getting heated here! Those of you who saw it, was it a penalty?
77 min: TamU look like a Sunday league team, to be honest. They have only ten men, but this is embarrassing. TPS have only themselves to blame if they don’t win this game.
74 min: An excellent chance for Paatelainen from 11 metres, but he misses it! That looked like a certain goal. Ääritalo’s follow-up is cleared for a corner. Manninen connect’s to the corner, but Kavén saves.
72 min: Rafinha is brought down in the area, but is not given a penalty – even the TPS players looked like they were expecting it to happen! Niemi out, Petrescu in.
72 min: Watching TPS is really a joy at the moment. They intercept what little efforts TamU have, and quickly counter. Another such occasion sees Manninen waste a cross, once again. If there’d only be more decent crosses, TPS would be ahead. Petrescu about to come on for TamU.
70 minutes: Another quick, excellent attack for TPS, but Manninen’s cross is deflected out for a corner. Kavén easily picks out Brown’s corner.
68 minutes: Ääritalo comes in for TPS, replacing Chris Cleaver in the process. Ääritalo has already scored a couple of late goals for TPS, and the crowd would love to see another one today.
67 min: Wusu is annoyed as the ref decides he fouls a TamU player. He shows what he thinks about the decision using the ball as his tool, and Munukka is happy to produce a booking.
66 min: The second corner results in a TamU goal kick. While taking it, Kavén demonstrates TamU’s panic, as his goal kick goes right into the stands. Rafinha is playing up front for TamU now.
65 min: Oddly, centre-back Jaakko Nyberg finds himself intercepting a ball deep in the offensive end, but he does win a corner. Cleaver connects and Kavén manages to stretch in the way of the ball before a TamU defender clears it for another corner. That was close!
65 min: Rähmönen buys a corner off Ruuth. Brown sends it in, Vili Savolainen clears. TamU haven’t seen a glimpse of the TPS goal in minutes.
64 min: Manninen’s first good cross of the game, and Brown connects. Not much wide.
63 min: Following Saarinen’s early shower (although he hasn’t taken one step towards the bathroom after he left), Kangaskolkka is taken off for Ilari Ruuth. The fourth official sends Saarinen on his way now, to the delight of the crowd.
60 min: Saarinen brings Manninen down and gets a booking, which means he is given his marching orders as it his second yellow. Rafinha blabs himself a booking too. Saarinen comfortably sits on the bench, and the crowd point out that he shouldn’t be there – which, according to my knowledge of the rules, is true. TPS should take the game now.
58 min: Rähmönen gently touches Rafinha, who waves his hand at the ref. That is enough to convince Munukka that he actually needs to give a free kick. It comes to nothing though.
56 min: TamU are struggling again, mainly because their passing is an insult to Finnish top flight football. TPS have still not created real chances though.
54 min: Cleaver lifts the ball into the area, but it’s a bit too high for Paatelainen. Paatelainen wants a penalty, but he was never going to get it.
51 min: Wusu buys a corner off a TamU player. Heinikangas connects with a good header, but it goes a bit high of the goal. TPS’ Yll Hoxha, Mika Ääritalo and Riku Riski are warming up now, while Tomi Petrescu is the lone TamU exerciser. TPS fans do not appreciate Petrescu too much, not least because of the time he spent at Inter, so expect some boos if he comes on.
48 min: A poor pass from Cleaver almost sets up a breakaway for TamU, but Kangaskolkka cannot reach the ball before Lehtovaara has it firmly in his hands. TamU are looking better now, this could be a contest after all.
47 min: Brown gets a chance to shoot. He drives it in low from 20 metres, but Kaven stops the shot. Egan, I’m not sure if it’s about the combination of Wusu and Paatelainen. Wusu has been alright to my eye, but Paatelainen loses way too many balls in his flank.
46 min: TamU have substituted Henri Scheweleff in favour of Jonne Hjelm. Hjelm has been criticised recently, but Scheweleff was not better than anyone else.
45 min: Here we go again, TamU kick off this time.
45 min: And that’s the first half. TPS by far the better team, TamU the marionettes. It might change for the second half though, TamU can’t possibly be worse than they were now.
42 min: Uh-oh. Lehtovaara comes out to clear an easy ball, but a bad first touch sends it to the stands. It doesn’t matter though, because TamU produce what could be the worst throw-in I have ever seen a professional team take. TPS have the ball again in no time.
38 min: Manninen wastes a TPS attack as his “cross” goes behind.
36 min: TamU are actually struggling to do something useful with a simple throw-in. A throw in their offensive end results, inexplicably, in a TPS free kick.
32 min: You are right, puntteri, there is no proof TPS will carry on playing like this in the second half especially if they get a goal in the first. Last Monday’s JJK game was a perfect indication of that. But if TamU go on playing like this and TPS capitalise on any one half-decent chance, picking the winner won’t be too difficult.
30 min: TPS could have created a solid attack there, but Brown’s lob bass that resembles a clearance makes it easy for TamU to defend.
28 min: TamU are once again left wondering what could have been as Rafinha finds some space down the right flank, but Aalto manages to get in and make Rafinha deflect the ball beyond the touchline.
27 min: Bob Latchford, right now it looks like there could well be a goal for TPS in the first hour. They haven’t had many real chances yet, but they are by far the better team now. A dive from Kangaskolkka which Munukka, fortunately, doesn’t buy.
25 min: A TPS free kick from the left results in a goal kick for TamU as Nyberg is unable to connect.
23 min: Paatelainen almost connects to Manninen’s cross from the right, but can’t keep the ball from going out for a throw.
21 min: An excellent long ball from Hämäläinen almost lets in Wusu, who is caught offside by a fraction.
19 min: Munukka just discovered that he does carry the cards with him – I thought he left them on the kitchen table. Saarinen slides in on Cleaver after the Brit has already passed the ball to a team-mate, and is given an Easter card.
17 min: This is getting embarassing for Munukka. Wusu almost gets free of the last defender, who brings him down. Instead of giving the obvious free kick, Munukka waves play on. I wonder if I have ever heard a Veikkausliiga crowd whistling so loud at the ref. Rautiainen finds it hard to stay off the pitch. Awful refereeing both ways here, so he fully deserves it.
15 min: Jari Niemi brings down Manninen, and Munukka plays advantage. Rautiainen’s face turns red of all the anger that he expresses, but it’s no use. Niemi would’ve deserved a booking there, but the ref only only has a brief chat with him.
14 min: A rabbit steals the show for a minute as the poor animal runs all across the pitch before finally leaving through the gate like any decent supporter.
13 min: Paatelainen wastes a chance of a TPS counter-attack when his poor pass doesn’t reach Wusu. When TamU build a quick attack, Rafinha is brought down near the edge of the area but the free kick is not given.
12 min: Kangaskolkka makes the worst dive ever when it dawns on him that he can’t get past Jaakko Nyberg. Nyberg easily takes the ball, probably with a smile on his face.
11 min: TamU get a corner and play it short. Juska Savolainen eventually gets a shot on target, but does not get enough power behind the shot to stretch Jukka Lehtovaara.
10 min: Aalto slides in on a TamU player, and gives away a free kick. The home crowd is not having it, and it did look a bit dubious. TPS coach Pasi Rautiainen does not appreciate the decision either.
9 min: Wusu gives an excellent ball to Manninen, who is brought down near the edge of the area. It looks like a certain free kick, but the ref is not interested. He might have gone easily, but I can’t see why he’d do so on purpose in a position like that.
7 min: The home supporters sound their appreciation as TPS excellently prevent TamU from building an attack. Their pressing and passing is very good at the moment.
5 min: TamU might be able to build an attack here, as Rähmönen thinks he has won a throw-in for TPS but the ref signals a TamU throw instead. As a result, Saarinen has an which goes a long way wide.
3 min: Aalto plays an excellent ball for Paatelainen, but Paatelainen fails to take the ball past any TamU players. TPS are firmly in control now.
2 min: Manninen slides in on Kangaskolkka, who is squeezed between Cleaver and Manninen, and cleanly wins TPS a throw-in. Kangaskolkka hurts himself, but is back on the pitch soon enough.
1 min: A cross from Rähmönen causes some panic in TamU’s penalty area, but the combination of Brown, Wusu and Paatelainen fail to get a shot in.
1 min: Manninen tries to cross from the right, but the ball reaches no TPS players and goes out for a throw-in.
0 min: Here we go, TPS kick off the game. Do comment, if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share with us.
-2 min: The players are on the pitch now. Antti Munukka will officiate the game, to the disappointment of many fans it seems. Both teams have a good number of supporters at the stadium, so it should be a good game in therms of the atmosphere.
-5 min: Here I am, after some inconvenience. I just broke my seat with my 20 kg body, somebody should try and do something about these seats. Former CEO of TPS, Petri Jakonen, has been spotted as well as Hannu Jortikka, a legendary hockey coach. Meanwhile on the pitch, a dance show just ended. Whoever decided they bring anything extra to the event? Anyway, the line-ups are as follows:
TPS: Lehtovaara; Aalto, Heinikangas, Nyberg, Rähmönen; Hämäläinen, Cleaver; Paatelainen, Brown, Manninen; Wusu
Tampere United: Kavén; Saarinen, Lindström, Kujala, Ojanperä; Vili Savolainen, Juska Savolainen; Scheweleff, Niemi, Rafinha; Kangaskolkka
TPS are second in the league, trailing HJK by four points. They could really use a win today, because three points would give them some breathing space between them and their closest competitors. One of those competitors is TamU, who have claimed the sixth spot and are only three points behind TPS, owing to their recent good form. In other words, a TamU win would leave TPS wondering what might have been as they would watch TamU occupy a podium position. TPS already dropped two points at JJK on Monday, only because they gave away possession in the second half after being by far the dominant force in the first half. Another such mess-up would give everyone a good reason to doubt their title credentials.
However, TPS have not lost since mid-May and TamU have not managed to beat them in the last three fixtures between the two sides. Moreover, they have a healthy squad, while Toni Järvinen, Antti Pohja, Jusu Karvonen, Chris James and Aapo Lappalainen. That should be enough to make TPS slight favourites in this one.