TamU had gone ahead through Jonne Hjelm in the 11th minute, after the 21 year old striker picked up Kangaskolkka’s flick-on when Ari Nyman made a mess of his attempted clearance. Hjelm raced onto the loose ball and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, giving goalkeeper David Monsalve little chance.
Inter gradually increased the pressure and eventually equalised just before half time, when Veikkausliiga’s least-loved striker Timo Furuholm nodded the ball down to Kennedy Nwanganga, who shot through a crowd of players past Aleksei Kangaskolkka’s despairing attempt at a goal line clearance.
The second half was a tense affair, with Inter clearly having the upper hand but missing several chances to go ahead. Furuholm drew derision from the loud contingent of TamU fans, and adulation from the Inter end, with his near-constant niggling fouls. Mononen was shoved over on the touchline, Pohja booted in the chest, and Furuholm’s expressive body language ensured he was the centre of attention.
There was a hint of inevitability, then, about the winner. It arrived via a corner, but Furuholm wasn’t complaining after having a couple of chances well saved by TamU’s goalkeeper Mikko Kavén.
“I’m happy, it’s a good end to the season,” the former Musan Salama striker claimed. “The season hasn’t gone so well, but this is good because we get to play in Europe now. It feels good to be the goalscorer, but then it’s my job to do that.”
As Inter’s players cavorted around the pitch celebrating their second trophy in two years, manager Job Dragtsma was asked to reflect on Inter’s season, which went much less smoothly than 2008.
“Of course we wanted to do something in the league, but we had to change the whole team!” Inter manger Job Dragtsma told YLE after the final whistle. “We didn’t do too well, and in the end wít was important to make sure we got into Europe, and nice to win a trophy, and this was the only trophy we could win.”
Inter’s Canadian goalkeeper David Monsalve was one of the more jubilant players, after wresting the number one spot from Sierra Leonian Patrick Bantamoi. Inter’s management feel that Monsalve is a little more calm and collected than Bantamoi, who has made one or two crucial errors this season in among his usual excellent performances, and he made a couple of routine but important saves late on from Antti Pohja. Inter currently have two young, in-form goalkeepers, and their squad is finally settling down into the rhythm Dragtsma hoped for. They could be dark horses next year, but of course that will depend on the vagaries of the winter transfer market.
As for TamU, their season has been a series of disappointments after the League Cup victory in April. Ari Hjelm has brought on some exciting young talent, and much will depend on how many of those players remain in Tampere as the club’s budget is reduced to a more realistic level. There will be no European football to help the financial calculations or entice players to sign, but with young players like Hjelm, Kangaskolkka, Ruuth, Mononen, Pirinen and Karvonen gaining crucial experience this year, the outlook could be better than expected, depending on how many of those players remain in Tampere for 2010.