DAVID SMITH - Monday, August 1, 2011
Etchu Tabe saw red as RoPS slumped to yet another loss as they inched closer to relegation, while the trio of Americans at Mariehamn all took the field in their defeat at the hands of league leaders HJK.
HJK Helsinki 1 - 0 IFK Mariehamn
Josh Wicks, Mason Trafford and Giuseppe Funicello all saw action on Saturday for Mariehamn's trip to first-place HJK, however were unable to prevent a tight shut-out loss.
Wicks was the Islanders' starter in goal as usual, Trafford came on as a halftime sub, and Funicello entered the game with the team already behind with five minutes left in the contest.
The game was an open affair throughout, as both teams pressed and had their chances, but were too often met with the superb play of Wicks and HJK keeper Ville Wallen.
As regulation wore on and the game looked increasingly set for a scoreless deadlock, HJK finally broke through, unsurprisingly away from the run of play, as an 81st minute corner from Teemu Pukki met the knee of Mathias Lindström, who left Wicks no chance to stop the winning goal from going in.
With the loss, Mariehamn drop one place into sixth, and will next take the field on Sunday when they return home to host second-bottom Vaasa PS.
Inter Turku 3 - 0 Rovaniemi PS
Etchu Tabe and RoPS had yet another rough outing on Monday evening, giving up a trio of goal in a shut-out loss to Inter Turku, with the added bonus of an 89th-minute red card shown to the American.
An eventful opening half-hour saw RoPS have a slight upper hand, however their hopes for ending their long winless streak would be cut short seven minutes before the half as Federico Scoppa supplied Severi Paajanen a fine pass from the left wing which he turned into the RoPS goal for 1-0.
A mistake by RoPS keeper Jules Alex Nyom led to the second Inter goal in the 66th minute, as his clumsy challenge on Joni Kauko in his own area forced the referee to whistle the penalty, with Mika Ojala converting.
Inter added an insurance goal in the 80th minute as Henri Lehtonen broke through the defense and beat Nyom with a shot between his legs, however the final bit of damage for the visitors came with one minute in regulation as Tabe was shown a straight red, forcing him to leave the field early and making him unavailable for their next game.
The loss puts RoPS deeper into the hole at the bottom of the standings. They now are six points below the surface, and will be without their American center back on Sunday when they host Haka.
AC Oulu 4 - 0 Porin Palloilijat
Jeremy Vuolo and AC Oulu had one of their strongest showings of the season on Monday night, putting four past visiting PoPa on the way to a massive shut-out victory.
After being held for nearly the entire first half, Oulu opened the flood gates five minutes before the half and never looked back.
Mika Nurmela put his team ahead in the 40th minute with a 20-yard free kick which flew in just inside the right corner, then set up their next score five minutes later, delivering a corner which Jani Kauppila knocked in for 2-0.
They continued their dominance after the break, as a give and go between Dritan Stafsula and Daniel Owusu allowed the former to beat the PoPa keeper in the 53rd minute, then Stafsula put the lid on matters with 15 minutes left, hitting from the spot for the final 4-0 win.
Oulu remain in sixth place despite the huge win, but could see their league standing improve substantially on Sunday when they visit league-leading FC Lahti.
Kellan Wilson watched from HIFK's bench on Monday night as backup keeper for their 2-0 loss at home to KooTeePee Kotka.