DAVID SMITH - Monday, May 7, 2012
Mason Trafford and Mariehamn rode a late surge to an important road win while Daniel Antunez and Inter saw their perfect record in the league snapped thanks a late heartbreaker by HJK.
Vaasa PS 1 - 2 IFK Mariehamn
Mason Trafford played the full 90 minutes for IFK Mariehamn on Saturday, as a valuable road victory over VPS pushed them up to fifth in the Veikkausliiga standings.
A largely uneventful game was suddenly given life in the 70th minute when Jarno Parikka broke into the right side of the area to put away a low shot for the 1-0 VPS lead, however the Islanders stormed back with a late surge that secured them the points.
Kristian Kojola rose high to head in an 80th minute corner from Petteri Forsell, then the team hit the winner with four minutes on the clock as a defensive error set up an indirect free kick from six yards out, which Aleksei Kangaskolkka slid over to Forsell for an unsavable, point-blank blast.
With the win, Mariehamn are in fifth place on eight points through five games, and will be back in action on Wednesday when they visit KuPS in a midweek Finnish Cup quarterfinal matchup.
HJK Helsinki - Inter Turku
Daniel Antunez played the full game in defense for Inter Turku on Sunday, as their first two goals allowed in the season were costly in a loss to reigning champions HJK Helsinki.
HJK struck fast, ending Inter's long shut-out record to start the season as Joel Perovuo set up Sebastian Mannström 45 seconds after the opening whistle for the early shocker.
Inter quickly recovered, looking the better team for much of the first half, and equalized in the 43rd minute as Joni Kauko put away a loose ball in HJK's area.
Inter kept their hosts in check for much of the second half, but the loss of Kauko in the 73rd minute due to injury shifted the tide in HJK's favor.
HJK finally secured the three points in the third minute of injury time, as Joel Pohjanpalo received the ball more than 30 yards out, advanced a few steps then blasted a shot past Inter keeper Magnus Bahn for the final 2-1 score.
Inter still remain on top of the Veikkausliiga standings, although they lead both HJK and MyPa only by way of superior goal differential. They will take the field again on Satuday when they host seventh-place JJK.
FC KooTeePee 1 - 1 Oulu PS
Aaron Wheeler and FC KooTeePee were wasteful with an early lead on Saturday, settling for a point against Oulu PS in Ykkönen action.
KooTeePee were first on the board when Juuso Laitinen set up Samuli Kaivonurmi for the opener in the 20th minute, however OPS pulled even in the next minute as Nikola Prebiracevic put away a free kick from Mexican ex-pat Alberto Ramírez.
Wheeler received a yellow card just before the hour mark, although Pekka Raisanen's straight red for OPS with 19 minutes left to play nearly handed the advantage to the hosts.
With two games played, KooTeePee are second with four points, and face a huge test on Wednesday when they visit top-flight team HJK Helsink in Finnish Cup action.
SJK 3 - 1 HIFK Helsinki
Kyle Luetkehans played the full 90 minutes in the midfield for HIFK, as they were unable to hang onto a ninth-minute lead in a heavy-handed loss to SJK.
Former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Justin Moose also took the field, playing the final 22 minutes for SJK and helping them to hold their two-goal lead after entering the game.
HIFK grabbed the lead after nine minutes when Daniel Antman played Sami Okkonen into the right side of the area for a stylish opener, however that would be the last bright spot for the visitors.
Aki Sipilä pulled the score even two minutes before the half hour thanks to a fine cross by Patrik Lomski, then a second-half show by Toni Lehtinen gave SJK the win.
He netted his first goal in the 58th minute when he put away a free kick from Christian Sund, then eight minutes later brought the team's advantage to two goals after a nice interplay with Touku Tumanto and Jyri Hietaharju left him free for his second of the afternoon.
HIFK remain winless on the year through their first two games, and next host AC Oulu on Thursday. SJK climb to third with four points, and will have a rest until Saturday when they visit Vikingit Helsinki.
Mike Banner did not suit up for FF Jaro due to a minor injury, and was not able to prevent the team from slumping to 4-1 road loss at Haka on Saturday.
Etchu Tabe did not make the gameday roster for KuPS on Saturday for their 2-1 loss at home to MyPa.