RECAP: WEEKEND FINNISH ACTION
Greg Eckhardt and VPS let three points slip away versus FC Lahti while Daniuel Antunez and FC Inter held league leaders HJK to a scoreless draw in weekend Veikkausliiga action
VPS 1 - 1 FC Lahti
Eckhardt and VPS were left to rue the missed opportunity of claiming a win over a next-to-last place Lahti on Monday evening at Hietalahti Stadium in Vaasa.
The former Clemson standout started on the VPS back line and went the full 90 minutes. Compatriot Brian Pope is still sidelined with a shoulder injury and did not suit up for VPS.
Things started off well for the hosts who scored in the 45th minute courtesy of defender Jussi Äijälä.
A free kick from 30 meters out was hit perfectly by Äijälä who fired the ball past the Lahti goalkeeper and into the top right corner of the net.
The second half saw Lahti push for an equalizer with the entry of legendary Finnish play Jari Litmanen onto the field but Eckhardt and the VPS defense would hold firm until a late lapse allowed the visitors to steal a point.
Brazilian forward Rafael was able to slip behind two VPS defenders and redirected a cross into the back of the net to earn a draw for Lahti.
Eckhardt and VPS get a bit of a break before returning to action on July 2nd when they take on surprising AC Oulu.
FC Inter 0 - 0 HJK
Antunez and FC Inter managed to gut out a point against league leaders and defending champions HJK on Sunday evening at Veritas Stadion in Turku.
The visitors from the capital city of Helsinki came into the match flying high but Antunez and company held their attack in check the whole match.
The native Californian started in his usual spot on the Inter back line and went the distance.
There no shortage of chippy play during the 90 minutes of action that saw more spraying of elbows than shots on goal.
A red card for HJK's Mohamed Kamara in the 55th minute did little to open up the Inter attack as HJK proved to be a physical foe.
Antunez and Inter next return to action on Wednesday June 30th when they travel to Haka.