Sunday, October 26, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 33 - farewell 2014

Due to a busy weekend at work, I've not got a lot of time - I'll do a full season review blog after next weekend's Cup Final.

Saturday saw SJK confirm their silver medal in their debut season, while Lahti finished a very good third and VPS ended in fourth - which will put them into the Europa League, if HJK complete the double against Inter on the first.


IFK Mariehamn - TPS 3-1
SJK - MYPA 3-1
FC Inter - FF Jaro 0-1
KuPS - VPS 0-1
FC Lahti - FC Honka 2-0

Highlights of Saturday's games


HJK - RoPS 0-3

Highlights of Sunday's game

Monday, October 20, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 32 - Au revoir TPS

They made it to the penultimate weekend, but ultimately drop. TPS had prepared for a season of struggle by cutting their financial cloth accordingly, releasing/selling several first team players while blooding youngsters and (cheaper) alternatives.

Their closest rivals Honka, who were in money problems of a different kind, managed to claim a point at home to KuPS which condemned the Turku club to relegation. They drop to the Ykkönen in 2015, where they will be joined by EIF and PS Kemi, who won their promotion play-offs from Kakkonen.

The weekend's top division games were spread over Saturday and Sunday.


RoPS - SJK 1-2
FF Jaro - IFK Mariehamn 1-0
FC Honka - KuPS 2-2
TPS - FC Lahti 0-1


MYPA - FC Inter 2-2
VPS - HJK 1-1

Thursday, October 09, 2014

HIFK promoted in thrilling end to Ykkönen 2014

I've had a few people moaning in the life of ETS that I don't give enough time to the Ykkönen (officially division one, the second tier of Finnish football). Fair enough, I probably don't... But this weekend saw the final round of fixtures, and what a finish.

The HIFK fans celebrate (photo via Tomi Leivo-Jokimäki)

It all started with KTP and HIFK fighting out for the one promotion place. KTP have led the table for virtually the entire season, while HIFK had been promoted from Kakkonen and were usually floating around the top half. KTP had lost their previous three games, while HIFK had won the last three (and had a superior goal difference). KTP needed to win, HIFK needed to better their result.

So what happened?

4200 people squeezed into Kotka's Arto Tolsa Areena to see KTP surely clinch their promotion at home to already relegated JIPPO. But that game ended goalless! Meanwhile in Helsinki, HIFK hosted FC Jazz - and were losing 1-2 with twenty minutes to go... But they fought back to win 4-2 and clinch promotion to Veikkausliiga for the first time since 1972.

Finland's capital gets a genuine derby match in 2015 (three of them to be fair!), these will be well worth a visit. Hopefully my friends at the ivory towers will sort out the fixtures to coincide with my visit... But KTP were also superb for large parts of the season, although that was largely due to the scoring of Jussi Aalto - when he stopped scoring, so did KTP. He ended up missing out on the top scorer prize after being overtaken by Haka's Kalle Multanen.

This graph by Lari Vesander shows how HIFK caught KTP after their meeting in early August, when KTP led by twelve points.

The highlights of the superb final round are below, which also include Ilves hitting double figures again Viikingit and Haka scoring six against PK-35.


Ilves - FC Viikingit 10-0
JJK - AC Oulu 1-2
Haka - PK-35 6-0
HIFK - FC Jazz 4-2

Highlights of Saturday's Ykkönen games

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 31 - Honka deliver fatal blow

After 31 rounds of football, it took one injury time goal from Honka to essentially condemn TPS to relegation. Honka were trailing 1-0 to champions HJK, while TPS were losing by the same score at KuPS. With two games left, it gave TPS at least some chance of salvation, but Antti Mäkijärvi's equaliser meant that they are six points ahead of TPS with two games to play, with a goal difference of eleven more.

Photo by Jussi Eskola

So Honka, despite a shambolic season led by Shefki Kuqi, will remain in the Veikkausliiga for another season, unless their awful financial state goes against them when applying for a 2015 licence. TPS spent the early part of 2014 preparing for a year of difficulty, and cut their cloth accordingly. Hopefully their foundations will give them plenty to build on, should they end up in next year's Ykkönen. I'm looking forward to visiting them next summer.

Below are the highlights of Sunday's matches, which also saw Lahti and SJK confirm their places in the early qualifying rounds of next year's Europa League. The remaining guaranteed place will be decided on November 1st, when HJK face Inter in the Suomen Cup final. An Inter win will give them the last berth, but UEFA's recent rule changes mean that an HJK win would ensure a place for the team finishing fourth, either IFK Mariehamn, VPS or KuPS.

SJK - VPS 0-3
FC Inter - RoPS 4-1
KuPS - TPS 1-0
FC Lahti - IFK Mariehamn 1-1
HJK - FC Honka 1-1
MYPA - FF Jaro 2-1

Highlights of Sunday's matches