On Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, our team had its first away game at 19 in Sodankylä against Sodankylän Pallo. Sodankylän Pallo is the most Northern men’s football team in the EU that plays in an official series. But you wouldn’t have guessed that we were so far up North, since it was 28°C on the field. Finnish summer has finally arrived.
About 140 loyal fans supported their home team which has played in Kolmonen (4th tier) until last year, but due to a difficult players’ situation, they decided to play in Vitonen (6th tier) this season. Against us, they had almost all their Kolmonen-players with them on the field – except Tomi and Ralf, who both play for us now. 😉 So, despite playing in the 6th tier, we have some tough opponents and the quality of the league is quite high.
Unfortunately, our goalkeeper Antti injured his hand badly in the first game and will be missing (most likely) the whole season. And our second keeper Cristian can only play when he doesn’t have trainings with his junior teams or goalkeepers’ groups. Against SoPa he couldn’t join us. So coach Ralf went between the posts.
The first half saw some excellent football from us with a couple of really good attacks with fast passes and moving. But SoPa’s keeper Hermanni had a great day, and kept his goal clean until the very last second of the first half, when Erson finished a beautiful one-touch-football attack from our penalty area up to the opponent’s goal, 0-1 (45.+4).
The second half saw SoPa pushing heavily, switching to high pressing. We tried to get behind their highly positioned defense line with long passes, focussing on counter attacks. The longer the game, the more aggressive SoPa pushed forward, and they got a couple of chances, but the defense stood tight, and the keeper paried SoPa’s best chances, including a 1v1 situation 10 meters in front of the goal and a headball from 6 meters.
When SoPa fully opened up during the last minutes, we got a couple of big counter attack chances, but it took until minute 90.+3 before we finally closed the deal. After we won the ball on the left wing, we quickly moved forward down the line, and Nico sent a precise cross to Useni, who entered the penalty area from the right and finished with a smart shot, 0-2.
The game continued for a few more minutes, but no further chances occured. When the referee whistled his final blow, we were happy to have won this tough fight between two befriended teams. SoPa was of course sad about the loss, but they played very well and gave us a tough fight and also were good sports and congratulated us with fair sportsmanship. Our next game against SoPa will be on 19.6. as part of our “Summer’s Best Match Day” event.
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