UEFA Nations League B3, Game 3
On Saturday evening an aggressive Romania side bullied their way to victory against a profligate Finland at the Stadion Rapid – Giuleşti, Bucharest.
A strong starting eleven included one surprise for the Huuhkajat, Jesse Joronen coming in for Lukas Hradecky. Joel Pohjanpalo kept his place after an impressive turn against Montenegro in midweek. In the early exhchanges Daniel O’Shaughnessy limped off injured before Jere Uronen clumsily conceded a penalty for an adjudged push. Joronen saved with his legs, while Puscas sliced the outside of the post with a reactionary shot moments later. Within minutes though a quick Romanian counter-attack saw Nikolai Alho fall over leaving Nicuşor Bancu with a free header at the back post to nod home.
The remainder of the first half and all of the second followed the same predictable pattern. The Huuhkajat patiently built their game, crafting some good openings but failing to take their chances. Twice Pohjanpalo missed gilt-edged chances, while Lod and Schüller fired off-target when well-placed. For their part, Romania bullied and battered their way around the pitch, but lacked the quality to finish off Finland, when cutting through on the break. Joronen made a pair of very good saves to keep Finland in it, but the Huuhkajat were unable to raise their game. A week ago, in Helsinki, Bosnia-Herzegovina continuously raised the pressure as the clock ticked down, ultimately forcing an equalizer. In Bucharest, Finland remained calm and patient, the game petering out in favour of the hosts.