Tampere United's bid to become the second Finnish team to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage now needs a miracle in Norway in two weeks' time after Rosenborg BK won 3-0 at their Ratina Stadium on Wednesday.
The Norwegian champions, attempting to return to the competition proper after missing out last season, dominated the first leg of this third qualifying round tie with Miika Koppinen's strike and two Yssouf Koné goals putting them firmly in the driving seat.
Despite it being the off-season in Norway, Trondheim-based Rosenborg have started their European campaign impressively. They beat FC Astana of Kazakhstan 10-2 on aggregate in the previous round but had to deal with a bright opening by a Tampere side hoping to emulate the HJK Helsinki team of 1998/98 – Finland's only group-stage representative to date. Antti Pohja was denied on eight minutes when his header was saved by Lars Hirschfeld.
Rosenborg soon began to take charge, however, and turned the match emphatically in their favour with two goals in three minutes midway through the half. First Koppinen – playing against his countrymen – pounced to turn in Marek Sapara's corner on 19 minutes before Koné, fresh from scoring four times against Astana, found the net again with an acrobatic finish.
Tampere heads did not drop, though, and early in the second period they created several opportunities. With the hosts still confident following their surprise victory over PFC Levski Sofia, Jari Niemi fired just wide and substitute Chimezie Daniels Nwoke was kept out by the woodwork on 78 minutes. Having survived those scares, Rosenborg punished their hosts with a third goal as Koné tapped in after Sapara's free-kick had come back off the bar.
"We weren't that far behind them over the 90 minutes," said Tampere coach Ari Hjelm. "The first goal was too easy and the way the second went in immediately after, didn't help us. I think in the second half we played bravely and we are not giving up."
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