|1||Ward (GK)||1||Joronen (GK) (C)|
|12||Roberts (GK)||12||Viitala (GK)|
|Geraint Williams (WAL) ||Mika Laurikainen (FIN) |
Finland secured their first UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 1 victory in emphatic style with a 5-1 defeat of Wales.
Kastriot Kastrati and Tim Väyrynen put Finland in control with goals inside the opening 11 minutes. Their superiority was confirmed before the break when Väyrynen grabbed his second and Moshtagh Yaghoubi added a fourth. An Emyr Huws penalty early in the second half gave Wales a glimmer of hope but Väyrynen completed his hat-trick, and the scoring, in the 57th minute to restore Finland's four-goal lead.
Wales were looking to pick up where they left off after opening the section with victory against Moldova in March, but it was the visitors who took charge early on. Kastrati converted Yaghoubi's corner to open the scoring and his account for the qualifying campaign in the seventh minute, before Väyrynen turned in Nikolai Alho's centre to score his first just four minutes later. Väyrynen was giving the Wales defence a torrid time and the 20-year-old further extended the lead on the half-hour with Yaghoubi laying on another assist.
Finland's impressive first-half performance was capped off by Yaghoubi's effort. Wales were given some hope when Huws converted from the spot in the 47th minute after Felipe Aspegren felled Wesley Burns. However, Väyrynen had the final say, heading another Yaghoubi delivery in to complete his hat-trick and a resounding win for Finland just shy of the hour.
"We have to look at what happened in the first half, we didn't see it coming," Wales manager Geraint Williams told UEFA.com. "They put us under pressure from the outset and we didn't handle it. I was disappointed by the way we defended. We came out in the second half and upped our tempo, but we have to look at why we weren't at that tempo from the start. We must now look at ourselves for a reaction in the next match against San Marino."
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