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Finland's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying hopes received a huge boost with a last-gasp win in Slovakia and coach Andrée Jeglertz spoke of his "fantastic feeling" but the home side were reduced to tears.
The surprise Group 5 leaders at kick-off, Slovakia had the better of the opening stages but Finland gradually took charge, though they seemed set to miss out on victory when deep in added time substitute Leena Puranen sent in a cross which was headed into her own goal by Eva Kolenová. Now Finland are level on points with both Slovakia and Belarus and have a game in hand on both.
"Of course I am very happy about the result," Jeglertz told UEFA.com. "We were fighting hard in the second half to create chances. We scored in the last minute and it is a fantastic feeling. It was quite an even game, it could have gone both ways. They were a little bit better in the first half, and in the second half we were the best team."
Slovakia coach Zsolt Pakusza, who takes his team to Finland on Thursday, said: "If I were to say that the girls were sad, it would not be enough. They were very disappointed and they cried. We deserved a point."
Certainly early on they were in control with three good chances in the opening 20 minutes, denied more than once by Finland goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela. The only danger at the other end came from Linda Sällström, but she could not add to her five qualifying goals for the 2005 semi-finalists, who reached the last eight on home soil four years later.
"We had great chances in the first half and we should definitely have taken them, scored some goals and forced Finland to play," Slovakia captain Monika Matysová said, while Pakusza added: "I had believed that we could play an even game with them, though they were favourites. We created chances, but were lacking a bit of luck in terms of scoring."
Finland, with some help from a strong wind, controlled the game in second half, but could not get past a Slovakia defence breached only once previously in the group – until the dying moments. "That goal was an enormous disaster for us," Matysová said. "
We were happy with the draw and did not expect this. Immediately after the final whistle we started to cry."
Pakusza agreed: "We were better in the first half, but the second one was tough, to play against the wind sapped our energy, and we were lacking in the end. An unlucky loss."
Jeglertz was not surprised by Slovakia's display. "I knew they had acgood team," the Finland coach said. "I was only surprised that we could not play at a better level in the first half. But during half-time we focused on couple of things and did much better in the second half."
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