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Finland's Forssell breaks San Marino resistance

San Marino 0-1 Finland
The hosts defended stoutly throughout but remain without a point in Group E after Mikael Forssell scored the only goal just before half-time.

Mikael Forssell takes the plaudits after his decisive goal against San Marino
Mikael Forssell takes the plaudits after his decisive goal against San Marino ©Getty Images

San Marino remain without a point in Group E of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying having lost 1-0 against Finland, who move up to fourth in the section.

Giampaolo Mazza's side defended impressively throughout in Serravalle and provided a notable threat on the counterattack. They limited their visitors to two clear sightings of Aldo Simoncini's goal, but the second of those openings proved decisive thanks to Mikael Forssell's fine finish.

Home captain Andy Selva had been first to threaten for either side, connecting with Matteo Vitaioli's cross only to narrowly miss the target. Mixu Paatelainen's team were quick to respond, though Alexei Eremenko Jr's header proved comfortable enough for Simoncini.

The breakthrough arrived four minutes before half-time when Forssell, having been picked out by Mika Väyrynen on the edge of the penalty area, dribbled past two defenders and finished with aplomb. Beaten on that occasion, Simoncini recovered quickly to deny Niklas Moisander in fine fashion before watching his counterpart Lukas Hradecky save with ease from Pier Filippo Mazza at the other end.

Eremenko Jr chanced his arm with a free-kick soon after the interval which went narrowly off target, but it mattered not for Finland had done enough to thwart Sammarinese resistance. They will look to climb within three points of second-placed Sweden with victory in Solna on Tuesday, when San Marino host Hungary.