Hoban breaks Romania duck to foil Finland

Romania 1-1 Finland Ovidiu Hoban's late goal ended a long barren patch for the home side, and guaranteed them at least a play-off place in Group F.

  • Joel Pohjanpalo opens scoring; Ovidiu Hoban levels late
  • Goal ends Romania's longest ever scoring drought at 428 minutes
  • Fourth successive Group F draw for the home side
  • Romania must win in Torshavn on Sunday to be certain of finals place
  • Last games: Faroe Islands v Romania, Finland v Northern Ireland (Sunday) 

Defensive midfielder Ovidiu Hoban's added-time equaliser ended a national-record goal drought for Romania, with Finland's UEFA EURO 2016 hopes ending in Group F.

Romania fielded an attack-minded side, with Finland setting out their stall to defend in numbers and hit their hosts on the break. Claudiu Keșerü looked set to profit, but Lukas Hradecky twice denied him with excellent first-half saves, and produced another decent stop to fend away Bogdan Stancu's effort. At the other end, Ciprian Tătărușanu was rarely called on, though he was alert to block a Pohjanpalo shot on 16 minutes.

Finland briefly took the initiative after the interval, but the game soon reverted to its first-half pattern, Hradecky intervening on 56 minutes to push Gabriel Torje's shot on to the post, and then keeping out a Keșerü header.

With Romania besieging their guests, the sucker punch was thrown in the 67th minute, Pohjanpalo's low strike from inside the box crowning a rare dart forward for the Finns. But for Tătărușanu, the situation could have deteriorated further, the goalkeeper saving from Alexander Ring and Teemu Pukki as Romania lost the thread.

Hoban, though, came to the rescue – though not in time to stop Romania setting a new record goalless run. His finish stopped the clock at 428 minutes – Romania's longest previous barren patch of 413 minutes came to an end in 1948. Florin Andone was teed up to hit a late winner, but Hradecky was the hero again. The draw guarantees Romania at least a play-off place, but a win in the Faroe Islands on Sunday would mean automatic qualification.

Top