Finland kept alive their slender UEFA EURO 2016 qualification hopes by beating the Faroe Islands 1-0 in Helsinki courtesy of Joel Pohjanpalo's first-half headed goal.
This qualifying Group F victory was a second in four days for Markku Kanerva's side and again resulted from a solitary Pohjanpalo strike, following the 20-year-old forward's match winner in Greece. The Finns are now within three points of third-placed Hungary and six shy of Romania, in second, with two fixtures still to play.
After a cautious opening 15 minutes from both teams at the Helsingin Olympiastadion, Finland started to enjoy more possession and carved out a couple of decent chances. It was pressure that culminated in Pohjanpalo's 23rd-minute goal. When Alexander Ring hit the crossbar from 15 metres, Pohjanpalo was the quickest to react and nodded the ball in just under the bar.
Now playing catch-up, the Faroe Islands found a way back into the game before half-time yet clear-cut opportunities eluded them.
The early stages of the second half were all about the battle for midfield supremacy, with Lars Olsen's visitors fighting hard to get back on level terms. Their best chance of an equaliser came when Fródi Benjaminsen headed narrowly wide past the hour mark.
However, Finland then threatened to double their advantage, with Pohjanpalo, afforded time and space in front of goal, having a shot brilliantly saved by Gunnar Nielsen. When Thomas Lam eventually did find the net, he was adjudged to have handled the ball. No matter, as the Finns held on to remain in contention in the section. However, the Faroes are out.
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