Finland lose top spot after Moldova defeat

Moldova 1-0 Finland
Constantin Bogdan got the only goal in Tiraspol to ensure that Mika Laurikainen's visitors surrendered top spot in qualifying Group 1.

Constantin Bogdan enjoys his winning goal
Constantin Bogdan enjoys his winning goal ©Vadim Caftanat

Finland's hopes of topping UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 1 took a serious blow in Tiraspol as Constantin Bogdan got the only goal of the game to win it for Moldova.

Mika Laurikainen's side led the section ahead of Tuesday's action and were confident of holding onto pole position against opponents who had won just one of their four qualifying matches. However, Bogdan's 68th-minute strike secured the points for the hosts, meaning Finland surrender their status as pacesetters.

The visitors controlled the pace in the first half but were unable to carve out clear chances. Indeed, the best opening fell to Moldova's Vadim Raţa who shot at goal after a swift counter, only to see defensive bodies throw themselves in the way of his effort.

Alexandr Curteian's men were the more dangerous again in the second period and Ion Ursu crashed an attempt against the post from the edge of the area after another quick break. The goal arrived shortly after, as Vasile Jardan's wicked cross from the right presented Bogdan with a great opportunity which he headed past Jesse Joronen to ensure his team moved to within a point of Finland. It was the Finns' first defeat after two wins and two draws.