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Finland fight back to draw with Wales

Finland 2-2 Wales
Tim Väyrynen's late equaliser rescued a draw that keeps alive the home side's faint hopes of snatching second place in Group 1.

Tim Väyrynen (right) earned Finland a point
Tim Väyrynen (right) earned Finland a point ©FAW

A late Tim Väyrynen equaliser salvaged a draw for Finland at home to Wales in front of more than 5,000 spectators in Turku, keeping alive their hopes of finishing second in Group 1.

The home side had started strongly although the visitors were the first to threaten, Frédéric Gotte saving from Wesley Burns in the 18th minute. Sixty second later, Finland were ahead as Väyrynen sent Robin Lod clean through and the HJK Helsinki midfielder made no mistake, shooting low into the corner of the net.

Wales responded strongly after half-time and drew level through Burns five minutes past the hour, the striker heading in from a corner. Four minutes later, the visitors were ahead thanks to Lee Evans' deflected 25-metre free-kick and it looked like Finland's hopes of overtaking second-placed Moldova were at an end.

Väyrynen, who scored a hat-trick in Finland's 5-1 win in Wales in August 2013, had other ideas, heading powerfully in with three minutes left. It was the visitors who came closest to snatching the win, however, Gwion Edwards hitting the post from close range after an 88th-minute counterattack.

The result leaves Finland on 13 points, three behind Moldova but with a considerably worse goal difference; to finish second they must beat San Marino in the final fixture on Tuesday and hope Moldova lose to section winners England, both by large margins.

"We knew Wales would come strongly in the second half, but for some reason we were not ready for that," said Finland head coach Tommi Kautonen. "They scored two goals, which both seemed to be rather easy. I am disappointed with that, but pleased with how we came back. We got one goal and looked for a winner but unfortunately we had to settle for a draw."