Romania kept their faint hopes of making the UEFA Under-21 European Championship play-offs alive with a 1-0 victory against Finland in Valkeakoski.
Banel Nicolita scored what proved to be the game's only goal after just two minutes, rising unmarked to send a looping header over Finland goalkeeper Ville Liskola. The strike sparked off an entertaining first half, but Romania retreated after the interval as they looked to hold on to their lead.
Finland then took the initiative with the effervescent Juho Mäkelä looking particularly dangerous. He could have equalised with 20 minutes remaining, but after racing clear of Romanian defence, he screwed his shot went well wide of the upright.
Five minutes later the Finnish striker turned provider, arcing a cross into the area that Niklas Tarvajärvi headed narrowly wide. With the pressure mounting, Romania captain Mihaita Plesan could have sealed the win after he too found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but was tugged back by Finland defender Janne Vellamo, who was subsequently dismissed.
"The performance was OK but the result wasn't," Finland coach Markku Kanerva said after the game. "You have to take your chances at this level." His Romanian counterpart Florin Marin will be grateful they did not, although with his side's fixtures now complete, he will hope Finland are more decisive when they face the Czech Republic – who need just a point to deny Romania second place – on Tuesday.