Euro 2016 in France kicked off on Friday night, but boy did the return of Veikkausliiga excite me. The bottom three became an even tighter group than before, resembling last season’s trio, as PK-35 beat HIFK at Sonera stadium and Inter lost once again. VPS gigantic 3-0 win over HJK assured that Lehkosuo’s guys didn’t stretch their lead too far.
Ilves v VPS
Tampere side Ilves are hosting a game once again, as they had the opportunity to do that only three times before the break. Their absolute favorite opponent, KuPS, were once again conquered by a one goal margin. The game-winning goal was, obviously, scored by Paul Emelie Tendeng, which also ended KuPS’ 600+ minutes long clean streak.
After a few successful and some less successful possession-dominating games, VPS led by Vuorinen, really hit the bank. Despite lacking their primary fullbacks and midfielders (to be honest, HJK did miss all of their 4 primary central midfielders, too), Vepsu played better than ever before this season. Jamaican Steven Morrissey has finally found his place on the field as an attacking midfielder.
Midfielder Eero Korte is still likely to miss Ilves’ next game, meanwhile VPS’ fullbacks Engström and Lampi are definitely out. Both teams have been plagued by diseases; Ilves by fever and visitors by a stomach flu, which forced Pyry Soiri to miss their last game.
Although Ilves took their 3rd win in a row, I don’t see them continuing their run. Ilves’ style suits Vuorinen’s philosophy well, which he has changed to a slightly more direct one.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS +0.5 at 1.76
HJK v RoPS
So I mentioned HJK’s oddly poor away form in the last preview, and, would you look at that; another away defeat for HJK. Sure, the pitch at Kaarlen Kenttä is god-awful, and the ref could’ve made another decision or two, but in the end, coach Mika Lehkosuo stated simply that the better team won. 3-0 doesn’t leave that much to talk about. Nikolai Alho got a stupid booking and will miss this game.
Following a strong start, RoPS are suddenly getting closer to push the emergency button. They’ve scored only three times in the last six games, winning none of them. Malinen’s lads are playing too, almost obsessively, safely, which results in few scoring chances and eventually, too much space for the opponent. Perhaps captain Okkonen’s injury was too much after all?
HJK rarely lose by three goals, especially against a middle-tier team like VPS. Despite that and their nearly pathetic attempt to get back to the game on the 2nd half, Lehkosuo wasn’t criticized too harshly. And there’s a simple reason to that, called Dahlström-Malolo. The two (and too) young midfielders played the last time together in the shameful friendly loss at Malmö. Onovo was injured and Medo suspended, as was center back Lum Rexhepi. Rexhepi’s substitute Leo Väisänen wasn’t too great either.
Getting back Medo and Rexhepi is crucial to HJK. On home turf scoring a few goals shouldn’t be a problem at all for HJK, but RoPS is a team that can tease them with a goal, despite missing a suspended Aleksandr Kokko.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 2.17
PS Kemi v FC Lahti
This will be PS Kemi’s first home game of the season. Seriously! As they got promoted against all odds directly to Veikkausliiga after gaining a promotion to Ykkönen only a year earlier, PS Kemi had barely thought about upgrading their, err, so-called stadium. Now the renovation is finally done, and Kemi will host their first championship match in 27 years.
While Kemi is in a celebratory mood with their fresh stadium and 4th spot in the league table, FC Lahti fans are so bored they don’t even bother to stop chugging beer for chanting. Sure, they beat Inter on Thursday, but so would everyone else (except HIFK). Ridiculously dependent in offense on one player, Zenith-loanee Ivan Solovyev, and an unstable goalkeeper in Tomi Maanoja, also known as ‘Psycho’, assure another turbulent season. One area where Lahti are stable, is their pitiful away form: 0 wins in 5 games and 1 scored goal.
Both teams have been enjoying a season of only a handful of minor injuries, which I, actually, see as a problem. Firstly, PS Kemi travels by far the most of all the teams in Veikkausliiga, so it’s just a matter of time when guys start dropping off. Secondly, if Lahti is this bad without injuries, what’s there to look forward to?
Kemi have all the ingredients to a successful home debut, including a flaming hot striker Billy Ions. What on Earth could turn Lahti’s away form to better?
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: PS Kemi +/- 0 at 1.85
Цены правильные на момент написания.
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