HJK v FC Lahti – The return of the Mac
The league leaders from Helsinki haven’t played a league game since June 25th due to Champions League qualifications. Last week’s away game in Kazakhstan, Astana ended in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in injury time. Meanwhile title contenders SJK and RoPS had their chances to climb past HJK in the league table, however, RoPS & SJK lost both their games.
Fan favorite Mac Kandji makes his return to Helsinki after spending a season in Saudi Arabia, and is intended to replace flop signing Mike Havenaar. Central defender Valtteri Morén left the reigning champions for Belgium. Winger Nikolai Alho is still out due to a long-term injury.
FC Lahti are on a winning roll, and after a disappointing first half of the season, they are looking to return to the race for Europa League spots. Last year’s second runner-ups haven’t lost in 5 games, but face a tough challenge in Helsinki. This is a heated clash with fans hating each other and games often being chaotic. No injuries or suspensions for Lahti.
HJK and Lahti tend to offer entertaining games with a high tempo. Even though SJK and RoPS are making it easy for HJK to go for a seventh consecutive championship, the disappointing Champions League exit would have knocked their morale. Mac Kandji will surely give us a show, but so will the Lahti offense..
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 @ 2.30
RoPS v SJK – Who’s going for silver?
For half a season RoPS and SJK were seriously challenging HJK in the title race, but as August started the race is over. Two losses in a row for both teams have given a chance for Inter, IFK Mariehamn and FC Lahti to sign up for medals.
RoPS faced a last minute loss home against Lahti, and SJK were surprised in Pietarsaari by Jaro. The visiting team has a 3 game dry spell, and coach Valakari is desperately trying to solve his squad’s scoring problems. Hosts have slacked with their collective defending and league leading scorer Aleksandr Kokko has slowed down with his scoring pace. Jean Fridolin Nganbe Nganbe and Juuso Majava are still injured for the host team, goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski might start after recovering from a shoulder injury. No suspensions or injuries in SJK’s squad.
High stakes in this game, as two disappointed teams face each other. Let’s go for a surprising high scoring game though, as I expect to see one of this month’s most entertaining games. SJK’s dry spell has to end sooner or later, and it ends with a goal fest.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 @ 2.57
IFK Mariehamn v KTP – Stuck at the bottom with you?
IFK dominated the 2nd half in Vaasa on Sunday, but couldn’t find a way to get past VPS goalkeeper Henri Sillanpää. An unfortunate deflection from Kojola gave VPS the winning goal as the game finished 1-0. Coach Lyyski was happy with his sides play, but not with the result (nor the referee).
KTP visited Ilves in Tampere, only to lose 2-0 and gaining relegation anxiety. Dark clouds hover above the visitors, as first-choice goalkeeper Jere Pyhäranta is still suspended. Striker Samuli Kiviranta is still injured, but defender Emerik Grönroos was recently signed to the green and whites. IFK striker Aleksei Kangaskolkka is out for the season, otherwise the hosts are missing no one.
IFK are looking for a chance to climb up towards a third spot, meanwhile KTP are desperately looking for an exit from the relegation zone, as both VPS and Ilves are snapping up points here and there.
KTP are in horrible form with only a tiny amount of hope for salvation from relegation. IFK has played well with some unfortunate results, but shouldn’t have a problem defeating the worst team in the league.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK Mariehamn -1.25 @ 2.04
Prices correct at time of writing.
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