VPS v IFK Mariehamn
Losing dramatically in the very last minute against RoPS in Rovaniemi after failing to utilize their own chances, VPS, led by captain Sebastian Strandvall’s brace, went on to wasting no chances and grabbing a convincing 1-3 win at Inter.
Although VPS did win by quite clear numbers, the performance overall was not better than at Rovaniemi. Inter had their fair share of scoring opportunities but Marko Meerits played one of his better matches as VPS goalkeeper. Additionally, poor finishing was a great help for the Estonian international.
Nonetheless, Juha Hakola and Sebastian Strandvall are smoking hot right now, with the German youngling Berkant Güner improving his game as a left wingback, while Jesper Engström is still hurt. Joonas Vahtera did not yet make his comeback but could get his chance from the bench against IFK.
The visitors had a horrible preseason and start to the league. A few wins in late April and early May gave the club a positive lift, however, now it is all gone. Mariehamn have gained only one point from their six previous matches.
In their last home defeat against RoPS, Mariehamn were the dominant side creating plenty scoring opportunities. However, RoPS played like VPS at Inter, using their chances efficiently. It will be interesting to see if IFK can continue in the same way against VPS, albeit they did not get a reward for their improvement against RoPS.
Mariehamn has been a tough opponent for VPS. Their latest win over the islanders is from 2015, which raises the odds for the home side. However, VPS costly individual mistakes at Mariehamn earlier this season was the sole reason they did not win.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS -0.25 at 1.900
TPS Turku v FC Inter
A first goal on home turf this season was a small reward from TPS last fixture. A 1-1 draw against Lahti helps little when PS Kemi pulled off another win, this time with an early red card, too.
This derby could not come at a better time, since Inter are probably the only opponent TPS can beat right now. Inter are, in fact, the only club they have beaten thus far in Veikkausliiga 2018.
There is something special about these derbies, as they are so intense. It is the only true rivalry in the league between two teams from the same city, since HIFK got relegated. There is the history, too. Both teams have 14 wins each in Veikkausiliga, 12 times they have drawn.
Inter seemed to have a somewhat bristling team spirit against VPS, where Mika Ojala made an awful game and Timo Furuholm felt quite lonely until he got company from the bench by Benjamin Källman. Nonetheless, Inter were active forwards and weak backwards.
With that in mind, and TPS breaking the home drought, I look forward to another intensive Turku derby, where anything can happen, and goals should be a guarantee. In addition, four of Inter’s five previous games have seen over 2.5 goals.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 2.080
KuPS v HJK
KuPS’ gaffer Jani Honkavaara made the odd choice to allow their hosts Honka dominate the possession last round. It can, under certain conditions, be a good idea against VPS, who also like possession but are prone to a way more static passing. However, against Honka I cannot understand why it would be a tactical choice.
And it did cost KuPS early on. Honka took a 2-0 lead before the halfway mark and looked very comfortable in their doing. An early reduction from Pennanen in the second half was not enough for KuPS, who could not stress the opponent goalkeeper that much.
The offensive creativity took a big hit when KuPS sold their homegrown talent Urho Nissilä to Belgian side Zulte-Waregem. Egyptian international Abdalla El Said had his role for his short stint at the club and is also gone now. Estonian international Ats Purje is a shadow of his past self, leaving way too much on captain Petteri Pennanen’s shoulders.
After a series of excellent performances, HJK ran into a wall at Tammela against Ilves. The weird decision to bench Filip Valencic, who has earlier had a fun time against Ilves, set it marks in HJK’s offensive play.
It was a thrilling match that could have ended in either team’s favor, however, the frustration was visible in the away side in the end. Anthony Annan got himself a suspension after a second yellow card, and a weird scene occurred a few minutes later when HJK captain Rafinha stopped playing for some reason. His young teammate Sebastian Dahlström gave him feedback for this, which resulted in a heated conversation.
A bit dark clouds over HJK’s horizon is not much compared to KuPS’ serious downshift. Honkavaara made a total fool out of Lehkosuo earlier this season at Telia5G, but this time I think Honsu’s arsenal is too empty.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: HJK -0.50 at 2.010
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