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Armenia undone by sharp Finns

Wednesday, 8 September 2004

[1] Finland picked up a deserved victory in Yerevan thanks to goals from Mikael Forssell and Alexei Eremenko Jr.

Two wins

[2] The win means Finland have earned two victories in two games and puts them back on track after they lost 2-1 in their opening Group 1 encounter in Romania last month. Forssell struck in the 24th minute while Eremenko Jr, who scored twice in Saturday's 3-0 success at home against Andorra, made the game safe in the 69th minute.

Sharp turn

[3] Armenia started the match in the Republican stadium with plenty of possession but were frustrated in their attempts to breach the Finnish rearguard. The visitors, meanwhile, were content to play on the counterattack and it was from one such breakaway that they scored the opening goal. Aki Riihilahti played the ball forward to Birmingham City FC forward Forssell, and he turned sharply between two defenders before sending a left-foot drive into the top corner from 20 metres.

First chance

[4] Despite the setback, Armenia continued to keep the ball and look for openings. However, for all their efforts it was the Finns who looked the more likely scorers and, on 42 minutes, Forssell worked another opening but shot wide from ten metres. Armenia finally created their first real chance just before the interval as Artur Petrosyan connected well with a corner, but his header was straight at Finland goalkeeper Antti Niemi.

Made to pay

[5] The second half started in the same manner as the first. Armenia turned up the pressure on the hour mark and enjoyed their best period of the match. For a five-minute spell, the Armenian attackers probed for an opening but Niemi was never in trouble. The Armenians were made to pay when Joonas Kolkka sent Eremenko Jr free and, after eluding the Armenian offside trap, he slotted the ball low into the right-hand corner. The goal deflated the hosts and they were lucky not to concede a third when Finland substitute Pekka Lagerblom missed a late chance.

Armenia coach Bernard Casoni saw his side lose at home