Soccer: Armenia 0 Finland 0

Oct 7 2006

Roy Hodgson’s crusade to lead Finland to their first major finals
suffered a setback after they failed to overcome lowly Armenia in
their Euro 2008 Group A qualifier.

The pre-match table-toppers, who took four points from their opening
duels with Portugal and Poland, came closest to claiming the win,
but a succession of wasted chances ensured Armenia snatched their
first point.

Almost two years to the day since the last meeting between the two
in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, Armenia started brightly in Yerevan.

But despite forging half-chances in the first and 14th minutes of
the match, neither Arman Karamyan or Armen Shahgeldyan could direct
their long-range efforts beyond goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

At the other end, Gevorg Kasparov was also rarely tested, an easy
catch from Petri Pasanen in the 20th minute proving the extent of
his first-half exertions.

Yeghishe Melikyan then forced Jaaskelainen to parry his powerful
effort from 25 yards before Crystal Palace’s Shefki Kuqi blasted his
22nd-minute drive wide.

The game briefly flirted with excitement on 28 minutes when Sami
Hyypia received a yellow card for a foul on Karamyan but, as if
to prove the balance of the first half, Armenia’s Karen Aleksanyan
hacked Hannu Tihinen down six minutes later and levelled the game at
one booking each.

The second period offered much of the same, Kuqi firing over and Hyypia
sending a close-range header wide as the sides grappled for dominance.

Shahgeldyan then wasted a couple of chances with the game an hour old,
before Finland’s Mika Vayrynen forced a stunning save from Kasparov
with 19 minutes remaining.

Kasparov was again called into action with the 90 minutes nearly
elapsed, denying substitute Mikael Forssell and captain Jari Litmanen
with a succession of fine stops to ensure a stalemate.


Armenia Kasparov, Hovsepyan, Arzumanyan, Dokhoyan, Melikyan,Samvel
Melkonyan, Tigranyan,Karen Aleksanyan (Aram Hakobyan 54),Arman Karamyan
(Lazarian 45), Shahgeldyan,Manucharyan (Ara Hakobyan 78).

Subs Not Used: Hambardtsumyan, Erzrvnyan, Tadevosyan, Nazaryan.

Booked: Karen Aleksanyan, Arzumanyan, Ara Hakobyan, Samvel Melkonyan.

Finland Jaaskelainen, Pasanen, Hyypia, Tihinen,Vayrynen (Nurmela 73),
Litmanen, Kolkka, Kuqi (Forssell 66),Kallio, Johansson (Riihilahti
83), Heikkinen.

Subs Not Used: Kaven, Kuivasto, Kopteff, Wiss.

Booked: Hyypia, Pasanen.

Att: 7,500 Ref: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

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