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1 vs 1
Played
March 23, 2013 1:15 AM IST
Estadio Municipal El Molinón — Gijón
Referee:‬ O. Hațegan‎
Attendance:‬ 27637‎
 
Top of the Match
Teemu Pukki
Teemu Pukki
Finland
Teemu Pukki
Teemu Pukki
Finland
Flop of the Match
Arbeloa
Arbeloa
Spain
Cesc Fàbregas
Cesc Fàbregas
Spain

Spain 1-1 Finland: Pukki leveller leaves world champions reeling

Sergio Ramos scored to seemingly end his 100th cap with a win, but la Roja's lack of a cutting edge saw them pegged back late on as France take top spot in Group I

By Keeghann Sinanan

Perparim Hetemaj, Álvaro Arbeloa - Spain v Finland
Getty Images
Sergio Ramos marked his 100th cap with a goal, but that was not enough for Spain, who were held to a shocking 1-1 draw by Finland in their World Cup qualifier at El Molinon on Friday.

The 26-year-old defender became the youngest player to reach a century of international appearances, and his 49th minute header seemed to be enough for Vicente del Bosque's men, who dominated throughout but were frustrated for long spells by the visitors' defensive approach.

But la Roja's inability to turn possession into goals cost them late on, as Teemu Pukki stunned the crowd by drilling home a 79th minute leveller to salvage a point for the visitors.

Spain now fall two points behind Group I leaders France, who they visit on Tuesday, while Finland, despite the result, still remain bottom in the standings with only two points to their name.

Cesc Fabregas reprised his false-nine role as one of seven Barcelona players in the home side’s XI, which was a record number of starters from a single team in la Roja’s World Cup qualifying history.

Spain were quickly on the front foot, and nearly took an early lead when Nicklas Moisander inadvertently deflected Cesc Fabregas’ cross towards goal, forcing a fine reflex save out of Niki Manepaa.

The match soon settled into a familiar pattern, as Finland were penned deep in their own half by Spain’s tiki-taka football, with Pukki cutting an isolated figure alone up front for the visitors.

Manepaa smothered a close range effort from Andres Iniesta, but was forced to work a bit harder to beat away Santi Cazorla’s strike, after the Arsenal man had cut in from the flanks.

Cazorla then completely mis-hit a loose ball that caught the defence by surprise, before Finland belatedly sniffed out their first decent sight on goal, when Roman Eremenko blasted about a foot over from outside the box.

The entirety of the match was being played in the offensive third, but not for the first time, Spain were frustrated by the sheer numbers at the back from their opponents, and could not muster much more than half-chances as the first half petered out.

With their conventional approach stymied, it took a more direct route for la Roja to break the deadlock, and it was Ramos who came up with the goods, heading in Silva’s corner minutes into the second half.

The goal seemed to unburden Spain, and Ramos, who was finding himself in increasingly advanced positions, nearly struck again when a rasping drive from him flew the wrong side of the post.

The hosts were then up in arms when the referee waved play on after Fabregas was sent tumbling by Alexander Ring in the area, moments before Pukki shot wide on a rare Finland sighting in the opposition half.

But Spain were unable to seriously threaten again as the match entered its closing stages, and were pegged back with 11 minutes remaining when Pukki stole in between Ramos and Pique to turn home from close range.

Still, the hosts had chances to win it late on, but Alvaro Negredo twice failed to convert, sending a header wide before he was denied by Manepaa, as Finland became only the second team in seven years to avoid defeat away to the world and European champions.

 



Spain

1
Víctor Valdés
Goalkeeper
3.00
17
Arbeloa
Defender
2.00
18
Jordi Alba
Defender
3.00
3
Piqué
Defender
3.50
4
Sergio Ramos
Defender
49′
4.00
16
Busquets
Midfielder
3.50
19
Santi Cazorla
Midfielder
46′
2.50
21
David Silva
Midfielder
49′ 91′
3.50
4
Cesc Fàbregas
Midfielder
76′
2.50
8
3.50
9
David Villa
Striker
65′
3.00

Finland

3.00
-
Niki Maenpaa
Goalkeeper
85′
2.50
27
2.50
-
2.50
-
3.50
25
3.50
5
Alexander Ring
Midfielder
79′
2.50
7
2.50
56
2.50
23
Roman Eremenko
Midfielder
3.00
28
Teemu Tainio
Midfielder
69′
4.00
20

Substitutes

1
David de Gea
Goalkeeper
 - 
25
Pepe Reina
Goalkeeper
 - 
33
 - 
28
 - 
17
Monreal
Defender
 - 
23
Isco
Midfielder
 - 
14
Javi García
Midfielder
 - 
15
 - 
14
Xabi Alonso
Midfielder
 - 
8
Juan Mata
Striker
76′
 - 
9
Negredo
Striker
65′
3.50
7
Pedro
Striker
46′
3.00

Substitutes

 - 
41
Jesse Joronen
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
Lucas Hradecky
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
Jarko Hurme
Defender
 - 
6
 - 
-
 - 
-
 - 
-
 - 
-
3.00
-
Tim Sparv
Midfielder
69′
 - 
32
 - 
9
Njazi Kuqi
Striker
 - 
-
Riku Riski
Midfielder

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

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Results
Group A Matchday 5
Times In IST
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Robin van Persie Robin van Persie
Striker
Man. United
11 2
Edin Dzeko Edin Dzeko
Striker
Manchester City
10 0
Mesut Özil Mesut Özil
Midfielder
Arsenal
8 3
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
8 1
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
8 0