Bosnia, missing top-scoring striker Edin Dzeko, ripped Finland to shreds in their European Championship qualifier this evening in Zenica.
It was an uncomfortable 90 minutes for Impact’s Jukka Raitala (yellow-carded in the 53rd min) and his Finnish team-mates who really could have lost by a greater margin than 4-1.
The Finns’ consolation goal came from substitute Joel Pohjanpalo, scoring in the 79th minute with his side already four goals down.
Lassi Lappalainen missed the trip to Zenica with a stomach ailment, and the Finns will be hoping he recovers sufficiently for inclusion to Tuesday’s pressure meeting in Turku with Armenia, who should win later this evening at home to Liechtenstein. That would leave the Armenians tied on 12 points with Finland behind the Italians who will comfortably win the group.
Most of the damage in Zenica was done by Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic who scored twice as the Finns fell to their heaviest competitive defeat since losing 0-3 to France in Paris, in a World Cup qualifier six years ago.
Finland remain well-placed for automatic qualification, but the margin for error has worn wafer-thin. It will be interesting to see how they cope on Tuesday against Armenia, with the pressure levels now cranked up.