Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan): A brace from Teemu Pukki on Tuesday kept Finland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar after they had suffered a 1-2 setback against Ukraine.
The defeat also pushed the nation from second place in qualifying Group D to fourth. However, a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan today at Astana has put Markku Kanerva’s side back on track with just two games left to play.
Pukki’s first goal came just on the stroke of halftime when he stabbed the ball past advancing goalkeeper Igor Shatskiy after latching onto a ball from Kazakhstan midfielder Robin Lod. His second goal came just three minutes into the second half when he tapped the ball rebounded from Statskiy’s foot as the Kazakhstan defender failed to trap a stinging 20-yard footer from debutant Urho Nissila. With these two goals, Pukki became Finland’s all-time record goalscorer surpassing former Liverpool and Ajax legend Jari Litmanen. Finland will be up against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica on November 13 followed by a faceoff with world champions France in Helsinki on November 16. Finland is placed third, level on points with Ukraine who occupy the second spot and a place in the playoffs.