Another assist for City striker as Finland beat Idah and Ireland
PUBLISHED: 19:10 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 22:02 14 October 2020
There was a second assist in two games for Teemu Pukki, as the Norwich City striker teed up the only goal as Finland beat the Republic of Ireland 1-0 in the Uefa Nations League.
Pukki started the Group B4 match in Helsinki as he earned his 84th international cap and had gone close with two chances in the first half after a quiet start to the game, firing just wide on both occasions.
But the 30-year-old made a crucial contribution in the 66th minute, intercepting a short goal-kick from Ireland keeper Darren Randolph and crossing to allow Fredrik Jensen to convert from close range in the 66th minute.
Canaries team-mate Adam Idah was introduced by the visitors in the 75th minute, the 19-year-old earning his third cap, but wasn’t able to help force an equaliser with Finland keeper Lukas Hradecky making two fine late saves.
Pukki had been replaced in the 80th minute but the Finns got the job done without their talisman in the closing stages, to move to the top of the group with three wins from four games.
They had won 2-0 at home to Bulgaria on Saturday, when Pukki played 87 minutes and had also set up one of the goals - having won 1-0 in Ireland in September.
The 30-year-old had scored 10 goals in eight games to propel his nation to European Championship qualification and their first major tournament but is now without a goal in four international matches.
He has played every minute of Championship action for Norwich so far this season, with one goal and one assist from four games - setting up Idah unselfishly during the 1-0 win at Huddersfield during the opening weekend and seeing a header bundled in by Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd during a 2-2 home draw.
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Kenny McLean came on in the 70th minute of Scotland’s 1-0 home win over the Czech Republic, replacing Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser, who had scored the early goal.
It’s been a lively spell for the Canaries midfielder, coming on as a late sub last Thursday and scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out after a 0-0 draw with Israel at Hampden Park, to earn a European Championship qualification play-off final.
He also played all of a 1-0 home win over Slovakia on Saturday, with the two Nations League wins sending Steve Clarke’s men to the top of Group B2.
Norwich number one Tim Krul was an unused substitute for two Nations League games, with Holland drawing 1-1 in Italy tonight, but did make his first international appearance in five years during a 1-0 friendly loss to Mexico in Amsterdam last week.
Similarly, City’s back-up keeper Michael McGovern was back on the bench as Northern Ireland lost 1-0 in Norway in the Nations League, having started a 1-0 home loss to Austria on Saturday.