Kazakhstan boost slim qualification hopes with late winner in Finland

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Kazakhstan boost slim qualification hopes with late winner in Finland
Kazakhstan's Igor Shatskiy shuts down the angle for a shot
Kazakhstan's Igor Shatskiy shuts down the angle for a shot
AFP
Kazakhstan completed a late comeback to defeat Finland 2-1 in Helsinki and keep their UEFA Euro 2024 qualification hopes alive as Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov bagged a brace to break his country’s international goalscoring record.

Both teams really needed the three points and were coming off disappointing defeats at the weekend against the top two sides in Group I, Slovenia and Denmark.

Finland weren’t lacking in confidence following their loss in Ljubljana as they dominated possession in the opening exchanges, with Joel Pohjanpalo’s acrobatic bicycle kick going wide, before visiting goalkeeper Igor Shatsky got down smartly to deny Kaan Kairinen. 

Despite not enjoying many forays forward prior to the break though, Kazakhstan could well have taken the lead when captain Askhat Tagybergen’s inviting delivery was guided over by defender Marat Bystrov.

And the Hawks were made to rue that missed chance as the concession of a free-kick allowed Robert Taylor to enjoy an early celebration ahead of his 29th birthday on Saturday, hammering in from 30 yards, although Shatsky will feel he should have done better after getting his left hand to the shot.

Magomed Adiyev had a job on his hands at half-time to galvanise his troops. The half-time team talk seemed to work as Bagdat Kairov was just a whisker away from levelling the scores early on in the second-half after Maksim Samorodov had produced a mazy dribble before bending a teasing cross into a dangerous area.

Home boss Markku Kanerva must have been getting nervous as Pohjanpalo and full debutant Daniel Hakans spurned good opportunities - and he would have been even more twitchy as Tagybergen’s swerving, dipping chance crashed off Lukas Hradecky’s crossbar.

Finland were finally made to pay however after a penalty was awarded for handball against Richard Jensen following a VAR check, and Zaynutdinov stepped up to match Ruslan Baltiev’s tally of 13 goals, which had stood as Kazakhstan’s outright record since 2009.

And in stunning fashion Zaynutdinov glanced in a header from Ramazan Orazov’s corner, silencing the Olympic Stadium.

Adiyev’s men head into the final pair of qualifiers in November knowing that they still have a chance of making it to Germany next summer, while Finland will definitely miss out on the tournament if Slovenia and Denmark beat Northern Ireland and San Marino respectively later on Tuesday.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov (Kazakhstan)

Finland - Kazakhstan player ratings
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