HIFK toiled and fought, HJK tightened up and won. But football fell into obscurity when the supporters were embarrassed and canceled the Helsinki derby.
It was expected to be noisy when HJK and HIFK met in the season’s second football derby in Helsinki. Emotions ran high – and there was speculation that the HIFK supporters had stolen a HJK banner.
After twenty minutes of play, the rumors were a fact. At HIFK’s short side, a “Klubipääty” banner was unfurled, and the supporters tried to set it on fire.
On the other side, a group of black-clad, upset HJK supporters rushed down from the stands in an attempt to get to the other side. The players immediately stepped off, riot police ran onto the field and stood at the center line.
There is the scandalous sequence that will be the most talked about after HJK’s 2-1 victory in the derby – regardless of how exciting the football match itself was.
When coaches Mixu Paatelainen and Toni Koskela sat down to answer questions, the interruption in the match was a given topic of conversation.
– I am grateful for how security was managed. This happens all over the world, but safety was assured, says Paatelainen.
– It is hoped that a match can be carried out without interruption. Getting onto the field should not be accepted. I don’t know what happens after the match, but what happened in the arena was done well, says Koskela.
Had received clear information
Neither Paulus Arajuuri nor Perparim Hetemaj wanted to comment further on what happened.
– I have played abroad for a long time and sometimes matches have been interrupted. Finally, the most important thing is that we were safe. In any case, this was a unique event for the audience. HIFK is a spice for the league, says Hetemaj.
In addition to the stoppage in the match, both heels ignited countless flares. The gunpowder smoke was sometimes thick over the arena in Tölö.
– For us coaches, the break in the match gave us a free timeout to gather the team. We had received clear information about what applies in case the match is interrupted, straight track into the dressing room, says Paatelainen.
“Absolutely incredible feeling”
When the derby resumed it was 1-1. When the clock crept up to ninety minutes, the scoreboard was unchanged and on sunny days HIFK looked to be on their way to points, but then the new league leaders struck.
HIFK lost the ball in midfield, HJK attacked and in the end Santeri Hostikka put in 2-1 – a goal that saw HJK overtake KuPS at the top of the table.
– There is no better way to win. An absolutely incredible feeling – and in the end we deserved this victory. We were a bit sleepy in the first half, but got better pressure in the game after the break, says Arajuuri.
Arajuuri watched the final stages from the sidelines. He rode on a proper thigh cake and was forced to get off after just over an hour.
– Bad luck, the muscle stopped cooperating.
Hope HIFK survives
Even more difficult for the former national team favorite in that he played his first league game in almost thirteen years. This summer he injured his ankle in the European Games.
– It has been incredibly frustrating to be away. I have missed the matches, the emotions. It was a lot of fun to be back – especially in a match like this with such a nice setting.
Do you hope that HIFK clears the contract for these derbies to be on the calendar for HJK next year?
– I really do. These are unique, important matches for Finnish football.
Speaking of unique matches for Finnish football: HJK’s next task comes already on Thursday. Spanish league number four Real Betis awaits at the start of the Europa League – matches that a financially pressed HIFK can only dream of.
With just over a month left in the league season, everything suggests that Monday’s chaos derby was the last in Helsinki for quite some time.
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