Kups is currently in 3rd behind Ilves the leader by 3 points and to say they are not challenging for the title will be an under statement. They posses a good record vs Mariehamm, won 5 out of past 5 meetings and have qualified for the next Europa League round. All statistics points to a Kups win.
Making the trip to the Telia 5G -areena is an SJK side who have also had a pretty mixed bag in the early stages of the season as they sit just three points from top spot. The visitors have also been improving in their recent outings and with just one defeat in their previous seven outings, it is easy to see why they are in the position they are in. However, things are very tight at the top of the Veikkausliiga and defeat this Tuesday will put a very different spin on how the table looks.
Although this clash represents a meeting between the second and third best defensive records in the division, we think the recent improvements of the hosts and the fact that the visitors have it all to play for at the top of the league means that goals will be the order of the day. When you also consider that five of the previous seven encounters between the sides have resulted in both teams scoring, then backing both teams to find the back of the net looks like the best chance of a decent return.
Pre-season expectations are a funny thing as they will be typically high for the majority of fans who believe that their side have finally got the tools to kick on in the league and achieve success. However, although expectations at both HIFK and SJK would not have been particularly high, both sides come into this Tuesday’s clash in high spirits as neither side looks in bad touch and, fortunately for us, that should result in an entertaining fixture.
For fans of HIFK, they would not have been expecting too much from the campaign as the title looked beyond reach but they were too good to be involved in a scrap at the bottom. However, in the early stages of the season they struggled to put points on the board and found themselves in a battle they wished to have no part of. Fortunately for the hosts, their form picked up and they come into this match undefeated in their previous five matches, albeit four of those five matches finishing in a draw.
Ilves seen to mean business this season, not just in the league. Since the turn of the year, they've not been defeated on home soil in a competitive game. They're solid at the back on don't give the opposition too many chances. In contrast Marienhime have been wobbly on the road. They do attack but concede 1.8 goals/game that's a lot in this league. With Ilves' organisation and intensity I think they should get a win and keep the pressure on HJK at the top. Fingers crossed.