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Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeSportsMoldova 1 – 1 Faroe Islands: A case of Jekyll & Hyde

Moldova 1 – 1 Faroe Islands: A case of Jekyll & Hyde

The Faroe Islands opened their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a tight 1-1 draw against Moldova in Chișinău on Friday, which means the nation is still looking for its first competitive away victory in over two years (Andorra, September 2020). 

In the nation’s first competitive match since the historic victory over Türkiye last September, the Faroes were hit by injuries to multiple key players, including goalkeeper Teitur Gestsson, captain Hallur Hansson, Jóan Símun Edmundsson, Brandur Hendriksson, and Jóannes Bjartalíð; meaning Mattias Lamhauge and Mads Boe Mikkelsen were given their first senior international competitive starts.

The game’s opening quarter was a scrappy affair, with neither side taking the initiative. But things came to life in the 20th minute when Mads Boe Mikkelsen shot wide on his weaker left foot after a mazy run into the box. However, moments later, he put things right when he cooly slotted the ball home after being put one-to-one thanks to Meinhard Olsen’s precise through ball, and in the process, scored his first international goal—congrats Mads! 

On the 39th minute, Klæmint Olsen nearly doubled the lead when his shot from the ever-influential Mikkelsen cross was smartly pushed away by the Moldovan goalkeeper Dorian Răilean as the Faroes saw out a satisfying half in comfort.

Yet, if the first half was easy, the second was anything but. Midway through an improving Moldova were denied a stonewall penalty from a blatant Odmar Færø goal-saving handball (we really got lucky there) as the home side grew into the match. This was followed minutes later by a heroic clearance off the line from the highly involved Færø, preventing a near-comical Viljormur Davidsen own goal. The heroic last-ditch defending continued as Moldova camped inside the away side’s half.

Sadly, the pressure finally took its toll in the 85th minute when Moldova was awarded a penalty as Jákup Andreasen was judged to have elbowed midfielder Serafim Cojocari from a corner kick. And striker Ion Nicolaescu sent Mattias Lamhauge the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.

‘So one-sided’ 

This match was a real case of Jekyll & Hyde for Landsliðið, as they went from being totally in command of proceedings in the first half to clinging on in the second. We don’t know what was said or done at half-time, but whatever occurred wasn’t acceptable as the controlled match somehow got away, and it does frankly feel like two points were dropped in Chișinău. Nonetheless, on the positive side, it is a point away from home, with numerous vital Faroese players missing, and against a country whose population is 49 times that of the Faroes (2.065 million compared to 53,000).

Here are my players’ ratings:
1) Mattias Lamhauge — 6.5/10
20) René Shaki Joensen — 6.5/10
5) Odmar Færø — 8/10
16) Gunnar Vatnhamar — 8/10
3) Viljormur Davidsen — 7/10
2) Mads Boe Mikkelsen — 8/10 (MOTM)
10) Sølvi Vatnhamar — 6/10
22) Jákup Andreasen — 5.5/10
7) Meinhard Olsen — 6.5/10
9) Patrik Johannesen — 6.5/10
11) Klæmint Olsen — 6/10
13) Noah Mneney (for Patrik Johannesen 63rd Minute) — 5.5/10
14) Gilli Rólantsson (for Mads Boe Mikkelsen 71st minute) — 5.5/10
4) Heini Vatnsdal (for Odmar Færø 79th minute) — N/A
19) Ári Jónsson (for Meinhard Olsen 79th minute) — N/A
21) Páll Klettskarð (for Klæmint Olsen 79th minute) — N/A
Coach Håkan Ericson — 4/10. Really poor game management to let a below-average Moldova side back into the match. 

“We got ‘defensive’ in our mindset, dropping too deep,” goal creator Meinhard Olsen reflectively declared after the game. “Never worked for us, and then it made the game so one-sided. Very disappointing as we had good control in first half. Goes to show that this team has very big room for improvement. Without setting higher standards we can get dominated by teams like Moldova.”

Next up for the Faroes is a friendly match away to North Macedonia in Skopje, to be played on Monday at 17:00 GMT.

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