In the other 2 Europa League games, Nõmme Kalju came back from Iceland (2450km!) after beating FRAM Reykjavik 1-0 (goal by Fabio Prates).
In Rakvere, Sillamäe Kalev overcame FC Honka Espoo 2-1, goals scored by Daniil Ratnikov and Evgeni Kabaev. The goal giving hope to Honka for the return was scored by Kabashi.
Splendid sunny day in Tartu with 23’C and a pitch in perfect conditions. Santos kicked off their debut at 18:00 EEST in front of 1,169 people. Including six fans travelling from Tromsoe all the way down to Tartu (two of them by car!)
Santos with no fear and no bus-parking as Ljubinskas sets up a brave 4-3-3 to face Steinar Nilsen’s balanced 4-1-4-1, one of the few formations the former AC Milan player uses for his side. Ondraśek is missing due to injury. The 24-year-old Czech striker is still affected by a broken metatarsus. All for kicking a post following the disappointment of missed goal back in May. Tromsoe in away outfit (blue) and Santos with the traditional white-red striped jersey, resembling Tartu city colours.
After three minutes of play the first corner is for TIL which started with a smooth pressure and control, seemingly not worried to speed up a game that, according to odds and common sense, was all in their favours. However, nothing relevant came from the developments.
The Norwegians started with high defence as both central defenders, Koppinen and Wangberg played close to the midfield line. Full-backs taking care of Alve and Laas on the flanks.
On 8’ minutes incident for the TIL goalie, Lekström. On a free-kick taken long by Santos, Alve went all-in on the shot-stopper coming out of the sticks and knocked him off. The 33-year-old goalkeeper required meds for a couple of minutes before resuming play. The Swedish referee did not think there was enough ground for booking the Santos striker.
On 12’ minutes Drage finds a good cross in the box, however Jonas Johansen was ready on the first post, whereas the ball dropped a bit further for a clearance into corner.
It’s just the introduction to what happened in the developments of the corner kick (13’), as TIL found the lead with a nice shot from distance by Magnus Andersen.
The lead came quite easily from TIL who looked like no-stress at getting to it, kind of being aware sooner or later they were going to score it.
However, Santos managed to scare TIL six minutes later when Timo Teniste released a drive towards Lekström. The Norwegian shot stopper did not expect the power of the ballistic challenge and the ball rebounded on his chest before he could safely catch it. Nice set-up by Alar Alve who released the ball to Teniste after an elegant dribbling (18’).
On 22’ minutes, TIL put the word ‘end’ to the game and to Santos hopes of any chance of qualification, if there any. Again, on the developments of a corner kick, it was Jonas Johansen to head it past Saesk. 0-2
Tartu people tried to encourage the white-reds to come back from a difficult situation, however the goddess fortune did not help just two minutes later when Moldskred shot was deflected by Eero Eessaar. Saesk was already on the floor and could not reach the whirling ball hitting the back of the net (24’)
After less than half an hour of play, the match was virtually over and the second goal by Magnus Andersen counted for his personal brace (43’).
The only other emotion for Santos in first half, was a shot in the box by Eessaar (25’) who came up on another set-piece situation earned in midfield by Timo Teniste, irritated by Jonas Johansen holding him. The Swedish whistle had a go at the confrontation before it could end harshly.
On the resume, Nilsen opted to give a rest to Lekström, probably still affected by the impact with Alve. Nothing to risk for the Norwegian side in entering the young (19) Herlofsen. Ljubinskas left his side unchanged and set up in the same 4-3-3 fashion.
The first emotion of second half was on 56’ minutes when, after winning a ball in Santos half, Frantzen ran into the box. However, his shot, was few centimeters past the far post.
As during the first half, this was the prelude to another TIL goal, the 5th. This time it was Drage to catch the ball and run into Santos defence to put it past the upcoming Saesk. With no league games in between this and the return game at Alfheim Stadium, the challenges start to take the appearance of a training game for Nilsen’s side.
On 62’ Koppinen, the Finnish captain, hit the wood bar on the developments of a corner kick (the 7th for TIL) as he found himself in favorable position to dig a shot with his inner right foot.
On 74’ Norbye brought the score to 6-0 with a similar goal to the one netted by Drage, as Santos defense could not catch the fast right full-back.
On 78’ the score reached 7-0 with Johnsen adding himself to the scoresheet after replacing Remi Johansen in midfield.
Meanwhile Santos made the first change with Kartsep, a youngster brought up at the local academy, replacing Mikk Laas.
7-0 the final score with the stadium speaker advicing jokingly the audience to rush to buy the ticket for the return game in Tromsoe. Sure thing.