Ten-man Finland beat Bosnia to boost World Cup qualifying hopes

Finland rekindled their hopes of reaching the 2022 World Cup finals with a 3-1 win at Bosnia and Herzegovina in their Group D qualifier on Saturday after a gritty performance in a fervent atmosphere gave them a lifeline.

The result left the Finns second in the group on 11 points from seven games, one behind leaders and world champions France who host Kazakhstan later on Saturday. Third-placed Ukraine have nine points with Bosnia fourth on seven.

- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)

- Don't have ESPN? Get instant access

Bosnia spurned two chances before their goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic saved a Teemu Pukki penalty in the 25th minute after Miralem Pjanic handled a long-range effort in the area, but the visitors took the lead four minutes later.

Pukki made amends for his poor spot-kick as he delivered a fine low cross after a one-two with Glen Kamara and Bosnian Anel Ahmedhodzic's desperate attempt to clear the danger ricocheted off Finland's Marcus Forss into the back of the net.

The visitors had defender Jukka Raitala sent off in the 37th minute with a straight red card for a poor tackle on Sead Kolasinac, who limped off and was replaced by Emedin Demirovic.

Finland now sit second in Group on 11 points, one behind leaders France.

More slack defending allowed Finland to double their lead in the 52nd minute as Pukki was given time and space to drag the ball back to Robin Lod, who rifled a fierce shot from 10 metres inside the near post.

The home side pulled one back midway through the second half when Luka Menalo turned a cross by fellow substitute Amer Gojak into the roof of the net, but their hopes of a comeback were dashed by another defensive error in the 73rd minute.

Defender Daniel O'Shaughnessy tapped the ball in from three metres after a long cross from the right sailed past a static Bosnia defence straight into his path, prompting the home fans to jeer their team's lacklustre performance.

The Bosnians, who can no longer qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar, are at home to Ukraine in their last match on Tuesday when Finland host France. The group winners qualify for the finals while the runners-up go into the playoffs.