It was a game of true emotional stress for JJK Jyväskylä fans which ended in heartbreak as they saw their side come back from losing positions on two occasions, only to lose 4-3 to IFK Mariehamn. IFK Mariehamn took the lead twice in the first half, but JJK scored twice in the second to lead 3-2, only for two goals in the final ten minutes for IFK Mariehamn to win the trophy right under Christian Schäfer's side's noses.
3-4 Loss vs IFK Mariehamn (N), Suomen Cup Final - 26/09/2026 Attendance: 3,505
Injuries to Simon Thurling and Mikael Luostarinen forced Christian Schäfer in to starting 36 year old Niko Markkula in an unfamiliar MR position, and 16 year old Antti Punna in MC. Having impressed in previous fixtures, Punna was set to perform on the big stage, in only his eighth senior appearance.
The game did not start brightly for Antti Punna and JJK, however, as they paid the price for failing to properly deal with IFK Mariehamn's pressure. Kenneth Koljander's long pass was latched on to by Marko Mattfolk, and Mariehamn's striker saw his shot spilled in to the back of the net by JJK's Tatu Österlund. Mariehamn had taken the lead in only the tenth minute of play.
JJK struck back fifteen minutes later. Antti Punna's corner delivery was spot on, as the unmarked Aleksis Lehtonen buried a header in to the top corner from the penalty spot to level the game. It was Punna's first real involvement in the game, as he grew more and more comfortable with the responsibility thrust on his shoulders.
Mariehamn regained their lead with just under ten minutes remaining in the first half. Left winger Per Ek wriggled away from Anselmi Nurmela and Niko Markkula before unleashing a low drive pass across goal. The ball reached the back post where Jonas Gunnarsson arrived from the right wing to finish with ease, restoring his side's advantage.
Jonas Gunnarsson Finished Off A Crisp Mariehamn Move To Regain The Lead
JJK's players received a dressing down from their manager during the half-time interval, and they came out for the second period reinvigorated and ready to take the game to their opponents. It was an uphill task for them, but not one they were about to back down to.
It took less than five minutes for JJK to equalise, and Antti Punna was at the heart of the goal scoring move once more. The youngster clipped a wonderful pass in to the feet of Aleksis Lehtonen just inside the box, and the latter squeezed the ball to strike partner Antto Hilska who finished with aplomb. It was game-on once more.
Ten minutes later, and Antti Punna had helped JJK to another goal. The teenage wonderkid picked up the ball from the right wing, before curling a very early cross in to the box. Aleksis Lehtonen had darted in front of his marked and he connected with Punna's cross to volley JJK's third of the afternoon, giving them the lead for the first time in the game.
JJK Took The Lead As Antti Punna Assisted Lehtonen To Score For The Second Time
IFK Mariehamn pushed desperately for an equaliser, and they got one with just ten minutes remaining. Per Ek had found himself in acres of space on the right wing, and his cross was met by the head of substitute Jani Ylitalo, who scored his effort to level the score once more.
Ylitalo was in the center of more action just minutes later as he was tripped in the penalty box by Joona Itkonen, and Mariehamn were awarded a late penalty. Kenneth Koljander stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Tatu Österlund made a heroic stop to keep the score at three goals apiece.
Despite JJK's best efforts, it was not meant to be. Mariehamn had won a corner in the final few minutes of the game, and Jonas Gunnarsson's delivery was met by the head of the unmarked Jani Ylitalo who scored his second goal of the game since coming off the bench. The Suomen Cup went to Mariehamn, who had completed an impressive late comeback to steal the trophy from then-reigning champions JJK. A day to remember for Mariehamn, heart-break for JJK.
Jani Ylitalo Came Off The Bench To Score Twice To Win The Suomen Cup For Mariehamn
"It is a moment of sadness for the football club. The players had worked incredibly hard to reach this stage and performed fantastically to come from behind and take the lead in the second half. Unfortunately for us, Mariehamn played the best game of their history and scored very late on to win the game. It is a disappointing moment in a fantastic season for JJK, but we will learn from this game and perform better in the future."