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Anatole Abang starts; SJK ties HIFK, 3-3

Not quite the game SJK was hoping for, but Anatole Abang got his first start for the club.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Anatole Abang got his first start for SJK in the team's fifth game of the 2017 Veikkausliiga - the top flight of pro soccer in Finland. Abang has appeared in every league match SJK has played to date this season.

His first start arrived in the context of a slow start to the 2017 league campaign for a team with title ambitions. SJK shuffled its lineup after two consecutive losses, swapping Abang in for regular starting forward Aristote Mboma for a home game against HIFK.

The game didn't go particularly well for Abang or SJK. He picked up a yellow card in the 10th minute (his second in consecutive games), and SJK conceded in the 29th and 52nd. Per SJK's official match report, Abang was involved in some of SJK's more notable chances of the first 60 minutes, but none found the net.

With his team looking at its third consecutive defeat - and second at home - head coach Sixten Bostrom made a double substitution in the 61st minute. Abang and Diego Bardanca were withdrawn, on came Mboma and Facundo Guichon.

Guichon scored to narrow the deficit, but HIFK's Pekka Sihvola completed his hat-trick in the 79th minute.

Another SJK loss seemed inevitable, until Mboma and Billy Ions conjured two injury-time goals to snatch a 3-3 draw.

SJK is next in action on May 6, on the road against Lahti.