On Thursday, Murilo pedaled the exercise bike while the rest of the HJK team prepared for an important league match.

    HJK’s star defender Murilo did not play against Honka on Thursday. Matti Raivio / AOP

    The international break hit an important seam for HJK, when it was able to recover from the stress of the European games and the Veikkausliiga championship fight.

    Nevertheless, a big name was again missing from the lineup of the league’s top team. One of the best players of the entire season, left Fullback Murilocouldn’t even fit on HJK’s bench against Honka.

    Earlier on Thursday, Murilo updated the Instagram story section with a video of his exercise bike training. Helsingin sanomat newspaper reported just over a week ago that the brass star had a falling out with HJK coaching because he was not satisfied with the head coach Toni Koskelan for player roulette and rest shifts.

    Murilo, 26, has not played a single minute in the last three matches.

    – On a general level, I can comment that the best possible team is selected for each game. The life of a professional soccer player involves all kinds of demands that you have to be able to handle, Koskela answered Murilo’s question.

    The top fight is alive

    KuPS’s loss on Wednesday gave HJK the opportunity to break the already eight-point lead. It didn’t succeed in that. Honka won 3–1.

    Kuopio has four matches left, HJK only three.

    – All losses feel bad. Never get used to them. However, the situation is still the same. Everything is in our own hands.

    – KuPS has a tough challenge on Sunday against Honka, Koskela said.

    Third place Honka is eight points behind HJK. It still has good seams for the silver fight, the championship would require a miracle.

    – We are not aiming for anything other than the championship, Honga’s goal gun Agon Sadiku assured.