DAVID SMITH - Friday, March 29, 2013
A scoreless draw at Odense was enough to see Charlie Davies and Randers passed by high-flying Nordsjaelland as the race for Denmark's second Champions League qualification spot heats up.
Odense BK 0 - 0 Randers FC
Charlie Davies earned his first league start for Randers, however he was unable to spark the attack as they settled for a scoreless draw at Odense on Thursday.
Davies was a surprise addition to the starting lineup, taking the place of suspended Ronnie Schwartz atop the attack, and tried to make his mark early with a 10th-minute effort that flew wide of the target.
At the half-hour, Elmar Bjarnasson fired in a cross to a dangerous area for Nicolai Brock-Madsen, however his shot was easily blocked away to safety.
Randers had a flurry of activity in the closing minutes of the first half, with Davies in the thick of things, but a lack of sharpness saw the two teams go into the break on even terms.
The visitors began the second half as the ended the first, with an early header by Jonas Borring forcing Odense keeper Jesper Christensen into a timely save.
Odense thought they had scored the go-ahead goal at the hour mark, but luckily for the visitors, the score was called back for an offside infraction.
The remaining minutes of the game saw few chances for either team, with the final whistle signaling a point to each.
With Nordsjaelland beating Aarhus in their game on Friday, Randers drop to third place. They will return to action on Sunday with a visit to SønderjyskE.
FC Nordsjaelland 4 - 2 AGF Aarhus
Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland took a big step towards securing their return to next season's Champions League, putting up four goals in a commanding victory over AGF Aarhus on Friday afternoon.
Nordsjaelland took an early lead when Uffe Bech poked the ball to Søren Christensen from the edge of area for a shot through the legs of keeper Steffen Rassmussen for the 1-0.
Aarhus suffered a pair of setbacks shortly thereafter, with both Jens Jønsson and Mate Vatsadze going off injured, the latter with what was confirmed to be a broken ankle.
The Wild Tigers gave their opponents no reprieve, going up by two goals in 39th minute off the foot of Joshua John, who aimed beautiful 22-yard cross-field shot into the far corner.
The visitors briefly added some suspense to the game, pulling to within a goal in the 54th minute after Stephan Petersen beat Mario Ticinovic at the edge of the area and found space to put his shot past Jesper Hansen.
Their hopes were short-lived, however, as Nordsjaelland quickly stormed back to turn the game into a rout.
O'Brien was brought down well outside of the penalty area in the 58th minute, and on the resulting free kick by Bech, Morten Nordstrand connected for a perfect header that bounced off the right upright and rolled over the line for 3-1.
Then two minutes later, John made a fantastic run into the left side of the area to beat several defenders, and hit a short shot which Rassmussen managed to blocked. Unfortunately for the Aarhus keeper, the ball landed directly in front of goal in perfect position for Christensen to immediately bury for the team's fourth score.
The visitors did make the score respectable in the 77th minute when Petersen collected a pass from Kasper Povlsen and fired past Hansen to bring the score to 4-2, but it was far too late for any heroic comeback.
With the three points, the Wild Tigers pass Randers to take second place, with both a one-point cushion and a game in hand. They have a busy schedule ahead, hosting Midtjylland on Monday before hitting the road for their make-up against Aalborg three days later.
Lyngby BK 1 - 0 Skive IK
RJ Allen started at right back for Skive on Thursday evening, playing the full 90 minutes and picking up a yellow card in a difficult late loss at Lyngby.
The game was a defense-dominated affair, with both teams only able to muster scant chances and half-hearted long-range attempts.
Skive had a perfect opportunity midway through the second half when Mikkel Buur sent Morten Beck in behind the defense with a clear shot on goal, but Beck's wasted shot was wide.
As the final minutes wound down, Skive looked headed to their second straight scoreless draw, however a moment of loose defending in the 87th minute left Lyngby's Ragnvald Soma with too much space to hit the target with a fine header for the win.
Skive remain three points clear of the drop zone, however must be on-guard as they have played more games than all teams below due to weather-related postponements. They will be back in action on Monday afternoon when Fredericia pays a visit.
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Hjørring had their regularly-schedule Thursday evening game against Viborg moved forward by four days due to weather-related shake-ups. The game was played last Sunday, with both teams earning a point in the scoreless draw.
Clarence Goodson was left off the gametime roster on Friday as Brøndby lost an important relegation six-pointer at Esbjerg by a 1-0 score.