DAVID SMITH - Sunday, November 2, 2008
Jeremiah White scored the eventual winning goal in AGF's important win over Midtjylland, while Lee Nguyen made his short appearance count as Randers easily blew by SønderjyskE.
AGF Aarhus 2 - 1 FC Midtjylland
Jeremiah White scored what proved to be the decisive goal as AGF Aarhus picked up their second consecutive victory, holding off FC Midtjylland who was missing Danny Califf to a last-minute injury.
Boosted by the surprise return of their first-choice goalkeeper and team captain Steffen Rasmussen from a finger injury and the unexpected absence of Midtjylland's defensive leader Califf, Aarhus pulled away in the second half to draw to within three points of fourth place in the standings.
The only major event of the first half was an early injury to German forward Nando Rafael, who had to be replaced in the 17th minute by the veteran Peter Graulund.
The scoreless deadlock would not be broken until nine minutes past the break when Liberian forward Dioh Williams collected the ball to the left of the six-yard box following a failed clearance, and smoothly fired it into goal, leaving Midtjylland keeper Lasse Heinze no chance.
White doubled the lead eleven minutes later when he received the ball near the left corner of the box from Michael Lumb and watched his shot take a slight deflection off a defender to roll into Heinze's net.
Midtjylland pulled one back nine minutes from regulation on an arching header from midfielder Danny Olsen, however the home team held on for the win and a valuable three points in the standings.
Aarhus will travel to take on next-to-last AC Horsens on Sunday while Midtjylland will attempt to get back on track on Monday when they host Vejle BK.
SønderjyskE 1 - 4 Randers FC
Lee Nguyen entered the game as an 83rd minute substitute, but contributed to his team's fourth goal - an embarrassing own-goal from defender Michael Stryger - as Randers FC picked up a valuable road victory against SønderjyskE.
A day short of three months since they last tasted victory, the urgency for a big victory on the trip to SønderjyskE was obvious, as Randers have seen themselves slip ever closer to the dreaded relegation zone.
With a dominating victory in which they controlled the game from start to finish, the team showed they might be ready to turn a corner on their difficult season.
The scoring opened in the 22nd minute when forward Marc Nygaard took a deflected cross directly in front of goal and easily tapped it in past keeper Henrik Ipsen for the 1-0 lead.
Søren Berg grabbed a second for the visitors in the 39th minute when he took a pass in the upper right corner of the box, before dribbling to the top and firing home.
The hosts pulled one back 60 seconds later on a nice strike on the edge from Ken Ilso Larsen, however Berg netted his second immediately before the half off of a rebounded block from a Kenneth Møller Pedersen free kick for 3-1.
The home team settled down for the second half keeping the two-goal deficit until disaster struck one minute before regulation. After taking the ball on the right side and bringing it into the area, Nguyen's attempt to square it in front of goal was erroneously tapped into his own goal by SønderjyskE defender Stryger.
Randers hope to continue on their momentum to a second consecutive victory when they host FC Nordsjælland next Sunday.
Backup goalkeeper Tally Hall did not feature for Esbjerg fB as they lost an early lead to eventually tie FC Nordsjælland 1-1.