DAVID SMITH - Monday, November 30, 2009
Benny Feilhaber and Jeremiah White helped push Aarhus to their first win in two months while Marcus Tracy and Aalborg hung on for a point in Esbjerg.
Esbjerg fB 1 - 1 Aalborg BK
Marcus Tracy started his third straight game for Aalborg, going 74 minutes and helping in the buildup to their lone score as the drew even with Esbjerg on Saturday.
With the winter break fast approaching, Aalborg had looked in recent weeks to have turned the corner from their cold spell which had dropped them down the standings.
While only drawing one week before against Aarhus, they entered the game in fifth place with the chance to pass Brøndby for fourth with a win, however were ultimately forced to head home from Esbjerg's Blue Water Arena in worse position than when they arrived.
Cold rain and a muddy field immediately set the tone for the afternoon game, with both teams fighting for their scant chances and unable to put together any eye-catching displays through the early minutes.
Aalborg thought they had summoned the go-ahead goal in the 34th minute when Jeppe Curth put the ball past keeper Lars Winde following a melee in Esbjerg's penalty area, however teammate Andreas Johansson was ruled offsides on the preceding pass leaving the score knotted at zero apiece.
Four minutes later the hosts had legitimate cause to complain when the referee ignored a seemingly obvious hold by Kenneth Emil Peteren on Jesper Lange on the edge of Aalborg's penalty area, an infraction that would have most likely given Esbjerg both a spot kick and man-advantage for the remainder of the game.
Aalborg however finally put themselves ahead with three minutes remaining before the half. Receiving the ball at the top of the area, Tracy slid a short pass to Andreas Johansson on his left, who tapped it ahead to teammate Michael Jakobsen to the left of goal.
The defender made no mistake, sending his low shot past the outstretched leg of Winde to the far corner to give Aalborg the halftime lead.
Their lead was short-lived, as Esbjerg tied the game in the 51st minute when Peter Nymann sent a short pass from the right of the penalty area for Tim Janssen to head into goal.
Aalborg pushed hard for a winner in the final minutes, coming close in the 75th when a Michael Jacobsen header was cleared off the line, but were unable to find their way through with the final whistle awarding one point to each team.
Aalborg fall to seventh place with the tie, now trailing Aarhus, who won over the weekend, by one point. They face their final game before the winter break on Saturday when going on the road against SønderjyskE
FC Nordsjælland 0 - 1 Silkeborg IF
Michael Parkhurst went the full 90 minutes for Nordsjælland as they limited Silkeborg to a single goal, however their attack failed to find its spark as they fell in front of the home crowd.
Despite their home-field advantage, the Wild Tigers came out rather listless on the attack, mustering only one moment of danger late in the first half when Bajram Fetai collected a long ball but blew his one-on-one with keeper Lasse Heinze.
Both teams felt hard-done shortly into the second half when the referee waved off penalty appeals for each, but as neither seemed willing to push the game into a higher gear, the lack of game-changing interference from the official was perhaps justified.
The game was turned on its head in the 77th minute when a deflected ball looped over the defense and to the feet of Silkeborg's Christian Holst to the left of goal, who opportunistically slammed the ball in the net to give his team the surprise lead.
Seeing their afternoon ruined by the unexpected turn of events, the hosts pushed hard in the final ten minutes for an equalizing goal with Sibusiso Zuma in the thick of the attack, however their efforts were in vain as the final whistle confirmed the loss.
Nordsjælland stays in ninth place with the loss, but will have a prime opportunity to move up directly before the break when they host Midtjylland, who they only trail by one point, on Sunday.
AGF Aarhus 1 - 0 Brøndby IF
Benny Feilhaber went the distance while Jeremiah White took the field for the final seven minutes of action as Aarhus finally put a stop to their winless streak with a narrow victory over Brøndby on Sunday.
Desperate for a win to halt their tumble through the standings, Aarhus showed their clear intentions to get the three points early on with Peter Graulund proving the ever-constant danger man for the hosts.
After several close-calls, Graulund put his team in the lead in the 16th minute with a remarkable effort, receiving the ball near the middle of the field and streaking down the left side into the box, before cutting inside to evade defender Max von Schlebrügge, and whipping his shot just inside the near post for 1-0.
Aarhus kept the pressure on for the rest of the half but were unable to further increase their lead, keeping things tight or a more even second half.
Both teams had spells of control in the second half, with the approaching end of the game giving the Aarhus faithful fears of yet another late collapse cheating them out of a sure victory.
They eventually held the lead, giving the home crowd their first taste of victory since their October 3 win over SønderjyskE.
The three points allows Aarhus to jump past Aalborg into sixth place, and they will hope to rise further before the break when facing Esbjerg on Monday.
Danny Califf did not suit up for Midtjylland as they lost 2-0 on the road to Copenhagen on Sunday.