DAVID SMITH - Monday, May 10, 2010
Michael Parkhurst fell to Aarhus in Nordsjælland's last tune-up before their Cup final as Benny Feilhaber watched from the bench, while Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg's troubles continued in a draw with Vestsjælland.
FC Nordsjælland 0 - 1 AGF Aarhus
Benny Feilhaber sat as an unused substitute for Aarhus as they assured their survival race would go down to the season's last game thanks to a narrow victory over Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjælland.
A loss during the week to relegation competitors SønderjyskE left Aarhus with a two-point gap to safety and needing victory to avoid the possibility of an early-relegation.
Head coach Erik Rassmussen chose to leave Feilhaber on the bench after a string of unimpressive performances, shifting star midfielder Jakob Poulsen over to the left in his place.
They came out aggressively and could have taken the lead after 15 minutes on a counter-attack, with the emergent Casper Sloth setting up Kasper Povlsen for a dangerous shot which was deflected by Nordsjælland keeper Jesper Hansen.
The Wild Tigers dominated much of the rest of the half, nearly going ahead themselves after 27 minutes when Henry Kildentoft's shot was barely saved by AGF keeper Steffen Rassmussen.
Parkhurst was shown his second yellow card of the season two minutes past the hour mark, then Aarhus grabbed the advantage three minutes later.
Povlsen received the ball near the midfield and stormed towards the Nordsjælland goal, before dropping it off to the streaking Stephan Petersen to get the best of his one-on-one with Hansen to give Aarhus the lead.
The Wild Tigers struggled afterwards to create opportunities for an equalizer, and had the loss confirmed four minutes from time when Nicolai Stockholm was shown his second yellow of the game to leave them with ten men on the field for the final four minutes.
The result assures that Nordsjælland can reach at best a sixth place finish in the league, meaning that their Europa League qualification hopes are resting solely on Thursday's Danish Cup final against Midtjylland.
With both Randers and SønderjyskE also winning their respective games on Sunday, Aarhus remain two points below the relegation line despite the win.
As both Randers and Sønderjyske, who are respectively two and three points ahead in the standings, hold significantly superior goal differentials, Aarhus' only hope for survival is to pull out a win in Sunday's home game against second-place Odense coupled with a loss by Randers in their home game against Brøndby.
Viborg FF 1 - 1 FC Vestsjælland
Babajide Ogunbiyi anchored Viborg's back line for the duration as they gave up a heartbreaking goal in the final minute of regulation to settle for a draw at home against Vestsjælland.
Viborg appeared to have gone ahead after 37 minutes when Ogunbiyi set up Alexander Juel Andersen for an apparent goal, but he was whistled on the play for pushing over the Vestsjælland keeper, negating the score.
A lively second half culminated with Razak Pimpong sending the ball into the danger area for Marc Del Hende to put away for the Viborg lead with 11 minutes left.
Their joy was short-lived, however, as they fell victim to a set piece in the final minute of regulation, with Sladan Peric being in position to redirect a long free kick the ball into the net for the equalizer.
Viborg remain in sixth place with the point, now only one ahead of FC Fyn. They will be hopeful of breaking their six-game winless streak on their visit to likely relegation candidates Kolding on Sunday.
Lyngby BK 1 - 0 Roskilde BK
Jamil Fearrington went the distance in Roskilde's defense as their valiant display at second-place Lyngby fell short, with the team falling by a single goal despite ending the game with only ten men on the field.
The Roskilde defense held up for the majority of the game against a tough Lynbgy squad which has averaged more than two goals per game, and had hit Fearrington and his compatriots for four during their last meeting.
One let-down was enough, however, as Kim Aabech was left free near the post to head in a long pass which had been poorly defended in the 21st minute.
Roskilde did keep pressure on their hosts, ultimately without the ability to put the ball past Lyngby's keeper, and felt especially hard done when the referee turned down a questionable penalty appeal in the 70th minute.
This would unfortunately be the finale gasp by the team, as the referee felt that forward Poul Hübertz argued for a bit too long, and showed him his second yellow of the game as a result, leaving Roskilde toothless with only ten men for an uneventful final 20 minutes.
The team drop one place to 12th thanks to the loss, still six ahead of the drop zone with six games left on the schedule. They face another tough matchup on Sunday when they host third-place Fredericia.
Both Chris Rolfe and Marcus Tracy were injured and did not suit up for Aalborg's 2-0 road loss to Brøndby. The team will now need to win next week's season finale against last-place Køge while hoping for both Brøndby and Esbjerg to slip up in order to reach the Europa League.
Euan Holden is recovering from surgery and did not suit up for Vejle's embarrassing scoreless draw at home against last-place Brabrand IF.