DAVID SMITH - Monday, August 22, 2011
Clarence Goodson did his part in the Brøndby defense to help his team maintain a scoreless draw at Aarhus while Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland were unable to come back from an early deficit on their trip to Midtjylland.
FC Midtjylland 2 - 1 FC Nordsjaelland
Michael Parkhurst was back in Nordsjaelland's central defense on Sunday afternoon, however the team was unable to repeat the fine defensive performance they had put on in last week's Europa League game as they fell on the road to Midtjylland.
The Wild Tigers were boosted heading into the game after having held Portuguese team Sporting to a scoreless draw three days before, but were victimized by a relentless clawing the the Wolves.
Head coach Kasper Hjulmand shifted his back four, moving Parkhurst from the left to the middle to partner Andreas Bjelland in favor of usual left back, youngster Seejou King.
Midtjylland pressed hard from the opening whistle and could have scored on several occasions within the first half-hour, but were finally on the board at the 30-minute mark.
Sylvester Igboun received the ball just outside the left edge of the penalty area with Parkhurst marking, and flipped the ball past the American to have a clear run goalwards. As he neared the left post, he struck a short pass to the opposite side of the six-yard box to Tim Janssen, who powered the ball over the line for 1-0.
Nordsjaelland had no time to regroup after the setback, and the deficit was doubled six minutes later when a corner from the left side was headed on by Kristian Bak towards the far post where Janssen was again waiting, this time putting it away with a leaping leaping five-yard blast.
Hjulmand put Ghanian youth international midfielder Enock Kofi Adu on at the half in an attempt to add some fresh ideas, and the move seemed to pay off as the team was able to get a better hold on possession.
Despite this, they still had problems to create any danger around their hosts' goal, and their only goal of the game ultimately came due to rather fortunate circumstances in the 77th minute.
Søren Christensen sent a long ball over the towards the streaking Andreas Granskov, and Kristian Bak made a mess of his attempt to head it back to his keeper, allowing Granskov to strike it on the run into the net for 2-1.
The Wild Tigers had the taste of blood and spent the remaining minutes on the prowl for an equalizer, however simply couldn't break through Midtjylland's fortifications around goal, eventually falling to the loss.
Nordsjaelland fall to seventh place with the loss, but will have to brush off the setback in record time as they will visit Portuguese team Sporting CP in the second leg of their Europa League playoff on Thursday with the aggregate locked at zero goals for each team.
Their next league game will be on Sunday, as they host bottom-feeding Lyngby BK.
AGF Aarhus 0 - 0 Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson was in the heart of Brøndby's defense on Sunday, as they did mange to hold their hosts Aarhus scoreless, but were unable to capitalize in a tense, goalless draw.
Brøndby were inches away from taking the lead in the 24th minute when Mikkel Thygesen rocketed a shot from distance that barely missed wide right by mere inches, rattling the back goalpost and landing in the side netting to momentarily give the traveling fans the impression of a fantastic goal.
Chances for both teams came at a rapid pace, and Aarhus were closest just seconds before the half as Peter Graulund looped a shot from the edge of the area that nearly curved into the upper left corner but sailed just wide of the target.
The pace continued after the break, with Thygesen proving to be the danger man in Brøndby's attack, coming within a step of putting his team in the lead on several occasions.
Brøndby looked to have finally grabbed a dramatic winner in the 88th minute off the foot of their American captain. Nicolaj Agger sent a low pass across the six-yard box where Goodson was waiting to tap it in, however the referee judged Martin Bernburg to have upended Aarhus Adam Eckersley on the play as the English defender attempted to clear the cross, calling back the goal.
The frustration of the Brøndby players at the perceived injustice was visible, and boiled over moments later when Swedish defender Mikael Nilsson pushed the referee while arguing a call, drawing an automatic red card which will rule him out for at least one game, if not longer.
Brøndby final attempts in pressing hard to create another chance to take the three points were well stifled by their hosts, with the referee's whistle confirming the point to each team.
The point does bring Brøndby above Silkeborg into ninth place, giving a two-point cushion above the relegation places. They face a second consecutive road game on Sunday when they visit fifth-place Midtjylland.
Brad Rusin was out on yellow card suspension, and missed Køge's first win of the season, a 3-0 home victory over Silkeborg IF.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is in long-term recovery from knee surgery and did not take part on Friday evening for Viborg's 1-0 road loss to AB Copenhagen.
Chris Rolfe and Aalborg will try to continue their undefeated start to the season on Monday evening when they pay a visit to Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE.