DAVID SMITH - Monday, October 17, 2011
A pair of all-Yank encounters saw Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland score a win over Chris Rolfe and Aalborg, while Brad Rusin and Connor O'Brien both saw sub action in SønderjyskE's win over Køge.
FC Nordsjaelland 1 - 0 Aalborg BK
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland took an important three points on Saturday against Aalborg, holding on after a first-half goal to move into third place in the Superligaen standings.
Parkhurst played the full game on the right side of Nordsjaelland's defense while Aalborg right winger Chris Rolfe also went the distance for the visitors.
After 27 minutes, Rolfe collected the ball in his own half of the field and made an impressive darting run up the left side, evading several defenders before cutting to the center and launching a shot from the edge of the penalty area that was saved by Nordsjaelland keeper Jesper Hansen.
Perhaps even more impressive was the goal that ultimately gave Nordsjaelland the win five minutes later, as Parkhurst began a counter that ended several passes later with Mikkel Beckmann finding the net with a spectacular overhead kick from the edge of the six-yard box.
Before the home crowd even had the chance to get back into their seats, the Wild Tigers had a chance to double the lead when Aalborg keeper Nicolai Larsen clearly toppled Andreas Granskov on a breakaway, however the resulting spot kick from team captain Nicolai Stockholm was heroically saved by the keeper to atone for his mistake.
While they were less dangerous after the break, the hosts' defense took control, keeping Aalborg from ever really threatening to equalize and were thrilled to take the three points at the closing whistle.
Nordsjaelland climb into third place with the win, and face perhaps their toughest league test of the season on Monday when they visit neighbors FC Copenhagen.
Having suffered their fifth straight game without a win, Aalborg remain remain in seventh place, and will next host Odense BK on Sunday.
HB Køge 1 - 3 SønderjyskE
Brad Rusin played the final half-hour for Køge on Sunday as the team were beaten for their tenth loss of the season by SønderjyskE.
O'Brien entered the game three minutes from the end of regulation and picked up his second yellow card of the season in the winning effort.
After 28 minutes, SønderjyskE were gifted the opening goal by their gracious hosts when Køge central defender stuck in his foot to block a cross by Quincy Antipas, however ended up putting it into his own net.
Nine minutes later the lead was extended to two goals thanks to lax defending by the hosts, as Tommy Bechmann was given far too much time in front of goal with the ball at his feet, and was able to find space for a low shot for 2-0.
Rusin entered the game at the hour in place of attacking midfielder Lee Sørensen in an attempt to shore up the middle of the field and provide some support on the attack through his towering frame.
Køge did make matters interesting by pulling one back with 14 minutes on the clock as a handball in the area allowed Bo Storm to convert from the spot, however SønderjyskE wrapped the game up with five minutes left as a cross from the right side by Henrik Hansen was headed past the helpless Køge keeper by Thomas Hansen for the final 3-1 scoreline.
Køge remain footed to the bottom of the standings, now eight points from safety ahead of their visit from second-place Midtjylland.
SønderjyskE remain eighth in the Superligaen, and will next host AC Horsens, who are just coming off inflicting league leaders FC Copenhagen with their first loss of the season.
FC Midtjylland 1 - 0 Brøndby IF
Brøndby captain Clarence Goodson played the full game in the team's central defense on Sunday, but was unable to help them prevent a late winner from their hosts Midtjylland to inch them closer to the drop zone.
A back-and-forth contest for the majority of the game was finally broken in the final minutes in a highly controversial manner, as Brøndby right back Anders Randrup dove in to take the ball from Rilwan Hassan.
Hassan went down under the challenge with the referee pointing immediately to the spot, however amidst heavy protesting from the Brøndby players who insisted that Randrup had made no contact.
Nevertheless, former Aarhus attacking midfielder Jakob Poulsen stepped up to the spot and easily put his shot away for the 81st-minute lead.
Five minutes later, any chance of a rally by Brøndby was eliminated when winger Michael Krohn-Dehli was sent off for a second yellow, with the final whistle predictably confirming their loss minutes later.
Brøndby drop to tenth place in the 12-team division, hovering just above the relegation places although with a five-point cushion. They will next pay a visit to Silkeborg on Sunday.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is recovering from knee surgery and did not suit up for Viborg in their 3-0 road win over Naestved BK on Sunday.