DAVID SMITH - Monday, October 24, 2011
Chris Rolfe netted a pair of goals to finally get Aalborg back in the win column while Brad Rusin tested out a new role at forward for Køge in their home draw against second-place Midtjylland.
Aalborg BK 2 - 1 Odense BK
Chris Rolfe had an afternoon to remember on Sunday, claiming both of Aalborg's goals, one via a penalty which he had earned, as they finally broke free of their six-game winless streak.
Aalborg needed just 13 minutes to put their stamp on the game, as Rolfe was tripped up Hans Andreasen inside the area resulting in an early penalty. Bravely electing to take the spot kick himself, the American hit a perfect shot to the left side of goal, nowhere near the reach of the keeper, thereby giving Aalborg the lead.
This advantage was short-lived, as Odense pulled even just before the 20-minute mark in a similar fashion, as Odense defender Espen Ruud was knocked over inside the area, leading to a successful penalty conversion by Chris Sørensen to pull the visitors even.
Rolfe was on-fire throughout the game, regularly troubling the Odense goal, so it was no surprise when he finally earned his team the win with six minutes left. Nicklas Helenius picked out Rolfe at the top of the area with a short pass from the left, and the former Chicago Fire star took one step forward before aiming his perfect shot through the area and inside the right post to secure the three points.
Aalborg climb into the upper half of the standings thanks to the victory, where they are in sixth place, just two points behind Aarhus. Unlike most of the Superligaen, they will not have a midweek Danish Cup game as they were already eliminated, meaning they will be well-rested for their trip to Brøndby on Sunday.
HB Køge 1 - 1 FC Midtjylland
Brad Rusin was shifted to the front of Køge's attack to earn his first start at forward for the team, then moved back to his usual central defender position at halftime as the team fought back to earn an unexpected draw against second-place Midtjylland on Sunday.
Sporting the league's worst defense and going up against a red-hot Midtjylland team which had won five straight across league and cup play, Køge looked to be headed for another rough outing when the Wolves opened the scoring after just 15 minutes.
Izunna Uzochukwu launched a long diagonal ball from the midfield stripe to the forward streaking Jonas Borring, who took one touch to drop the ball into his path as he cut right, then tapped it back towards the left post, where it rolled between Køge's keeper and his beaten defender over the line for an early 1-0.
Midtjylland were undoubtedly the better of the two teams, regularly coming close to increasing their lead, although occasionally looking vulnerable to the quick counter by their hosts.
The Wolves came out of the half secure in their lead and largely took their foot off the gas, coming close only on one occasion when defender Kolja Afriyie's header bounced off the post midway through the half.
They were finally made to rue their lax approach in the final moments of the game as Køge equalized in dramatic fashion. As the team pushed all forward to try to salvage a draw, Rusin headed a long cross from Marc Rochester Sørensen down into the six-yard box, where it first took a deflection off of a defender before rolling in perfect position for Nikolaj Madsen to slam home for 1-1.
Køge are still rooted at the foot of the standings, a full seven points adrift of safety. They pay a visit to nearby FC Roskilde in Thursday-evening Cup action, then continue west for a Sunday-afternoon date at Aarhus in their next league game.
Silkeborg IF 2 - 1 Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby suffered yet another unnecessary defeat, with the team blowing a first-half lead en route to a fourth loss in five games.
A first-half which saw momentum shift several times between the two teams appropriately ended with a goal by each just before the break.
Brøndby struck first in the 41st minute after several minutes of pressure, with a counter-attack ending with a fine cross from Mikkel Thygesen which Matias Gehrt easily headed in for the lead.
Four minutes later Silkeborg formulated their response, as Christopher Poulsen aimed a free kick to the center of the area where Dennis Flinta rose to head it in for the equalizer.
Brøndby had on several other occasions this season unnecessarily relinquished early leads for draws or worse, bitter defeat, and unfortunately for the visitors the latter would eventually come to pass on this occasion.
With three minutes on the clock, Christian Holst took a shot from short range which flew directly into the arms of Michael Tørnes, however the Brøndby keeper was unable to hang onto the ball, leaving it in perfect position for Henrik Pedersen to put away to secure the win.
Brøndby are still four points clear of the drop zone, and will hope they can extend that cushion when they host Aalborg on Sunday. Beforehand, they face a tough Cup game on Thursday night when they host FC Copenhagen.
Conor O'Brien played the final six minutes for SønderjyskE, but was unable to help them overturn their multiple-goal deficit as they fell 4-1 at home against AC Horsens.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is out while recovering form knee surgery and did not take part in Viborg's 2-1 road win over FC Fredericia on Friday.
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to take sole possession of second place in the standings when they host FC Copenhagen on Monday evening.