DAVID SMITH - Monday, October 31, 2011
Chris Rolfe continued his strong play for Aalborg with an assist on their lone goal in Sunday's draw against Brøndby while Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland were brought back to earth by Lyngby.
AGF Aarhus 2 - 0 HB Køge
Brad Rusin earned the start in Køge's central defense, but the was once again dealt another defeat, being shut out on the road by Aarhus on Sunday.
Perhaps riding the momentum of Thursday's win over Roskilde in the Danish Cup, Køge started off the game in a solid manner and looked as though they might actually have the moxie to steal an upset.
Midfielder Lasse Kronborg was close to giving the visitors a lead in the 26th minute when his shot went off the crossbar, however they were somewhat unlucky to surrender the lead several minute later.
Køge central defender Thomas Guldborg Christensen slipped while trying to clear a cross from Søren Berg at the half-hour mark, leaving the ball at the the feet of Søren Larsen for a shot on-target, out of the reach of keeper Morten Jensen.
Eight minutes later, Køge were close to equalizing when winger Adeola Runsewe hit a long curling shot across the field which was just barely tipped cleared by Steffen Rasmussen.
They had problems creating any further danger after the halftime break, and Aarhus added a second goal to wrap up the win at the hour mark when Larsen was on the end of a counter-attack and had an easy time to beat Jensen in the final one-on-one to bring the score to 2-0.
Køge remain footed to the bottom of the Superligaen standings, now with an eight-point gap to safety. They have a tough test ahead of them when they take on Michael Parkhurst and second-place Nordsjaelland on Sunday.
FC Nordsjaelland 0 - 1 Lyngby BK
Michael Parkhurst played the first 87 minutes at right back for Nordsjaelland, however a late goal by their guests Lyngby ended their four-game winning streak.
Nordsjaelland came into the home game as odds-on favorites to extend their winning streak against a relatively poor Lyngby team, but were continually stifled by a testy defense and their own wastefulness in front of goal.
The first half was thoroughly dominated by the Wild Tigers, getting off shot after shot while preventing Lyngby to manage even a single attempt on goal, but they continually and wastefully were just wide of the mark.
The trend continued after the break, and Andreas Granskov was close on a pair of occasions midway through the half, but Lyngby would ultimately have the last laugh.
On a counter-attack with eight minutes left, Christian Traoré ran onto a long cross-field pass on the right flank and struck a cross to the center of the six-yard box, where Jonas Henriksen slid in to put it past Jesper Hansen for the winning goal.
The Wild Tigers are still temporarily in second place with the loss, however with Midtjylland even on points and set to play SønderjyskE on Monday evening, they could find themselves in third place when they line up against Brad Rusin and Køge on Sunday.
Brøndby IF 1 - 1 Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe continued to be a major contributor to Aalborg's offense, serving up the assist on their only goal of the game on Sunday as they drew even with their hosts Brøndby IF.
Fellow American Clarence Goodson played the full 90 minutes in central defense for Brøndby.
Goodson was key in an early chance for Brøndby, heading down a pass into the path of Martin Bernburg for a clear shot, however an Aalborg defender arrived at the last second to block the ball on its way towards goal.
The lead, however, fell to Aalborg two minutes past the half hour thanks largely to the red-hot Rolfe, who was left enough space on the left side to send in a across at the perfect height and position for Lasse Nielsen to head in for the 1-0 advantage.
Any momentum created by the opening goal was quickly destroyed within four minutes when Kjetil Wæhler clumsily got tangled up with Brøndby winger Jens Stryger Larsen on a breakaway, and was shown an automatic red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Forced to play nearly the final hour with a man-disadvantage on the field, Aalborg was forced to take a much more defensive stature, leaving Rolfe alone as a long attacker, and effectively leaving the team to hope they could pull out a narrow 1-0 win.
Such a result wasn't in the cards for the visitors, however, as Mikkel Thygesen pulled down a long ball from Lasse Nielsen in dead sprint, cut past his defender and made quick work to beat keeper Nicolai Larsen for the 52nd-minute equalizer.
Not wanting to leave Brøndby Stadium completely empty-handed, Aalborg concentrated everything on the defensive side of the ball for the remaining minutes of the game, with Rolfe leaving the game in a tactical substitution in the 67th minute.
With the point, Aalborg remain in sixth place, and will next host AC Horsens on Saturday.
Brøndby remain in tenth place, although their cushion above the relegation zone has now shrunk to a mere two points. They face a tough battle in their next outing, visiting seventh place Odense on Sunday afternoon.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is recovering from knee surgery and did not take part in Viborg's 2-1 loss at home to Esbjerg on Friday.
After putting in a strong performance in a substitute role in SønderjyskE's Wednesday-night cup win over Hobro, Conor O'Brien will likely see playing time on Monday evening when the team heads to third-place Midtjylland.