DAVID SMITH - Sunday, July 22, 2012
Conor O'Brien's assist against Copenhagen helped SønderjyskE keep their spot atop the standings while Charlie Davies made his Randers debut in a narrow win at Odense.
SønderjyskE 1 - 1 FC Copenhagen
Conor O'Brien was a key player for SønderjyskE on Sunday afternoon, setting up the team's lone goal as they managed a draw against a strong Copenhagen team.
The hosts had ripped through their opening game against Randers one week before, but knew that a far tougher test awaited them in the form of a Copenhagen team which is still regarded as perennial title contenders.
The visitors stormed out of the gates with a pair of chances in the opening minutes, but SønderjyskE steadily found their footing and deservedly shot themselves into the lead after 25 minutes.
O'Brien stormed ahead after receiving a pass inside the center circle, and picked out Eyjólfur Hédinsson with a fine through ball between the central defense. The Icelandic midfielder took one touch to settle the ball, and blasted a shot from the edge of the area into the left side of the goal.
The lead was short-lived, after Bryan Oviedo broke through on the left side and picked out a wide-open Mostafa Abdellaoue in the middle of the area for an easy equalizer in the 31st minute.
The teams played a largely even game after the break, with Lasse Vibe coming closest for the hosts in the 67th minute with a dangerous acute-angled shot that nearly beat Copenhagen keeper Johan Wiland.
In the end, neither team could break through for a winner, with the referee's whistle confirming the share of the spoils to each.
The point leaves SønderjyskE in a three-way tie atop the standings after two games played, although they are ahead of both Copenhagen and Aalborg due to a strong goal differential.
They are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they visit Esbjerg fB.
Aalborg BK 2 - 1 Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson played the full 90 minutes for Brøndby on Sunday, picking up a second-half yellow card as they were doomed to a second straight defeat to start the season on their trip to Aalborg BK.
Goodson's aerial prowess nearly put the visitors ahead in the 20th minute, when his acrobatic, midair, lunging header was heroically pushed wide by Aalborg keeper Nicolai Larsen.
Brøndby did take a lead three minutes after the break, when Mathias Gehrt saw his initial shot in the six-yard box blocked by Larsen, but was able to collect the loose ball and put it in for the 1-0.
Then in the 56th minute, Aalborg equalized largely on the fine play of Lucas Andersen, who received a pass just outside the area, cut to his right to evade a pair of defenders, and looped a low shot just inside the right upright.
Then just past the midway point of the half, the hosts found what would be the winning goal, after Niklas Helenius took advantage of an error from Daniel Stenderup, then stormed up the right side and placed his shot out of the reach of Michael Tørnes.
After the loss, Brøndby are bringing up the rear of the Superliga standings with no points from two games, but will hope to be successful in next Monday's home game against Silkeborg IF.
Odense BK 0 - 1 Randers FC
Charlie Davies saw his first competitive action since his transfer to Randers, coming on as a 69th minute sub to help the team hang onto a tight win at Odense BK.
Randers had looked dead in the water after their 6-1 thrashing at the hands of SønderjyskE, however a far improved defensive performance at Odense gave a good sign that the result could could be regarded as simply opening-day jitters.
Odense was given a perfect chance to take the lead in the 35th minute when they were awarded a spot kick for Remco van der Schaaf's tackle on Hans Henrik Andreasen, however Espen Ruud's poor attempt was cleanly saved by keeper David Ousted.
Odense did have a slight advantage in possession and overall control, but Randers held on and were rewarded at the hour mark. Ronnie Schwartz beat an offside trap, and subsequently hit Lasse Rise as he streaked through the defense. With only the keeper to beat, Rise sent his shot just inside the corner, leaving Jesper Christiansen absolutely no chance to prevent the damage.
Nine minutes later, the hero of the day was subbed out in favor of Davies, who had little in the way of scoring chances, but did his part in helping his teammates hold onto the lead until the final whistle confirmed their victory.
Randers climb out of the league's cellar, and will look to improve further when they host AGF Aarhus on Sunday.
Michael Parkhurst is recovering from a broken toe and did not join the Nordsjaelland squad for their trip to FC Midtjylland, where they suffered a 3-1 beatdown.