DAVID SMITH - Monday, August 26, 2013
Babajide Ogunbiyi netted his first Superliga goal to help Viborg past Esbjerg while Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland saw their fortunes take a downturn in Odense.
Odense BK 1 - 0 FC Nordsjaelland
Conor O'Brien played the full 90 minutes in Nordsjaelland's central midfield, picking up a yellow card as they lost a tough decision at Odense thanks to a late goal.
The Wild Tigers looked primed to reverse what had been a disastrous season start, picking up their first win last weekend over Aalborg, and showing signs of strength in their midweek Europa League draw against Elfsborg in Sweden.
With one eye towards their upcoming crucial home leg against Elfsborg, head coach Kasper Hjulmand opted for a fresh lineup compared to their game three days before, making a total of eight changes to the starting eleven.
The hosts did look to have firm control of the game throughout the proceedings even with a squad manned by a number of youth players, but their inexperience did show both with a failure to keep their composure with scoring chances and giving away the heartbreaking winning goal to their guests.
The crucial point came with eight minutes left in regulation, when a corner slipped through and found its way to the foot of Jeppe Hansen in front of goal, who made no mistake with his cool finish.
Nordsjaelland do climb to ninth place on goal differential just ahead of SønderjyskE, and will look to punch their ticket to the Europa League group stage on Thursday when they host Elfsborg, needing either a scoreless draw or any kind of win to advance.
Viborg FF 3 - 1 Esbjerg fB
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg put on another solid display, with the American netting the Greens' third goal in their rout of Esbjerg.
Despite Esbjerg pushing in the opening stages, Viborg were on the board first when Kian Hansen handled the ball in the area, allowing Thomas Dalgaard to give his team the 1-0 lead from the spot in the 20th minute.
Both teams had their periods of dominance throughout the remainder of the first half and the opening stages of the second, but Dalgaard was the difference maker again for the hosts, pulling down a long ball and chipping the keeper in the 61st minute for the 2-0 lead.
Then six minutes later, Ogunbiyi used his size and strength to outmuscle several defenders on a corner, smashing in a powerful header to remove any way back for their opponents.
Peter Ankersen did pull one back for the visitors with a well-placed shot to the corner of goal, but the damage was too great, with Viborg easily hanging on for the win.
The result pulls the team up to fifth, where they trail vanquished Esbjerg only on goal differential.
They will take on third-tier Jammerbugt in Danish Cup action on Wednesday, then will try to make it three league wins in a row on Sunday when they host ailing Copenhagen.