DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, August 9, 2016
AJ Soares was the hero for AGF Aarhus in his first start while Conor O'Brien and AC Horsens suffered their first loss of the season.
Randers FC 1 - 0 AC Horsens
Conor O'Brien and AC Horsens suffered their first loss of the new season, as an early goal by Randers forward Viktor Lundberg was enough to send the hosts to victory.
O'Brien started in his usual central midfield role, playing the first 76 minutes before being subbed out for the team's final offensive push.
Randers took care of business early, jumping to the lead midway through the first half when Erik Marxen streaked up the left side and fired in a low cross to the near post that Viktor Lundberg clinically headed into the far side of goal.
Horsens did put up a reasonable fight in the second half and looked as though they could earn at least a share of the points, but saw their chances undone when Mathias Nielsen picked up a second yellow just past the hour mark for a vicious tackle, leaving them a man short.
They did receive a glimmer of hope ten minutes later as Marxen was given his marching for the hosts after receiving a second yellow, but Randers did hold onto their narrow lead, sending Horsens to their first loss of the season.
The team will have a chance for quick redemption next weekend, as they face second-bottom team Silkeborg IF on Saturday afternoon.
Esbjerg fB 2 - 2 AGF Aarhus
AJ Soares made sure to leave a great impression in his first start in the Aarhus uniform, scoring the late equalizer for his new team as they came back a two-goal deficit to earn a point at Esbjerg.
Soares was in the starting lineup for the first time with his new team, playing the entirety of the game in the center of the defense.
Esbjerg opened the scoring after 19 minutes when a poor clearance by Soares left the ball directly at the foot of Kevin Mensah for a left-footed shot to the near corner, then were two ahead just past the half-hour after Jeppe Andersen broke behind the defense and beat keeper Aleksandar Jovanovic for the 2-0.
Aarhus wasted little time in pulling themselves back into the game by cutting the lead in half barely one minute later as Danny Olsen sent a picture-perfect cross into the box, with Mustafa Amini making his header for the 2-1 look easy.
The complexion of the game changed moments before the half, after an off-the-ball clash between Esbjerg's Awer Mabil and AGF midfielder Martin Spelmann led the referee to send off the Esbjerg player.
This opened the door for Aarhus to slowly chip away at their hosts' defense, finally pulling even with eight minutes left to play.
Receiving the ball off a short corner from Amini, Elmar Bjarnason lofted a cross from near the right corner to the top edge of the box, where Soares placed his volley into the left side of the goal, just past the fingertips of Esbjerg keeper Jonas Jensen for the equalizer.
Aarhus have a short turnaround until their next league game, as they will face fifth-place Lyngby BK on Friday evening.
Naestved BK 3 - 0 Hobro IK
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Hobro continued their slow start to the new season, letting a close fight get out of hand in a shut-out loss at Naestved on Sunday.
Naestved forward Sammy Adjei was on his team's bench for the game as an unused substitute.
The hosts first jumped into the lead with five minutes remaining in the first half, when Mikkel Jensen was able to get in behind Ogunbiyi, who carelessly brought the attacker down to gift the hosts a penalty attempt which Jeppe Illum successfully converted.
Hobro kept matters on a knife's edge and were well within reach of earning a result, but collapsed in the final minutes as they pushed for an equalizer.
First, Patrick Hansen took advantage of a counter attempt to effectively put the game out of reach in the 89th minute, and then Mathias Johannsen connected with a cross from Harun Keser in the fifth minute of injury time, and put away his shot in the near corner for the final 3-0.
Hobro will have little time to lick their wounds, as they must be focused on avoiding any embarrassment Wednesday's Danish Cup game at fourth-tier Ringkøbing.
Naestved are not participating in the upcoming first round of the Danish Cup, and therefore have a one-week break until they visit Roskilde on Sunday.
George Fochive did not make it off of Viborg's bench on Saturday during their scoreless draw at Odense BK.
Mike Lansing was on Vejle's bench as the team's backup keeper on Thursday for their 3-1 road win over VFF Hjørring.