DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg kept within reach of promotion while Benny Feilhaber's fitness was put to the test against Randers as the Danish leagues played through the long Easter weekend.
AGF Aarhus 0 - 0 Randers FC
Benny Feilhaber's fitness was put to the test, as he was forced to play from the 16th minute onwards for the injured Davit Devdariani in Aarhus' scoreless draw against Randers on Sunday.
Despite looking the more lively out of the gates, the game plan of the hosts was quickly thrown to the wind as supporting striker David Devdariani was forced out after barely ten minutes due to a leg injury, with Feilhaber being forced into extensive action for just his second appearance of the year.
The American was involved in one of the team's better chances of the first half, sending a through-ball between Randers defenders, however his young teammate Sanel Kapidzic arrived barely late to the ball and was unable to capitalize on the golden opportunity.
The tables turned slightly after the break, with the visitors showing some of the fine play which had seen them reel off eight straight without a win. They nearly stole the victory with one hour gone by when Mikkel Beckmann forced Aarhus keeper Steffen Rassmussen into an athletic save from a dangerous free kick from 21 yards.
In the end, neither team was able to break down the others defense, with each being forced to settle for their share of the points.
The point sees Aarhus climb to eighth place in the standings, four points behind Brøndby. They will be hopeful of building on their current three-game unbeaten run when they host Aalborg on Sunday.
Aalborg BK 1 - 1 SønderjyskE
Chris Rolfe was once again utilized for the final 20 minute by Aalborg coach Magnus Pehrsson, both earning and delivering the corner which led to their last-minute equalizer against SønderjyskE on Friday.
The hosts immediately set out to make their mark on the game in the early minutes but were unable to break through the SønderjyskE defense in the first half even with having a better handle on matters.
They were given hope just past the half-hour mark when visiting defender Andrei Sidorenkov was shown his second yellow of the game after 33 minute, giving Pehrsson's players a man-advantage for the final hour of the game.
Nevertheless, their attack continued to fail after the break, and a howler from usually-dependable keeper Karim Zaza was the Easter egg in the basket that SønderjyskE needed to take control.
Aalborg defender Lasse Nielsen played an easy pass back to Zaza near goal, which the Moroccan international inexplicably missed as he took his kick, with opposing midfielder Henrik Bødker immediately pouncing on the situation to push the ball over the line for the lead.
The demoralized hosts nevertheless fought to salvage a point, which they finally scraped just two minutes before regulation. Rolfe, who had entered with 20 minutes in regulation, won a corner on the right side. After quickly taking the short corner, his teammates quickly worked the ball to the feet of the lethal Jeppe Curth, who slammed it home from close range to avoid total embarrassment for Aalborg.
Friday's draw, combined with Alborg's 1-1 draw with Silkeborg the following Monday, during which Rolfe sat as an unused substitute, leaves the team in sixth place at the end of the weekend, however still within three points of third-place Silkeborg for the final Europa League spot.
Aalborg next face Benny Feilhaber and Aarhus on Sunday.
Naestved BK 0 - 1 Viborg FF
Babajide Ogunbiyi took his usual starting position in Viborg's central defense as their hopes for promotion got a huge boost thanks to a late winner at Naestved on Monday.
Viborg bared their teeth from the first minute, with Marc Dal Hende and Razak Pimpong teaming up to pressure the visiting goal right after the opening whistle.
Both teams looked set to fight for the three points throughout the first half, with the visitors especially causing troubles on set pieces largely thanks to the height of Ogunbiyi.
The defenses held through the break, however, and the game took on a considerably different tone after the intermission with the chances coming few and far between.
With the game ultimately looking headed for a disappointing tie, the visitors eventually earned their three points as Danish youth international Søren Ulrik Vestergaard rose to head in a set piece, giving Viborg the much needed three points.
The team have just four days off until they host tenth-place Thisted on Friday, with hopes of cutting into the six-point gap to the final promotion spot.
FC Roskilde 0 - 0 Vejle BK
Jamil Fearrington got the start for Roskilde on Monday afternoon as they continued their strong start to 2010 with a scoreless draw at home against Vejle.
Vejle defender Euan Holden was not selected for the gameday roster as he is recovering from a slight injury.
The game was marked by intense defensive play by both teams, with scoring chances coming few and far between.
Steffen Kielstrup came close to putting Vejle up midway through the first half with a powerful header following a corner, but Roskilde keeper Martin Johnsen was up to the task with a diving save.
The consistent pressure applied by Vejle after the intermission set them more in control of matters, however without any result to show for it as the organized defensive play by Fearrington and his back line compatriots kept them from causing any real danger, with the final scoreless result offering a fair reflection of the 90-minute struggle.
Roskilde remain in 13th place with the win, now having a fortunate four-point gap above the relegation line ahead of their visit to runaway league leaders AC Horsens on Sunday.
Vejle remain in eighth place with any thin hopes for returning to the Super Liga at season's end nearly gone. They next host top-flight team SønderjyskE in the Danish Cup quarterfinal on Thursday evening before returning their focus to the league on Sunday when Hvidovre IF visit.
Michael Parkhurst watched from the bench as an unused substitute as Nordsjælland fell at home by a 3-0 score to leaders Copenhagen on Monday afternoon.
Chris Rolfe was an unused substitute for Aalborg's heartbreaking 1-1 tie against Silkeborg on Monday afternoon.