DAVID SMITH - Friday, April 16, 2010
Chris Rolfe's first goal in Denmark pushed Aalborg towards the Europa League while Michael Parkhurst anchored the Nordsjælland defense as they took three valuable points at Brøndby.
Aalborg BK 1 - 0 Odense BK
Chris Rolfe opened his scoring account at Aalborg with a first half goal en route to an important win over second-place Brøndby on Wednesday.
Aalborg had been one of the league's hotter teams as of late, steadily climbing through the standings to sit on the edge of European qualification heading into midweek action.
Sensing an opportunity to jump into the top three, they began the game as the clear aggressor, creating a number of chances in the early going to take the lead.
Rolfe narrowly headed over the bar in the 21st minute, but succeeded in putting Aalborg on the board 11 minutes later. Odense defender Jonas Troest had troubles clearing a pass to the edge of their area, with Rolfe picking up the ball and quickly shooting from the left of goal into the net to give his team the lead.
The visitors applied more pressure in the second half to no avail, with defender Espen Ruud having the best chance in the 62nd minute when he shot just high.
Aalborg held strong for the rest of the game, with any final hopes Odense had of sneaking a point falling to the wayside when Johan Absalonsen was shown his second yellow in the waning minutes.
The win propels Aalborg to third place and the final Europa League qualification spot, with a two-point lead over their Monday-evening opponents Esbjerg.
FC Midtjylland 1 - 0 AGF Aarhus
Benny Feilhaber went the distance for Aarhus, however their attack was never able to get a foothold as they were shut out on Wednesday by Midtjylland.
Perhaps still fatigued from the weekend loss to Aalborg, Aarhus started the game in a fairly lethargic manner, allowing Midtjylland the majority of possession and initiative.
After coming close several times in the first half-hour, the Wolves opened the scoring with seven minutes left in the half when defender Erik Sviatchenko headed in a free kick from the left flank by Jesper Juelsgård Kristensen.
Aarhus played more of an aggressive role in the second half, creating more chances, but also picking up a number of cards - five yellows including one in the 56th minute shown to Feilhaber.
Their chances of making a comeback were quashed at the midway point of the half when Aarhus keeper Steffen Rassmussen made a mess out of a one-on-one situation with Midtjylland attacker Jonas Borring, coming out of the box and flying wildly into a duel to earn a straight red card and early trip to the locker room.
The Wolves had a clear hold on matters from there onwards, with Aarhus lucky to simply keep from falling further into the hole before the final whistle.
The loss drops Aarhus into the tenth place, the final non-relegation spot, with a troublesome five-point gap over the currently-hot Randers. They will hope to turn around their cold streak when they visit Brøndby on Sunday.
Brøndby IF 0 - 1 FC Nordsjælland
Michael Parkhurst notched up his second straight start, this time in Nordsjælland's central defense, as the Wild Tigers won a narrow victory on the road against Brøndby on Thursday.
Nordsjælland jumped into matters quickly, coming close to opening the scoring in the sixth minute as Bajram Fetai worked his way to the touchline and fired off a dangerous low cross in front of goal to Tobias Mikkelsen, which was only kept out of the net thanks to an excellent reflex save by Brøndby keeper Stephan Andersen.
In the 37th minute, a tough defensive play in the midfield to win the ball sent several Nordsjælland forward on a counter-attack, with Nicki Bille Nielsen sending a high pass over the Brøndby defense, and Bajram Fetai the first to the ball inside the area. The forward adeptly poked the ball under the feet of Andersen and into goal for his first tally in over a year, giving his team the valuable lead.
The second half saw little change to the overall dominance by the Wild Tigers, with the home team's chances limited to a scattering of minor dangerous moments, and Nordsjælland having no problems to hang on for their first-ever win in Brøndby's home stadium.
Nordsjælland solidify their hold on eighth place with the win, now four points behind behind Brøndby. They will next travel to Silkeborg on Sunday, hoping for a repeat of their recent Danish Cup victory.
FC Vestsjælland 2 - 2 FC Roskilde
Jamil Fearrington went the distance in Roskilde's central defense as the team twice fought back to steal a point at Vestsjælland on Wednesday.
The central defender had a chance to put Roskilde ahead in the opening minutes, however his header from an early corner was blocked.
Vestsjælland opened the scoring in the 27th minute rather unexpectedly, as a long throw by Kristoffer Wichmann was headed into goal by Sladan Peric, however the visitors brought matters even ten minutes later as Anders Simonsen set up Poul Hübertz for a tight-angled shot to send the teams into the half knotted at one apiece.
While the game was fairly evenly played in the opening half, the hosts were clearly dominant in the final 45 minutes, adding another to the scoreboard just three minutes after intermission.
A long shot towards Roskilde's goal was blocked, however landed at the feet of Rasmus Festersen at the edge of the area, with the forward easily putting away his shot to restore Vestsjælland's lead.
The hosts remained clearly dominant throughout the rest of the half, with Roskilde's chances limited to long-ball counter-attacks. With 20 minutes remaining, one such opportunity paid off, with Christian Hansen and Jeppe Kjær teaming up on the run, allowing Kjær to net his third goal in less than a week.
While Vestsjælland pushed hard in the final minutes to once again restore their lead, the visitors held strong, with each team walking away with a hard-fought point.
Roskilde to fall one place to 13th with the loss thanks to Skive's midweek win, however they still maintain a four-point gap ahead of the relegation places. They next host Viborg on Sunday.