DAVID SMITH - Monday, April 19, 2010
Benny Feilhaber and Aarhus slipped closer to the relegation zone with their loss at Brøndby while Michael Parkhurst retained his starting spot as Nordsjælland blew past Silkeborg.
Brøndby IF 1 - 0 AGF Aarhus
Benny Feilhaber filled in as support striker for an injury-depleted Aarhus squad, however the team's attack was never able to get moving as they fell on the road to Brøndby on Sunday afternoon.
The continued absences of Georgian international Davit Devdariani and team veteran Peter Graulund forced Aarhus coach Erik Rassmussen's hand in playing the American midfielder in an advanced role from the opening whistle in hopes of linking with forward Dioh Williams.
While the attack never found their footing, the team was able to put forth an organized defensive effort to limit Brøndby to scant chances from set pieces.
The hosts netted the only goal of the game on one such opportunity, when Michael Krohn-Dehli delivered a free kick from near the left corner, which an entirely unmarked Samuel Holmén was free to strike in on the volley from the far post.
Even though Aarhus failed to capitalize on their few chances on either side of the halftime break, they were given one sign of encouragement just past the hour mark, as pivotal midfielder Jakob Poulsen took the field for his first appearance of 2010, just in time to help the team in their final push to avoid the drop.
The loss combined with Randers' win over the weekend cuts the gap above the relegation to only two points with five games remaining, making next week's home game against HB Køge a necessary three-point grab.
Silkeborg IF 1 - 4 FC Nordsjælland
Michael Parkhurst once again went the distance in central defense for Nordsjælland on Sunday as they steamrolled Silkeborg thanks to a trio of second-half goals.
Silkeborg opened the scoring with ten minutes gone by, as Dennis Flinta hit a low pass into the box after a long run down the right, which Jesper Bech redirected towards the far post with a back heel for Christian Holst to poke home with his sliding shot for the early lead.
This would prove to be the only high point for the home fans, as the Wild Tigers went on the attack and drew even 15 minutes later with Nicki Billie Nielsen setting up Bajram Fetai at the tail-end of a scrum in front of net for the equalizer.
While the hosts held fort for much of the next 45 minutes, Nordsjælland ran rampant for the final 20-plus minutes of the game starting with a nice team effort on the right side of the field ending with a short blast from Nielsen for his eighth of the season in the 68th minute.
Fetai made it three for the Wild Tigers with a wonder strike to the upper left corner with 11 minutes in regulation before Canadian international Patrice Bernier made the Silkeborg defense look like a pack of amateurs with his weaving solo effort just before the final whistle.
Nordsjælland remain eighth with the win, however are closing in on the upper half of the standings, which they could feasibly reach on Sunday when they host SønderjyskE.
Beforehand, they will face Vejle on Thursday in the first leg of their home-and-home series in the Danish Cup semifinal.
Aalborg BK 0 - 0 Esbjerg fB
Chris Rolfe got the start up front for Aalborg in their Monday-night encounter against fellow Europa-hunters Esbjerg, however the team's attack was unable to get going as they settled for a scoreless draw at home.
While failing to follow up his first goal for Aalborg in their last match with another against Esbjerg, Rolfe provided nervous moments for the visiting team with an effort that flew just wide in the 19th minute and nearly putting the team up just before the break.
Neither team could grab hold of the proceedings following the intermission, with Aalborg holding a slight edge but never looking ready to pull out the win, and the final whistle awarding a share of the spoils to each.
The point keeps Aalborg in third place, holding the edge over Midtjylland by a superior goal differential. They face a tough road to hold on to their spot as they must next visit league leaders Copenhagen on Sunday.
FC Roskilde 1 - 1 Viborg FF
Jamil Fearrington got the start for Roskilde as they held on for an important point at home against Viborg.
Viborg central defender Babajide Ogunbiyi sat out of the encounter with a minor injury.
While Viborg looked more the aggressor in the first half-hour, the hosts took the lead after 35 minutes as defender Jannick Larsen rose high to head in a corner.
The visitors looked to have equalized two minutes later as Asbjørn Sennels beat the Roskilde keeper, but the goal was whistled back for offside.
Jeppe Kjær had two chances to put Roskilde up by a pair in the early going of the second half, however it was Viborg who broke through, with Lasse Ankjær picking up a loose ball in the danger area and quickly putting it into the net for the equalizer with 15 minutes remaining.
Roskilde piled on the pressure in the final minutes to no avail, as a number of close calls and timely defensive plays held the scoreline with one point going to each.
Roskilde remain in 13th place, however have increased their safety buffer above the relegation zone to five points ahead of Sunday's visit to FC Fyn.
Viborg stay in sixth place, however now eight points back of a possible promotion spot to the Superliga. They will first visit Lyngby on Wednesday in a weather-makeup game before hosting Hvidovre on Sunday in normal league action.
Euan Holden has undergone groin surgery and did not take part in Vejle's 1-1 draw at Skive on Sunday.