DAVID SMITH - Monday, August 2, 2010
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjælland climbed to second place with an impressive road win over Randers while injured Chris Rolfe and Marcus Tracy watched as Aalborg stole a point on their visit to Copenhagen.
Randers FC 0 - 2 FC Nordsjælland
Michael Parkhurst played the full 90 minutes in Nordsjælland's central defense, as a pair of goals from team captain Nicolai Stockholm were enough to easily send them past Randers on Sunday.
The team showed no signs of fatigue from their 1-0 Europa League loss to Sporting just three days before, pushing ahead with their trademark uptempo attack and putting their hosts on the back heel from the get-go.
This led to a succession of corners just past the tenth minute, the third of which saw Swedish youngster Pierre Bengtsson pick out a wide open Stockholm for an easy header to put Nordsjælland in the lead.
Nicki Bille Nielsen looked his ever-dangerous self for the Wild Tigers, forcing superb work from David Ousted in the Randers goal on a pair of occasions later in the half to keep the visitors from increasing their lead.
Nielsen and Stockholm paired up in the final moments of first-half injury time for a nifty give-and-go which allowed the latter to easily cut through the Randers defenders with a clear line on goal. He was once again on-target with his cool finish, grabbing his second tally of the game to match his entire scoring output from the previous season.
The second half continued much as the first, this time with former Werder Bremen youth player Andreas Granskov striking the woodwork in the early moments, then forcing Ousted into a reflex save.
The rest of the half saw Randers make only halfhearted attempts towards the Nordsjælland goal, although luckily preventing their visitors from inflicting any further damage, with the referee's whistle finally signaling the clear victory to the road team.
The three points temporarily sends the Wild Tigers into second place, pending the outcome of Monday night action.
The win will also provide them with much-needed momentum as they must head to Portugal for Thursday's second leg Europa League matchup with Sporting with a 1-0 aggregate disadvantage, then host a tough Brøndby team in league action three days later.
Both Marcus Tracy and Chris Rolfe are still on the road to recovery, and played no part as Aalborg surprised Copenhagen with an early goal and held on for a 1-1 road draw with the reigning champions.