DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Chris Rolfe and Aalborg finally pulled themselves free of the relegation zone with an impressive win over Midtjylland while Clarence Goodson and Brøndby kept their shut-out streak alive in a deadlock with Horsens.
Aalborg BK 2 - 0 FC Midtjylland
Chris Rolfe continued his run of playing time for Aalborg, going the first 69 minutes on Saturday as a 2-0 win over Midtjylland pulled them fully clear of the drop zone for the first time in several months.
Having entered the game on an encouraging four-game unbeaten run, Aalborg got straight to business, taking the lead after just 13 minutes.
A foul by Midtjylland set up a long free kick from the right side, which Anders Due rocketed into the 18-yard box directly on-point for Lasse Nielsen to head in to the right side of goal for the lead.
Rolfe was close to making it 2-0 in the 20th minute when he forced keeper Jonas Lössl into an eye-popping safe of his long-range shot, then Jeppe Curth was even closer on the subsequent corner when his header careened off the crossbar.
The team did finally get the second goal they were searching for five minutes past the hour thanks to a gift from the Midtjylland defense. Christian Sivebæk tripped up Curth in the penalty area, allowing Morten Rasmussen to step up to the spot and put it entirely out o reach.
With the victory, Aalborg jump several spots to eighth place, two points clear of the drop zone. They will have a chance to jump several more spots when they host Lyngby on Friday evening.
Brøndby IF 0 - 0 AC Horsens
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby extended their shut-out streak against Horsens on Sunday, however were unable to find their own way onto the scoreboard on the way to a scoreless draw.
Goodson had an early chance to add to his scoring total when he got his head on a 12th minute corner, however his tight-angled shot was saved by Horsens keeper Søren Jochumsen.
The visitors felt hard done by just before the half-hour mark when the referee missed what seemed to be a clear hand-ball call on Brøndby midfielder Mikael Nilsson which would have resulted in a penalty kick for Horsens.
Both teams had opportunities to jump ahead, but were lacking the execution or bit of luck needed to take the full three points.
Goodson had another chance go awry in the 64th minute when he received the ball at his feet following a corner near the far post, but his shot went wide of the target.
With the draw, Brøndby remain in third place, however their gap below second-place Odense - and more importantly Champions League qualification - has grown to four points with five games left on the schedule. They next face a tough home derby matchup against local rivals and long-since crowned league champions FC Copenhagen.
HB Køge 3 - 1 Viborg FF
Babajide Ogunbiyi put in his usual 90-minute shift in Viborg's central defense on Saturday afternoon, as the team failed to right the ship in a tough loss at Køge.
Any hopes they might have had for taking points from one of the league's top teams were quickly dashed after 13 minutes, as the Greens were reduced to ten men when Timmi Johansen was ejected for a rough tackle on Køge attacker Fabinho.
Køge took the advantage and ran with it, surging ahead at the half-hour mark thanks to a fine display by Simon Christoffersen, then doubled it ten minutes later when Nicolaj Madsen beat Viborg keeper Robert Veselovsky.
The game looked headed for an embarrassingly lop-sided rout when Fabinho made it 3-0 after a quick Køge counter in the 54th minute, but the defense did settle down and the team rescued some dignity thanks to Jesper Kjærulff putting Viborg on the board in the next minute for the final 3-1 scoreline.
The loss keeps the Greens in the relegation zone, however thanks to similarly poor performances by most of the other struggling teams in the league they are still just one point back from safety. They will try to break free of the bottom three on Friday when they host promotion-hunting Vejle.
Michael Parkhurst is still out injured and did not suit up for Nordsjaelland as they fell by a 1-0 scoreline on their visit to Lyngby on Sunday.
Euan Holden did not take the field for Hjørring on Sunday for their 4-2 loss on the road to last-place Hvidovre.