DAVID SMITH - Monday, July 18, 2011
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland saw their season get off on the wrong foot with a loss at Odense while both Conor O'Brien and Brad Rusin were forced to watch their teams' losses from the bench.
Odense BK 2 - 0 FC Nordsjaelland
Michael Parkhurst played the full 90 minutes in Nordsjaelland's central defense on Saturday afternoon, as the Wild Tigers had a disappointing outing in their road loss at Odense BK.
After spending much time in the previous season both at right back and occasionally in the midfield, Parkhurst was at the heart of new head coach Kasper Hjulmand's defense.
The game got off to a rough start for Nordsjaelland, with Odense already jumping into the lead after just 12 minutes. Hans Henrik Andreasen lined up just outside the top left corner of the area for a free kick, and hit it through a hole in the wall to the near post, just beyond Jesper Hansen's reach.
Odense continued to push in the following 20 minutes, as Peter Utaka almost single-handedly providing another score on several occasions, most notably with a strike off the left upright in the 23rd minute.
The game ran out of steam as the halftime whistle approached and never reached its early intensity after the break, however the hosts did succeed to go up 2-0 in the 56th minute.
Nordsjaelland defender Tobias Mikkelsen failed the clear the ball out of the left side of the six-yard box, allowing Tore Reginiussen to gain control and hit a short centering cross directly across the face of goal, which Andreasen headed in for 2-0.
The final half-hour saw the teams exchange momentum and scoring chances, although neither was able to capitalize, and the final whistle blew after three minutes of stoppage time, confirming the win for the home team.
Nordsjaelland will hope to have a better outing on Sunday when they host AC Horsens in their home opener.
Brøndby IF 2 - 2 Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe and Clarence Goodson went head-to-head on Sunday afternoon, as a back-and-forth match saw Aalborg and Brøndby both come back from deficits to ultimately split the points Brøndby Stadium.
Rolfe played the first 70 minutes for Aalborg before leaving the game in favor of Henrik Dalsgaard while Goodson went the distance for the home team.
Brøndby were off and running, taking the lead one minute past the quarter-hour when a poorly-cleared corner eventually landed with perfect placement for Mikkel Thygesen to head in for 1-0.
Jeppe Curth leveled for Aalborg in the 51st minute, running onto a deflected ball at the tail-end of a counter-attack and powering it past Brøndby keeper Stephan Andersen to pull the game even.
Aalborg then looked to have secured the road victory with nine minutes left in the contest when Lasse Nielsen rose above a crowd of defenders to head in a corner, however the hosts had one more bit of drama left to create.
With the game having just gone into injury time, Mike Jensen lined up for a free kick just outside the Aalborg area and nailed his free kick inside the upper left corner, earning his team their share of the spoils.
The result sees both teams land in the middle of the standings after the first week. Brøndby will next pay a visit to Silkeborg on Saturday while Aalborg will look for a home win on Sunday when they host newly-promoted AGF Aarhus.
Brad Rusin is still awaiting his transfer paperwork to be completed and was not available for Køge's 3-0 loss on the road to AC Horsens to open their Superliga season.
Conor O'Brien's work permit was not approved in time for SønderjyskE's first game of the season, a 2-0 loss at home to reigning champions FC Copenhagen.