DAVID SMITH - Monday, August 15, 2011
Chris Rolfe's second goal of the season helped Aalborg move into second place while Michael Parkhurst went 90 minutes at left back for Nordsjaelland as they shut out Brad Rusin and Køge.
Aalborg BK 2 - 1 Odense BK
Chris Rolfe found his way onto the scoreboard for Aalborg, notching a 78th-minute goal that turned out to be the winner on Saturday as they took all three points at home against Odense.
American forward Marcus Tracy is still in the final stages of recovering from knee problems and did not suit up, while Rolfe played the first 83 minutes of the game before being subbed out late in a defensive tactical switch.
The game saw both Aalborg and Odense coming in undefeated and looking to make a case as early frontrunners for Denmark's second Champions League spot, and it showed in a tightly-played opening 45 minutes with a small number of chances for either team.
Aalborg came out of the break the brighter of the two teams, and their forward push paid off in the 65th minute when a poorly-cleared free kick left the ball at the foot of Lasse Nielsen at the left edge of the six-yard box. He sent a low ball towards the crowd in front of goal, where Thomas Augustinussen stuck his foot out and redirected it over the line for 1-0.
They struck again to add some breathing room to their lead 13 minutes later, this time with Jeppe Curth receiving the ball on the left side on a fast break and unselfishly sliding it over to Rolfe who was streaking into the box on the opposite side, whose one-timed shot easily beat Stefan Wessels.
Rolfe left the game in the 83rd minute as defensive reinforcement Lucas Andersen entered the fray, and while Odense did pull one back thee minutes from time on a low, driving free kick by Espen Ruud, Aalborg had little problems to hold on for the three points.
The win brings still-undefeated Aalborg up to second in the Superliga standings, with two points separating them from both Copenhagen above and Horsens below. They will try to continue their fine run on Monday when they pay a visit to Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE.
Brøndby IF 2 - 2 SønderjyskE
Clarence Goodson played the full 90 minutes in central defense for Brøndby, however they conceded late to allow SønderjyskE to steal a point on Sunday.
SønderjyskE midfielder Conor O'Brien made his second appearance for the club, entering the game in the 64the minute as they pushed for the equalizer.
Just hours prior to the game, Brøndby were forced into an unexpected shift in their lineup, as starting keeper Stephan Andersen was pulled from the gameday roster in anticipation of his impending transfer to French club Evian.
The effect of his absence was immediately evident, as SønderjyskE took the lead in the second minute, with Henrik Hansen placing a 20-yard free kick from the left side out of the reach of backup keeper Michael Tørnes.
Brøndby did pull even in the 34th minute, when Mikkel Thygesen streaked into the box to run onto a pass from Osama Akharraz, and hit his shot from the left edge of the six-yard box to the far post, where it careened over the line for 1-1.
They were quick to take the lead six minutes later, when the SønderjyskE defense made a mess of a short ball into the box, leaving it to hang just inside the area where Michael Krohn-Dehli charged in, controlled it, rounded the keeper and slid it into the open net.
Unable to gain any real advantage in their attempts to equalize after the break, SønderjyskE coach Lars Søndergaard brought O'Brien into the game at right midfield in the 64th minute, giving the team a pair of fresh attacking legs.
The team's persistence finally succeeded in breaking down their hosts' defense with five minutes remaining when a low free kick from the left side by Henrik Hansen slipped into the six-yard box and was knocked over the line by the thigh of Thomas Hansen, ensuring one point for each team.
Brøndby climb one spot to eighth in the standings, and will next visit AGF Aarhus on Sunday.
SønderjyskE remain fifth after the draw, trailing Odense on goal differential, and will host Chris Rolfe and undefeated Aalborg on Monday.
FC Nordsjaelland 2 - 0 HB Køge
Michael Parkhurst made a rare switch to left back for Nordsjaelland on Sunday, putting in a 90-minute shift in their shut-out win over Brad Rusin and HB Køge.
Winless Køge held their own through the first half, however a halftime adjustment by Nordsjaelland in which saw the introduction of young forward Andreas Granskov ultimately proved fatal.
In the 52nd minute, Rawez Lawan chested down the ball on right side and slipped a short centering pass to the onrushing Hansen, who had managed to split defenders Thomas Christensen and Thomas Sørensen with his run, allowing him to lunge forward to strike the ball on-target for 1-0.
Rusin picked up his third yellow of the season in the 72nd minute, likely keeping him out of their next game on card suspension.
Nordsjaelland thwarted Køge's attempts to equalize, then added an insurance goal to sew up the victory moments before the end of regulation, as Andreas Laudrup broke free on a counter but was tripped up by keeper Morten H. Jensen in the area, allowing Nicolai Stockholm to score from the spot.
The Wild Tigers move further up the standings to sixth place on the strength of their second straight win, and have a visit to Midtjylland on the docket for Saturday.
Køge remain dead-last in the league with a four-point gap ahead of them, and will host tenth-place Silkeborg on Sunday.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is out for the long haul with a knee injury and was not in uniform for Viborg's season opening 4-0 home thrashing of FC Hjørring on Friday evening.