DAVID SMITH - Friday, September 30, 2011
Brad Rusin made his return to the field for Køge, playing the final 20 minutes of the game as they surged to an impressive overtime win over Esberg fB to reach the Danish Cup fourth round.
Rusin had been out of the squad for several games after picking up and injury, but was selected by head coach Aurelijus Skarbalius for the gameday squad.
As would be expected for a game between the Superliga's last-place team and the current leaders of the division directly below, the game was an even contest through much of the first half, with both teams creating a handful of chances, albeit without any reward.
The hosts finally broke the deadlock much to the delight of the home crowd, when veteran midfielder Steffen Ernemann broke into the box, and found space around Køge defender Stefan Hansen for a lobbed shot which keeper Morten H. Jensen had no chance of saving.
Køge equalized two minutes past the hour mark, as Brazilian forward Fabinho sent in a cross from the left which Nicolaj Madsen collected and quickly shot over the line for 1-1.
The score stayed at a stalemate through the end of regulation, setting up another 30 minutes of overtime.
Rusin made his return after missing several games with injury, entering the game in the 97th minute in place of midfielder Lee Rochester Sørensen, with the coach likely hoping to utilize the defender's height knack for netting the occasional goal from the backfield to his favor.
It was his teammate Fabinho who produced the first round of heroics, however, as the 34 year-old Brazilian cut through the defense before shooting the ball between the legs of Esbjerg keeper Lukas Hradecky for the lead.
As Esbjerg pushed forward for an equalizer with the intent to force a penalty shootout, Køge added an insurance goal in the 117th minute, when Marc Rochester Sørensen lost a pair of defenders and put the ball over the line, giving the team the final 3-1 win.
The result puts Køge through to the final 16 of the Cup, where they will likely be favorites to beat First Division strugglers FC Roskilde in their late-October matchup.
In the meantime, they will try to rescue their league campaign, where they are currently in last place, and set to visit Odense on Sunday.