DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland put on a performance for the ages on Monday night, blowing past reigning league champions Copenhagen to move within four points of the Superligaen lead.
Parkhurst lined up on the right side of the team's defense, and did his part to help completely shut down Copenhagen's potent attack until allowing a lone consolation goal after final result was merely a foregone conclusion.
The task looked to be a tough one for the Wild Tigers, with Copenhagen having not lost on their home field since March, 2010, and furthermore looking to bounce back from their first league loss one week before.
A slight fatigue remaining from Copenhagen's visit to Hannover four days before was perhaps at play through much of the first half, where they had trouble hanging onto possession and looked entirely overpowered by their guests.
Much to the shock of the home crowd, the visitors opened the scoring after 22 minutes when Andreas Laudrup picked up a loose ball and quickly passed it over to a wide-open Sĝren Christensen for a short smash that left Swedish keeper Johan Wiland no chance for a save.
They needed just nine more minutes to double the lead, with Christensen and Mikkel Beckmann teaming up on a give-and go, with the latter dropping a short pass directly to the foot of teammate Tobias Mikkelsen for an open near-post shot that brought the score to 2-0.
Copenhagen's Danish-American youngster Thomas Delaney was pulled shortly before the half with a hamstring strain, although his replacement Pape Pate Diouf perhaps was key in helping the hosts to get a better handle on matters after the break.
Much to the chagrin of the home team, however, the Wild Tigers added a third unanswered goal in the 65th minute, as Jores Okore headed a corner from Beckmann across the six-yard box to Nicolai Stockholm, who himself headed the ball over the line for the insurance goal.
Copenhagen were able to pull one back with nine minutes, thanks in part to Diouf, who saw his teammate Dame N'Doye slipping in behind central defender Andreas Bjelland, and fed a fine pass which the Senegalese international rocketed home from short range.
Despite cutting the deficit, the hosts would provide no late-game heroics, and were happy to simply have the referee's whistle signal the end of the unexpectedly difficult game.
The victory lifts the Wild Tigers into second place, where they are tied with Midtjylland on points but leading thanks to a superior goal differential. The two teams will square off in Farum Park on Thursday in a round of 16 Danish Cup matchup, then Nordsjaelland will quickly return to league action, hosting Lyngby three days later.