DAVID SMITH - Monday, April 2, 2012
Another strong defensive performance by a Clarence Goodson-led back line helped Brøndby hang on for the win while Chris Rolfe's short cameo for Aalborg ended in red during their loss to Horsens.
AC Horsens 1 - 0 Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe entered Aalborg's game at Horsens on Saturday as a 72nd minute sub in an effort to overturn a one-goal deficit, however an ill-advised outburst in injury time saw him leave the field before the final whistle.
Horsens nabbed the only goal of the game moments before the half when a long free kick from the right side was deflected back to the top of the box, where Janus Drachmann stepped up to connect with a thunderous volley to the right side of goal.
Aalborg pushed hard yet unsuccessfully for an equalizer after the half, and with time winding down were dealt a fatal blow as Rolfe was shown a straight red card for a retaliatory kick-out at Martin Spelmann following a harsh tackle by the Danish youth international.
The narrow loss leaves Aalborg in seventh place, even on points and goal differential with Brøndby, but leading by way of total goals scored.
They will return to the field on Wednesday - albeit without Rolfe - when they host fourth-place Midtjylland.
FC Nordsjaelland 2 - 0 HB Køge
Brad Rusin was a second-half substitute for Køge, however a pair of first-half goals by hosts Nordsjaelland saw the Wild Tigers cruise to yet another win.
Nordjsaelland defender Michael Parkhurst was forced to miss Sunday's game on yellow card suspension.
Poor defending was the culprit for the Wild Tigers' opening goal in the 28th minute, with a right-sided corner from Kaspar Lorentzen falling uncontested in front of goal, allowing Mario Ticinovic to head it in on the bounce for his first-ever Superliga goal.
Then five minutes before the break, Lorentzen drew the attention of the entire Køge defense as he stormed into the left side of the box, then poked a short pass to the onrushing Nicolai Stockholm for an easy side-footed shot to bring the score to 2-0.
As has been the case on several occasions throughout the season, the towering defender Rusin was brought into the game in the second half as a forward to more height and physicality to the attack, and did succeed in sending a late header just wide, however his only contribution on the final stat sheet was an 82nd-minute yellow card.
Køge remain in last place, with a ten-point gap below the relegation line ahead of Thursday's game against Lyngby.
The Wild Tigers remain in second place, still three points behind leaders Copenhagen and seven ahead of Horsens, with their next outing coming on Thursday at SønderjyskE.
Brøndby IF 1 - 0 Odense BK
Clarence Goodson put in a 90-minute shift in Brøndby's central defense on Sunday afternoon, as a first-half penalty call helped them fight to a third-straight win against visiting Odense.
The lone score of the game came two minutes past the half-hour mark, when defender Bernard Mendy man-handled Mikkel Thygesen as the latter tried to maintain possession just inside the upper right corner of the Odense penalty area.
The referee had no arguments when he pointed to the spot, with Michael Krohn-Dehli boldly sending his spot kick straight down the middle for the lead and ultimate winning goal.
Now boasting a six-game unbeaten streak, Brøndby are just four points out of the Europa League qualification spots, and will try to do fellow Copenhagen-area team Nordsjaelland a favor when they visit league leaders FC Copenhagen in a derby matchup on Thursday.
After earning public praise from his coach during the week, Conor O'Brien will look to keep his spot in SønderjyskE's starting eleven on Monday evening when the team heads north to visit promoted AGF Aarhus.