DAVID SMITH - Saturday, April 7, 2012
Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE stopped Nordsjaelland's charge towards the top of the Superligaen while Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg began their 2012 schedule with a come-back draw against ten-man AB.
SønderjyskE 1 - 0 FC Nordsjaelland
Conor O'Brien played the full game as a holding midfielder for SønderjyskE while Michael Parkhurst went 78 minutes as right back for opposing Nordsjaelland as the Wild Tigers dropped only their second game since the turn of the new year.
Nordsjaelland dominated chances throughout much of the first half, coming close in the 18th minute when Tobias Mikkelsen's attempted lob was just high, then six minutes later when he broke free towards goal but shot wide.
It was SønderjyskE who managed to take the lead, however when a corner from DC Daniel Christensen found the head of Hallgrímur Jónasson, whose shot left keeper Jesper Hansen no chance for a save in the 38th minute.
The unexpected goal brought the hosts to life, and while they failed to score again, they dominated the game for the remainder and entirely neutralized any Nordsjaelland attacks.
With nine games left to play, SønderjyskE have a nine-point gap above the bottom two and look set for another Superligaen campaign next season. They will look to continue their late-season charge on Monday when they visit heavily struggling Odense.
The Wild Tigers now have a six-point gap behind Copenhagen in the race for the league title, however still are in pole position of teams looking to claim the league's second Champions League place. They are back in action on Sunday when they visit fourth-place Midtjylland.
FC Copenhagen 3 - 1 Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson played the full game in Brøndby's central defense on Thursday as a second-half let-down saw them lose on their visit to city rivals FC Copenhagen.
Brøndby came into the game as the hottest team in Denmark since the turn of the year, having taken 13 points from their first five matches. The absence of attacking players Dennis Rommedahl and Michael Krohn-Dehli did leave them lacking two of their most important pieces, which proved problematic throughout the game.
The first half-hour favored the hosts without any question, with Brøndby struggling to maintain any kind of possession and often on their back-heel trying to prevent any real damage. They did begin to turn the tide in their favor after the 30th minute, however were shocked to concede the lead in the 41st minute when Lars Jacobsen hit Pape Pate Diouf from the right into the area for a fine finish to the far corner.
The reigning champions had barely the time to celebrate their goal when Brøndby pulled back even one minute later, with Simon Makienok controlling the rebound from his first poorly-hit shot, then then successfully putting it away just before the halftime whistle.
Copenhagen needed just six minutes after the intermission to hit the eventual winner, as Jacobsen picked out Dame N'Doye for finesse finish to the corner, then they nabbed an insurance goal as N'Doye scored his second of the game from close range at the start of added time.
Brøndby remain eighth place now seven points out of European qualification and ten ahead of the relegation places. They return to action on Monday afternoon when they welcome Brad Rusin and last-place Køge.
Viborg FF 2 - 2 AB Copenhagen
Babajide Ogunbiyi made a successful return to Viborg's central defense, racking up his first start of the season after missing the entire fall with injury on Thursday night as they began their spring schedule with a two-goal rally to earn a point against visiting AB Copenhagen.
In Ogunbiyi's absence, Viborg had put together a respectable campaign throughout the first half of the season to reach fourth, however with 12 games still left to go heading into Thursday's game, his presence was a welcome addition to a team still aiming for promotion to the top flight.
The game got off to a bad start for the Greens, with Frederik Weibel exploiting space in the defense to put Copenhagen ahead in the 18th minute.
Things only got worse for the hosts throughout the remainder of the half, as defender Mathias Nielsen and midfielder Kevin Mensah were forced out of the game with injuries.
Copenhagen looked to have put the game out of reach moments after the intermission when former Nordsjaelland striker Christian Gytkjaer broke through for the 2-0 lead, however in the final quarter-hour, the hosts exploited an open door to fight back.
In the 78th minute, Mads Lund Brandis was shown his second yellow of the game and headed for an early shower, and Viborg needed just four minutes to pull one back as Thomas Dalgaard broke into the area, rounded the keeper and put his shot away for 2-1.
Then at the death, Dalgaard earned a free kick at the edge of the field, and his free kick into the area found Simon Nagel, who collected the ball and fired his shot on target for the last-gasp equalizer.
The draw leaves Viborg in fourth place, a daunting nine points out of the promotion places, although with 11 games left to play. They will like their chances to add three points to their total when they pay a visit to tenth-place Roskilde on Monday.
Chris Rolfe is out on a two-game suspension and did not suit up for Aalborg in their 2-1 loss at home to FC Midtjylland on Wednesday.
Brad Rusin was an 82nd minute sub for Køge on Thursday night, however the damage was already all done as they fell by a 4-1 score at home to Lyngby BK.