DAVID SMITH - Thursday, May 3, 2012
ichael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland pulled to within reach of the league lead with a win over Copenhagen while Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE were brought back to earth in a blowout loss at Horsens.
FC Nordsjaelland 1 - 0 FC Copenhagen
Michael again played the full 90 minutes in central defense for Nordsjaelland, helping them to maintain an impressive shut-out derby win over league powerhouse Copenhagen.
The two rivals had already met three previous times this season, twice in league play and once in the Danish Cup, with each game taking place in Copenhagen. While Nordsjaelland had won one of the two league contests, the most recent clash in late-November ended with the reigning league champions ending the Wild Tigers' hopes for a third straight Cup title, likely putting revenge in their thoughts at the opening whistle.
Copenhagen applied most of the pressure in the first half, twice testing Nordsjaelland's goal, but the hosts were the ones celebrating their lead in the 54th minute.
Mikkel Beckmann played a quick give-and-go from the right to the middle with Nicolai Stockholm, and upon receiving the ball at the top of the box unleashed a wicked 22-yard blast that flew in the left side past the outstretched hands of Johan Wiland.
Shortly after the goal, defender Andreas Bjelland entered the game to shore up the back line, and a heroic performance by the Nordsjaelland defense held their visitors in check, with the team taking the much-deserved victory.
Nordsjaelland pull to within three points of Copenhagen at the summit of the standings, however will effectively need to make up four points over the final four games due to a vastly superior goal differential favoring the current leaders.
AC Horsens 5 - 0 SønderjyskE
Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE saw their seven-game league unbeaten streak come to a crashing halt on Thursday afternoon, allowing five goals to their hosts Horsens.
The hosts took a quick lead with just 11 minutes played when Niels Lodberg headed in a long cross from Janus Drachmann, then were ahead by two just past the half-hour when Troels Kløve picked up a loose ball in the SønderjyskE half, advanced towards the penalty area and sent a low blast just inside the right upright.
Five minutes later, they put the game out of reach as Lasse Kryger netted the first of his two goals, heading in a free kick from the right side by Martin Retov.
The same combo struck again in nearly identical fashion in the 52nd minute, this time with Kryger heading in a Retov corner from the left, then André Bjerregaard ran onto a headed pass from Kryger and had no problems to beat keeper Nathan Coe for the final 5-0 score.
Horsens did have a chance for a sixth at the end of regulation when they were awarded a spot kick, but Lodberg's attempt hit the woodwork, preventing further embarrassment for the visiting team.
The result dents - but by no means ends - SønderjyskE's hopes of reaching fifth place and Europa League qualification. They do need to make up now four points and pass several other teams in the final four games, and will hope to recover in time to beat red-hot Midtjylland on Monday.
FC Midtjylland 2 - 1 HB Køge
Brad Rusin was a second-half substitute for Køge, playing just under a half-hour on Tuesday as a loss at Midtjylland left them hanging by a thread.
Poor defending on a corner gave Midtjylland the chance which they converted into their first goal, as the kick was headed on by Erik Sviatchenko to the far side of the box, where Martin Albrechtsen had an easy job of putting away in plenty of space for the 35th-minute opener.
Nine minutes after the break, Køge equalized on a spectacular solo effort by Adeola Runsewe, who pulled down a long pass deep in Wolves' territory, drew the keeper to his left on his run, then cut back right to put the ball away on the far side.
Midtjylland needed just six minutes minutes to go back ahead, netting at the hour-mark as Jude Nworuh laid the ball off in the left side of the area for Jonas Borring to drill it just inside the far post for the 2-1 lead.
Runsewe was shown a second yellow card in the 65th minute for what the referee interpreted to be a blatant dive, effectively ending Køge's chances of coming back a second time.
Even with the loss, Køge are still not mathematically relegated with four games left, however they would likely need to win all of them - beginning with Sunday's visit from Aarhus - and get some help from other teams in order to pull off a miracle.
Brøndby IF 3 - 2 Silkeborg IF
Clarence Goodson played the full 90 minutes for Brøndby on Thursday in central defense, as a pair of second-half goals saw them surge past Silkeborg in a wild goalfest.
A pinpoint pass from Frank Hansen set up Marvin Pourie for Silkeborg's opener after eight minutes, however Brøndby put the game back on even terms four minutes before the half, with Dennis Rommedahl feeding Simon Makienok from the right side for a close-range equalizer.
Brøndby then surged ahead three minutes after the intermission as Makienok picked up a failed clearance by Thorbjørn Holst and put his shot past keeper Lasse Heinze.
It was Silkeborg's turn to catch up, and they did ten minutes later as a volleyed cross from Dennis Flinta was headed in near the post by Christian Holst.
The day would, however, belong to the hosts. Rommedahl's shot in the 72nd minute was blocked by Heinze, and fell to Mike Jensen to put away for the late winner.
Brøndby remain in ninth place, with their six-point deficit below the final European qualification spot likely a step too far to reach. They will be back on the field on Sunday with a trip to Aalborg.