RECAP: DANISH CUP 3RD ROUND ACTION
The third round of the Danish Cup was a success for all participating Americans, as each saw their team advance to the next round, highlighted by a hat trick from Aarhus midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
Hobro IK 0 - 1 Viborg FF
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg put away their recent league woes to post up a tight 1-0 win at Hobro on Wednesday night.
Viborg had fallen on hard time, losing three straight league contests to fall into relegation danger, and were hoping the game against fellow First Division team would provide a lift to their fortunes.
They looked by far the dominant team for the entire first half, with Simon Bræmer setting up strike partner Jesper Kjærulff for a near miss in the opening minutes.
They were given a golden opportunity in the form of a red card to Hobro player Danilo Arrieta in the 25th minute after the forward foolishly kicked out at Ogunbiyi, drawing the ire of the referee.
While this shifted momentum even moreso in the favor of the visitors, they needed another half-hour to grab the lone goal of the game. George Popkhadze nailed a cross from near the endline directly in front of goal, where Bræmer lunged forward to smash the ball into the net.
Viborg move onto the next round of the cup with the victory to face Aalborg in late-October, but first return their attention to the league where they take on Hvidovre on Sunday.
AGF Aarhus 6 - 3 Skive IK
Benny Feilhaber found his scoring touch, netting a trio of goals for Aarhus as they exploded in extra time to beat fellow First Division team Skive with a six-goal performance.
Aarhus wasted no time to take the lead, as Peter Graulund set up Sanel Kapidzic for the first of his three goals within 30 seconds of kickoff, however Skive equalized seven minutes later when a defensive gaffe allowed Nicolas Bøgild to pull his team even, giving an early sign that a wild night was in store.
Aarhus made it two when Stephan Petersen was pulled down in the area 15 minutes later, with new AGF penalty-specialist Feilhaber stepping up to the spot to grab his first goal of the game, then netted their third goal five minutes later after Petersen set up Kapidzic.
While the rest of the half was remarkably calm, Skive pulled to within one goal barely after the second-half restart, as Andreas Albers Nielsen was on-target with his 22-yard shot. They then completed the remarkable feat of pulling even with eight minutes remaining when Thomas Dalgaard put a free kick delivery from Mathias Olsen into the net, forcing 30 minutes of extra time.
If there was any doubt in the moments before the restart as to whether Aarhus would slip up, they put them to rest quickly when Petersen worked his way down the right and sent a pass to the far post, where Feilhaber had snuck in and put away his shot to give his team the lead in the 91st minute.
He then completed his hat trick nine minutes later with yet another score from the spot, putting away his penalty kick after Peter Graulund had been toppled in the area.
From this point, the result was certain, and completed his own hat trick - and the remarkable 6-3 final score - when he headed in a pass from Jerry Lucena in the 111th minute.
Aarhus will face Varde, one of the two 2. Division teams remaining in the competition in the next round, but first host Køge in league play over the weekend.
Hjørring IF 0 - 1 FC Nordsjælland
Michael Parkhurst made his return from injury in fine form, going the distance for Nordsjælland as they continued their defense of the Danish Cup with a single-goal victory over Hjørring on Thursday night.
Despite playing on the road, the Wild Tigers were clear favorites heading into the game against First Division team Hjørring, but had far more trouble than they would have envisioned.
Even though neither team was particularly effective on the attack through the opening half, Hjørring played a tight defense, limiting their visitors' chances near goal.
Nordsjælland began to show their dominance after the break, as Tobias Mikkelsen was close to giving his team the lead on the hour mark, only to be thwarted by fine work by the Hjørring keeper on a breakaway one-on-one.
Mikkelsen did, however, succeed in netting the winning goal 16 minutes later when he again took advantage of a fast-break situation, cutting in from the left side and sending a rocket into the far corner.
The goal forced Hjørring to push forward, leaving them vulnerable in the back to several near chances for further damage by the Wild Tigers. The scoreline held, however, sending the reigning cup holders onto the next round.
Nordsjælland will face Odense in the next round in October, but first will look to take all three points over the weekend when they host Horsens in Superligaen play.
Chris Rolfe and Marcus Tracy are both injured, and neither suited up for Aalborg's 1-0 victory at Næstved BK on Wednesday.