RECAP: WEEKEND DANISH ACTION
A busy weekend of Danish Superliga action saw Conor O'Brien make his SønderjyskE debut and Michael Parkhurst play 90 minutes to help Nordsjaelland earn their first win of the season.
AC Horsens 3 - 3 Aalborg BK
A wild goalfest at CASA Arena Horsens saw Aalborg and AC Horsens score a total of six goals en route to a draw, with Chris Rolfe starting and playing the first 80 minutes while picking up a yellow card.
American forward Marcus Tracy is still recovering from long-term knee problems and did not make an appearance for the visitors.
Heading into Saturday's battle, both Aalborg and Horsens were sitting tied atop the Superliga standings with FC Copenhagen with only goal difference separating the trio of team.
With their competitors from the country's capital expected to win in their game at least-place Køge, the onus was on both teams to shoot for a win, and both delivered in fine form.
Only six minutes after Rolfe picked up his first yellow card of the season in the sixth minute, Horsens took the lead as Anders Nøhr delivered a corner from the left to the far post which Lasse Kryger rose high to head in for 1-0.
A quick back and forth saw Aalborg pull even then concede another goal to Horsens within three minutes of the opening goal.
Nicklas Helenius Jensen wrestled the ball off of a Horsens defender deep in their own territory in the 13th minute and fired home a low swerving shot just inside the right post from 20 yards after skirting around several defenders.
Horsens then retook the lead two minutes after, with Nøhr again being the provider, sending in a long free kick from the right flank which Henrik Toft lunged in to head past Aalborg keeper Nicolai Larsen.
Aalborg once again equalized in the 30th minute when a long crossfield pass from the right side landed to Kjetil Wæhler, who one-timed the ball directly towards the far post, where Jeppe Curth was waiting to knock it in with little opposition.
The visitors then took their first lead of the game 11 minutes after the break when a long set piece by Anders Due was redirected on-target by Nicklas Helenius. While Horsens keeper Søren Jochumsen did block the shot, it landed directly at the foot of Kenneth Emil Petersen to put away for 3-2.
There was one final act, much to the chagrin of Aalborg, as Horsens forward Gilberto Macena was felled in the penalty area under pressure from Patrick Kristensen and Rasmus Würtz, falling to the ground with enough pained emotion and drama to all but guarantee him a post-playing career alongside Cuauhtémoc Blanco as a Telenovela star, and ultimately allowing Niels Lodberg to convert the equalizer from the spot in the 63rd minute.
After the spate of goals in the first hour, both teams were surprisingly unable to find net in the last half-hour, with the referee's whistle sending each back to the locker rooms with one point.
The result combined with Copenhagen's win at Køge and an Odense win over Brøndby drops Aalborg into fourth place, now trailing both Odense and Horsens on goal differential. They will face another tough battle on Saturday when they host Odense.
HB Køge 2 - 4 FC Copenhagen
Brad Rusin once again went the distance in Køge's central defense on Sunday, however it was a rough afternoon for the American and his teammates as they allowed four goals to lose a largely lopsided contest to visiting FC Copenhagen.
Rusin also picked up his second yellow card of the young season in the 51st minute of the game.
Copenhagen were first to strike in the 20th minute when Pape Pate Diouf rose high to head in a corner from Cristian Bolaños, however the hosts did manage to equalize in the 47th minute as Andreas Sørensen connected on a far-post corner by Bo Storm.
The equal standing was oly short-lived, as the visitors went ahead once again, with Pape Pate Diouf doing the work to set up César Santín for a one-on-one with the Køge keeper which resulted in a 2-1 lead to Copenhagen.
They put the game on ice with eight minutes left in regulation; Dame N'Doye's failed penalty kick was knocked out for a Copenhagen corner, which Morten Nordstrand headed in for the two-goal lead.
Køge did manage to cut the lead to a single goal one minute later, with substitute Tobias Thomsen making a quick impact after a fine set=up by Storm, however Copenhagen held strong and put the final nail in the coffin at full time, with a run by Johan Absalonsen ending with a pass to Claudemir, which the Brazilian midfielder put away for the 4-2 win.
Køge remain rooted at the foot of the Superliga standings with no points from their first four games. They face another local neighbor for their next outing, paying a visit to Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland on Sunday.
FC Nordsjaelland 2 - 1 Silkeborg IF
Michael Parkhurst played the full 90 minutes in Nordsjaelland's central defense on Sunday as they came back from an early deficit at home to Silkeborg for their first win of the season.
Coming into Sunday's contest with only one point to their name after three games played, the Wild Tigers needed to take full points or risk falling into a deep pit at the bottom of the standings.
One minute before the half-hour mark, Silkeborg looked to have continue Nordsjaelland's slow start when Kasper Risgård ran through a wide-open hole in the defense onto a smart pass from Henrik Pedersen, stormed his way into the penalty area and put his 16-yard shot past keeper Jesper Hansen for the early lead.
The hosts buckled down and prevented any further damage thereafter despite several close calls, and pulled even in the 57th minute as Rawez Lawan picked up a deflected ball at the right edge of the six-yard box and sent a low cross which Nichlas Rohde dove in to strike over the line from close range.
They continued pressing and delighted the home crowd with the winner with 14 minutes left in regulation, with Henrik Kildentoft threading the needle to feed Nicolai Stockholm a fine pass at the top edge of the box, which he carried to the right side before driving it past Lasse Heinze for the victory.
Nordsjaelland are still not out of the woods, as they are at the rear of a four-way tie of teams on four points just above the relegation zone. They will be confident of picking up a second straight win when they host last-place Køge on Sunday.
Odense BK 2 - 1 Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson went the distance in defense for Brøndby, picking up his first yellow card of the season, but was unable to prevent the team from falling to a second straight Superliga loss on their journey to Odense on Sunday.
Brøndby looked to be well on their way to a win as they took an early lead, after Mikkel Thygesen hit Brent McGrath from the right flank, with the 20 year-old Australian international striking the ball with his first touch from the right side for his first goal of the season in the sixth minute.
Odense pulled even just past the half-hour mark, as Bashkim Kadrii received a pass at the top of the area from Henrik Andreasen and kept possession under pressure from Goodson before striking a low shot which bounced off the right post and dribbled over the line for 1-1.
While Brøndby did well to keep their hosts from inflicting any further harm for the next half-hour, they were dealt a tough blow when Anders Randrup was given his marching orders in the 59th minute for a second yellow card, and were made to suffer just moments later.
Keeper Stephan Andersen did well to make a one-handed save on a shot from Bashkim Kadrii, however his block was directly in the path of Andreas Johansson who blasted the ball over the line from the right side for the ultimate winner.
The loss drops Brøndby into ninth place with just four points, however they will return home for their next game as they host Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE on Sunday.
SønderjyskE 3 - 1 AGF Aarhus
Conor O'Brien made his Superliga debut on Saturday, entering the game in the 73rd minute with his team already in the lead over Aarhus as they surged to their second win of the season.
Aarhus looked dangerous from the beginning, and went ahead in the 11th minute as Aron Johannsson stormed directly through the midfield to the edge of the area, and slid a pass over to Søren Berg on the right side, which he controlled and put away from 11 yards for 1-0.
Aarhus looked the better team for much of the first half, but were shocked to concede an equalizer four minutes before the half when Daniel Christensen curled a 20-yard free kick from the right side over the wall and into the upper right corner for a fantastic score.
SønderjyskE kept momentum on their side and jumped ahead in the 51st minute, when a powerful shot by Henrik Hansen was athletically blocked by AGF keeper Steffen Rasmussen directly to the head of Eyjólfur Hédinsson for an easy 2-1 to the hosts.
They netted an insurance goal three minutes later, this time with Jarl André Storbæk converting from the spot for the final 3-1 scoreline.
O'Brien entered the game with 17 minutes left to play the remainder of the contest on the right side of the midfield, however with the win already secured for the hosts they were happy to keep possession without too much forward pressure, with the referee's whistle finally confirming the three points.
With seven points from their first four games, SønderjyskE are currently residing in fourth place, however will have a tough test awaiting on Sunday when they head to Copenhagen for a visit to Clarence Goodson and Brøndby.