RECAP: MIDWEEK DANISH CUP ACTION
Chris Rolfe and Aalborg made an early exit from the Danish Cup in a dramatic penalty shootout loss to Viborg while Brad Rusin and Køge rode a strong second half against Hellerup IK to the next round.
Viborg FF 2 - 2 Aalborg BK (pen. 8-7)
Chris Rolfe was a second-half substitute in Aalborg's heartbreaking penalty-shootout loss to Viborg on Wednesday night which eliminated the team from the Cup.
Rolfe played the final half-hour of regulation and the full overtime period, while successfully sinking his team's fourth penalty in the shootout.
Both Aalborg striker Marcus Tracy and Viborg central defender Babajide Ogunbiyi missed the game due to recovery from their respective knee injuries.
Aalborg head coach Kent Nielsen opted to leave several of his usual starters including Rolfe and star striker Jeppe Curth out of the starting lineup.
While the team did come out as the stronger of the two, Viborg were nevertheless first on the board when Dennis Høegh sent a short pass from the corner of the penalty area towards goal which Mads Hvilsom knocked over the line for 1-0.
The lack of first-teamers on the field turned out to be a problem for Aalborg, as they were able to dominate possession but couldn't add any final bite to their attack.
Rolfe entered the game just before the hour, and was shortly followed by the insertion of Patrick Kristensen and Anders Due as the visitors tried to find an equalizer.
One minute into injury time, they succeeded in forcing 30 minutes of overtime when a quick combination from Henrik Dalsgaard and Jakob Ahlmann sprang Niklas Helenius free in front of goal for a cool finish.
With momentum firmly on their side, Aalborg netted what looked to be the winning goal in the final minute of the first overtime period, as Kenneth Emil Petersen made a fine move to evade Viborg keeper Robert Veselovsky when he was left free in the area, putting the ball away for the lead.
It was Viborg's turn, however, to create drama in the final moments, as Hvilsom scored his second of the game, heading in a cross from Eduardo Delanis in the 118th minute to force a penalty shootout.
Each team successfully buried their first five spot kicks, with Rolfe successful on his shot, however on Aalborg's sixth, Thomas Augustinussen made a poor effort, allowing Razak Pimpong to hit the kick which would put Viborg through to the next round.
Aalborg now have only league play drawing their focus, and will be back in action on the Sunday following the international break when they host Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland.
Hellerup IK 0 - 2 HB Køge
Brad Rusin played the full 90 minutes in defense for Køge on Tuesday night, as they brushed off their league woes to finally beat Hellerup IK on a pair of second-half goals.
Køge held the upper hand throughout much of the first half, regularly pressuring the Hellerup goal and keeper, although without any result to show for it at the break.
Hoping to avoid what would amount to a humiliating loss even for the Superligaen's last-place team, they went ahead in the 55th minute. Adeola Runsewe did surged through the Hellerup defense and laid a pass off to Bo Storm, whose low shot left the keeper no chance.
They needed just four more minutes to add another for good measure, with Lasse Kronborg looping a well-place shot in the upper corner for 2-0.
The Køge defense did well to completely shut down any chance for a come-back by their hosts, with the referee's whistle finally confirming the result.
Køge will have to return to their dismal league campaign, which currently sees them last-place after seven games. They next visit Brøndby IF following the break.
Michael Parkhurst was not in the Nordsjaelland squad that booked their spot in the third round with a commanding 6-0 win over Hillerød.
Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE will wait until Tuesday, September 13 to play their second-round Cup game at Brabrand IF.