RECAP: WEEKEND DANISH ACTION
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland put on a strong performance to hand Chris Rolfe and Aalborg their first loss of the season while Clarence Goodson and Brøndby inflicted a lopsided beating on Køge.
Aalborg BK 1 - 2 FC Nordsjaelland
Michael Parkhurst returned to his previous center back role for Nordsjaelland on Sunday afternoon, playing the full 90 minutes as the team earned three points against previously-undefeated Aalborg thanks to an injury-time winner by team captain Nicolai Stockholm.
Aalborg winger Chris Rolfe played the first 72 minutes on the right side of the midfield, while forward Marcus Tracy did not suit up for the hosts as he is still recovering from long-term knee problems.
An injury to usual center back starter Andreas Bjelland forced Parkhurst's move from his recent left back position to the center alongside Jores Okore, and the defense didn't appear to lose a step as they held second-place Aalborg scoreless for more than an hour.
Nordsjaelland were first on the board in the 61st minute when Mikkel Beckmann won the ball near the midfield and dropped a long pass forward to Tobias Mikkelsen, who made a move to lose his defender then fired a low shot into the net for the lead.
The deficit prompted Aalborg to pick up the pace, and they pulled even a mere five minutes later on a lucky stroke, as a poor clearance eventually left the ball at the foot of Mathias Wichman, whose shot took a slight deflection off of Parkhurst on its way in for the equalizer.
The game looked headed for draw until the third minute of added time when Nordsjaelland's captain practically took matters into his own hands, pulling out the shocking win.
Striker Rawez Lawan pushed a short pass back to Stockholm, and his powerful blast caught the entire defense and Aalborg keeper Nicolai Larsen by surprise, leaving them to passively watch the ball fly into the net, securing the 2-1 win to the guests.
The win pulls Nordsjaelland up to fourth place in the standings, within a single win of both second-place Aalborg and Odense.
The Wild Tigers will next host Clarence Goodson and Brøndby on Sunday while Rolfe and Aalborg hit the road for a tough encounter with league leaders Copenhagen.
SønderjyskE 1 - 3 AC Horsens
Conor O'Brien earned his second straight start for SønderjyskE, playing the first 77 minutes of the game as his team were doomed to just their second defeat of the season thanks to a hat trick by AC Horsens striker Gilberto Macena.
SønderjyskE had not tasted defeat since their opening-weekend loss to Copenhagen, however were quickly put on the back foot by their visitors when a throw-in was headed on by Henrik Toft to a wide-open Macena at the far post, who had no problems to poke it over the line for 1-0 in the sixth minute.
The hosts did manage to pull even in the 25th when a cross by Michael Christensen into the area was redirected by Bjørn Paulsen to the foot of Eyjolfur Hedinsson for a chipped shot which looped over the keeper and into the target.
This only lasted for seven minutes, however, with Macena nabbing his second of the game two minutes past the half-hour after linking up well with Anders Nøhr on a quick counter-attack and easily finding space to bring the score to 2-1.
Any hopes that the hosts had of pulling even a second time were put to rest in the 73rd minute, when Eyjolfur Hedinsson was shown his second yellow of the game, and a 90th-minute goal by Macena both completed the Brazilian's hat trick and put the final nail in SønderjyskE's coffin.
SønderjyskE drop to sixth place with the loss, and will next take the field on Wednesday in Danish Cup action with a trip to Brabrand IF before once again hitting the road for Sunday's league game at Midtjylland.
Brøndby IF 5 - 0 HB Køge
Clarence Goodson played the full 90 minutes in defense for Brøndby on Sunday as the team demolished Køge with a five-goal performance.
Køge defender Brad Rusin was a late scratch from the contest due to injury.
Despite the spate of injuries, Køge held their own well into the first half, but predictably saw the game fall apart in the final ten minutes before the break.
A botched takeaway by a Køge defender deep in his own territory left the ball hanging approximately 25 yards straight out, and Mikkel Thygesen rushed in to emphatically strike a laser-guided missile to the left side of goal which the Køge keeper could only watch fly over the line for 1-0.
Six minutes later, the lead was doubled thanks to the quick link-up play of Martin Bernburg and Michael Krohn-Dehli, with the former popping a short pass over the shoulder of his marking defender to Krohn-Dehli, whose one-timed shot from the edge of the area was well out of the keeper's reach.
Matters quickly became worse for the visitors shortly into the second half, first when longtime Danish international Dennis Rommedahl did fine work on the right side to get the ball to the endline, where he sent a cross to the far post in perfect position for Bernburg to slide in face-first and head it over the line from two yards out.
Krohn-Dehli then made it four for the hosts at the hour, picking up a loose ball at 40 yards out and advancing towards goal before hitting a low, hard shot just to the left of Køge keeper Morten H. Jensen, which bounced errantly off of his right hand on its way into the back netting.
The blowout was finally completed with eight minutes left in regulation, when a slick display of passing on the attacking end by Brøndby ended with Brent McGrath aiming a cross from the right side directly at the far post, where Thygesen lunged in acrobatically to head it in from point-blank range in mid-air.
Brøndby pull five points clear of the drop zone with the win, now in eighth place. They next face off against currently-hot Nordsjaelland on Sunday.
Køge remain at the bottom of the standings on three points, although can still theoretically pull clear of the relegation zone should they find a way to beat AGF Aarhus on Sunday.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is recovering from long-term knee problems and did not suit up for Viborg's 1-1 draw at home against Vejle BK Kolding.