Tippeligaen Weekly Review - Round 11
With the games coming thick and fast in Tippeligaen at the moment, this week saw each side in action twice, with the 16 games played treating us to a whopping forty-four goals. This week’s action kicked on Thursday with the special and action-packed ‘May 16th Round’ and ended with five days later with eight games that helped make this year’s Tippeligaen table as close as it’s ever been!
After another humiliating defeat for Molde on Thursday – this time a 5-1 hammering at home by Haugesund – Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side bounced back and put on an admirable display to hold back and draw 0-0 with second-place Rosenborg, despite going down to ten men after only twenty minutes when Martin Linnes was shown a straight red card, when the two sides met in Trondheim on Monday. Despite only managing to win once in the league so far this season, Solskjær will no doubt be impressed with his side’s ability to keep a side as strong as Rosenborg at bay for seventy minutes whilst being a man down, and he will also no doubt be somewhat pleased – even if he doesn’t acknowledge it publicly – with his side’s ability to only lose once (albeit heavily to Haugesund) in their last five league games. Although the 2011 and 2012 Tippeligaen champions have yet to turn the corner just yet, you can sense that they might be approaching the bend at least.
The only significant gap in the table so far this season remains at the top, and Rosenborg’s draw with Molde leaves them five points behind leaders Strømsgodset, but also extends their unbeaten run to five games and keeps them in second place for another week. Strømsgodset have now won their last three games in a row – not to mention now being unbeaten in their last nine – and did so in fine fashion when they thrashed Start 6-0 away from home on Monday afternoon. Ghanaian teenager Bismark Adjei-Boateng and twenty-two-year-old Stefan Johansen both scored in Strømsgodset’s 3-1 win at home to Sogndal during the week and were on the score sheet yet again in Monday’s game, joining Jarl-André Storbæk, Adama Diomandé, Gustav Wikheim and Start defender Glenn Andersen, who unfortunately scored an own-goal after thirty-eight minutes to put the visitors 4-0 ahead going into the half time break. Strømsgodset have been on fine form this season and are already beginning to pull away from the rest of the field, and if they beat third-place Aalesund when the two sides meet in Drammen on Friday evening, they could pull away even further from the main title challengers and fully assert their dominance at the top of the table as we near the season’s midpoint.
Both Aalesund and Viking sit on twenty points – just one point behind Rosenborg – after their games this week. Aalesund bounced back from their 2-0 defeat away to Brann on Thursday to beat second-to-bottom-place Odd by the same scoreline when they hosted the Skien-based side on Monday evening, thanks to a fortieth-minute goal from the penalty spot from Fredrik Ulvestad and a fifth goal of the season from Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah nine minutes into the second half. Viking, meanwhile, extended their unbeaten run to four games thanks to a 1-0 win away to local rivals Sandnes Ulf in the Rogaland derby on Tuesday evening. Local boy André Danielsen scored the game’s only goal after fifty-four minutes to extend Viking’s unbeaten run to four games and send them above Brann and Haugesund to fourth place in the table, two points clear of the Bergensers and three points clear of their Rogaland rivals.
Brann were unable to capitalise on their victory over Aalesund and were beaten 2-0 by Tromsø on Monday evening. After a goalless first half, former Rangers player Thomas Kind Bendiksen put the northerners 1-0 ahead after seventy-six minutes from the penalty spot, and Steffen Nystrøm wrapped up the win with his second goal of the season in the dying moments of the game.
Tromsø remain in seventh place following their victory and are now only one point behind Haugesund after their three-game unbeaten run was ended when they were beaten by Sogndal at Haugesund Stadion. A sixty-ninth-minute Malick Mane penalty was the only goal of the game and moves last season’s twelfth-place finishers up to eighth place from eleventh, just one point behind Tromsø.
In the bottom half of the table, Hønefoss beat Lillestrøm 1-0, thanks to a goal early in the second half from Mats Kaland, to send the former up to tenth place and the latter down to twelfth. Lillestrøm, who were only able to draw 2-2 with Sandnes Ulf during the week, are now without a win in their last five league games and are slipping further towards the relegation zone as the weeks go on; they now sit equal on points with thirteenth-place Start and only two points ahead of fourteenth-place Sandnes Ulf who occupy the relegation play-off spot.
Meanwhile, after a bright start to their return to Tippeligaen, ninth-place Sarpsborg 08 are now without a win in their last three games after they drew 3-3 with eleventh-place Vålerenga on Tuesday evening. They valiantly came from behind three times, however, and denied Vålerenga only their fifth win of the season when French defender Jérémy Berthod scored in the ninety-second minute to steal a point and deny Sarpsborg 08 from losing their third league game in a row.
Allsvenskan Weekly Review - Round 9
After finally winning their first game of the season last weekend against Malmö FF, bottom-of-the-table Djurgården won for the second time when they beat second-to-bottom-place side Halmstad 1-0 at home. The game was new manager Per-Mathias Høgmo’s (who has previously been in charge of Tromsø and Rosenborg back in his native Norway) first in charge after taking over from Magnus Pehrsson who resigned following threats from supporters after their dreadful start to the season, and the victory sees his new side move equal on points with Halmstad, as well as now being only one point behind fourteenth-place Syrianska FC, thirteenth-place Gefle, and twelfth-place Öster.
Syrianska FC ended Round 8 in the relegation zone but ended Round 9 in the relegation play-off spot thanks to a 1-1 draw with eleventh-place Brommapojkarna. Alexander Michel put the former side ahead after twenty-seven minutes before Andreas Haddad equalised for Brommapojkarna with little over quarter of an hour left to play.
Gefle also drew, moving them up from fourteenth place to thirteenth place, thanks to their clash away to Häcken on Sunday ending 2-2. After winning two of their first four games this season, Gefle have failed to win in their last five, losing three – including heavy defeats to both Helsingborg and Brommapojkarna – and drawing two in the process.
As for Öster, they joined Halmstad and Åtvidaberg in being the only sides in the bottom half of the table who were unable to pick up at least a point this weekend due to their 3-2 loss at home to AIK. The win moves AIK into the top half of the table to eighth place, sandwiched between seventh-place Norrköping and ninth-place Åtvidaberg after the latter lost 2-1 against the former when they met at Norrköpings Idrottspark on Sunday.
In the top half of the table, Helsingborg remain top of Allsvenskan and in fine form after they won for the sixth consecutive game. This weekend, two first-half goals from David Accam helped them to beat Elfsborg 2-1 in front of just over 10,000 fans at home, and ended the reigning champions’ unbeaten run to send them down to fourth place.
Elfsborg are now equal on points with both third-place Mjällby and fifth-place Malmö FF after the two sides drew 2-2 with one another when they met on Friday evening in Hällevik. Thanks to goals from Craig Henderson and Marcus Ekenberg that cancelled out Simon Kroon’s sixtieth-minute goal, the home side were heading for a second consecutive win but Magnus Eriksson scored from the spot with six minutes left to play to steal a point for Malmö FF. After winning four of their five opening games this season, Malmö FF are now without a win in their last four games, although they’ve only lost once so far this campaign and remain firmly involved in the battle at the top of the table.
Sitting ahead of Mjällby, Elfsborg and Malmö FF are IFK Göteborg after they picked up their second victory in a row when they beat sixth-place Kalmar 2-0 to record the weekend’s biggest win in a round of football that’s been characterised by close encounters. Tobias Hysén scored both goals to keep the thirteen times Allsvenskan winners within two points of Helsingborg.
Danish Superliga Weekly Review - Round 33
A truly thrilling 2012/13 Superliga season ended this week and did so in fittingly fantastic fashion, with the battles to avoid relegation and to achieve a Europa League qualification spot both going right to the wire!
After emphatically beating reigning champions Nordsjælland 4-0 during the week to pick up a vital three points, Brøndby went into the final game of the season against Horsens two points ahead of their challengers, knowing that they only needed to avoid defeat when they took on the side that they’d been battling alongside in the bottom half of the table for most of the campaign. Unbeaten in their last five league games and with three of those results coming against top four sides, the emphasis was surely with the ten times top flight champions, and that proved to be the case as they valiantly held their opponents at bay, despite going down to ten men after seventy-two minutes when Quincy Antipas was shown a second yellow card, and were even able to catch the hosts on the break and set up youngster Lebogang Phiri to score a last-minute winner to secure Brøndby’s Superliga feature and condemn Horsens to their second relegation to the 1st Division in the last five seasons.
Horsens will join Silkeborg in the second tier next season after the 1993/94 Superliga champions’ relegation was confirmed on Thursday when they were only able to draw with Midtjylland, leaving them unable to catch either Horsens or Brøndby on the last day of the season. They put in an admirable performance, however, coming back from behind three times to draw 3-3 with Odense who finish the season in tenth place, four points clear of Horsens and one point behind Brøndby, after a poor end to the season saw them go without a win in their last seven games, with six of those results being defeats. After never finishing below ninth place since the 1997-98 season (including three consecutive second-place finishes between 2008-09 and 2010-11), Odense have now had two bad seasons in which they’ve finished tenth in both of them. The club brought back Danish Cup winning manager Troels Bech last July to try and turn things around, but that seemingly hasn’t worked and much will have to be done over the summer to try and restore Odense to the heights of the Superliga and propel them back into the top European competitions where they believe they belong.
The other last-day fight involved a battle for the last remaining Europa League qualification spot. With the third and fourth place finishers qualifying for the competition, this year a fifth-place finish would be enough for either Aalborg or Midtjylland if the Danish Cup winners Esbjerg finished in fourth or above, as their 1-0 cup win against Randers earlier in the month confirmed their place in the Europa League for next season. Thanks to their 6-2 thrashing of Odense on Thursday and Aalborg’s 3-0 defeat away to AGF, Esbjerg went into the final game of the season in fourth place, four points behind third-place Randers, who had confirmed their place in the competition themselves by beating København 1-0 last week, and one point ahead of Aalborg, who themselves sat just two points ahead of Midtjylland. With goal differences so close between the three sides, fourth, fifth and sixth place could go to any of them depending on how the final day of the season panned out, and it ended up finishing as close as it possibly could…
Despite losing for the first time in a month when Nordsjælland beat them 1-0, Esbjerg claimed a fourth-place finish, even though they ended the season equal on points with both Aalborg and Midtjylland. The former were saved in the dying embers of the game by Rasmus Thelander who scored to earn his side a 2-2 draw with Randers, meaning that the latter’s 3-2 win at home to AGF wasn’t enough to see them qualify for the Europa League for a third consecutive season, as they finished with a goal difference one worse than Aalborg, who themselves finished with a goal difference one worse than Esbjerg. Without Thelander’s last-minute goal, Midtjylland would be celebrating European qualification yet again. Instead, they will have to settle for a sixth-place finish, their worst since the 2009-10 season when they ended the campaign with an equal amount of points.
Despite their 3-2 defeat away to Midtjylland on the last day of the season, AGF bounced back from a poor run of seven games without a win between the end of March and the start of May to avoid slipping towards the relegation zone and finish in seventh place with forty-one points.
SønderjyskE, who were also in danger of being relegated at one point, only lost once in their last eight league games to finish in eighth place and equal on points with AGF. The Haderslev side - who finished sixth last year - had the opportunity to take advantage of AGF’s defeat and overtake them at the final hurdle but had to come back from behind to draw 1-1 with København in their final game.
As for the champions, the draw might be seen as something of a positive after they embarked on a lacklustre final third of the season that highlighted their dominance early in the campaign. A goalless draw away to rivals Brøndby - their third consecutive draw at the time - won them the title with three games left to play, but they only managed to win once in their last ten games of the season after previously winning their last nine in a row. Nonetheless, the ten times champions finish the campaign five points clear of reigning champions Nordsjælland, and, despite their late slump, it cannot be denied that they are worthy winnings of yet another fantastic Superliga season!
1. København [C]
11. Horsens [R]
12. Silkeborg [R]
Effodeildin Weekly Review - Round 10
Despite having to share the points after drawing 3-3 with their arch rivals B36 Tórshavn on Monday afternoon, HB Tórshavn remain seven points clear at the top of the Effodeildin table after second-place KÍ Klaksvík were also held to a draw when their game away to TB Tvøroyri finished 1-1. KÍ now sit only one point ahead of third-place ÍF Fuglafjørður, thanks to their 1-0 win away to bottom-of-the-table AB Argir.
Just three points separate second-place ÍF and sixth-place Víkingur, despite the latter failing to win for the fifth consecutive time in the league when they were beaten 3-0 by fourth-place NSÍ Runavík on Monday.
Meanwhile, EB/Streymurbeat second-to-bottom-place 07 Vestur 2-0 to move above Víkingur to fifth.
Veikkausliiga Weekly Review - Round 7
HJK remain at the top of the table for yet another week, despite losing for the first time this season when TPS beat them 2-0 in Helsinki. The win moves TPS up to third place, just two points behind the leaders.
Behind TPS are fourth-place VPS, fifth-place Inter Turku, and sixth-place Mariehamn who are all on eleven points. VPS and Inter Turku drew 0-0 with each other this week, whilst Mariehamn ended three games without a win with a 1-0 win over ninth-place Jaro.
Second-place MYPA closed the gap between them and HJK to just a point thanks to their 2-0 win at home to eleventh-place Lahti, who have now lost their last three games in a row. They remain three points ahead of bottom-of-the-table JJK after they suffered their fourth straight defeat when eighth-place Honka beat them 3-2. JJK remain the only side without a win this season and end Round 7 with just two points.
Meanwhile, KuPS won their third game in a row to move up to seventh when they beat tenth-place RoPS 1-0.
Danish Superliga Weekly Review - Round 32
The Danish Superliga ends on Monday evening and, boy, do we have a battle at the bottom to look forward to!
Horsens sit in second-to-bottom-place in the relegation zone with thirty-four points and they meet Brøndby, who sit two points ahead of them thanks to their biggest win of the season this week, on the last day to determine who will be relegated to the 1st Division and who will live to fight another day after a truly fantastic end to the 2012-13 campaign!
Horsens had the opportunity to go into the final game of the season with an advantage over Brøndby if they were able to beat SønderjyskE when the two sides met at Haderslev Fodboldstadion, but despite going ahead after only six minutes through a Bjørn Paulsen own-goal, goals from Henrik Hansen (from the penalty spot, resulting in Mads Agesen being sent off), Lasse Vibe, Johan Absalonsen and a last-minute own-goal from Alexander Andersen cancelled out Paulsen’s own goal and a fifty-first minute goal from Troels Kløve and condemned Horsens to their fourteenth defeat of the season.
Still, if Brøndby were unable to beat second-place Nordsjælland, Horsens would go into the final round outside of the relegation zone and one point ahead, but Brøndby were able to pull off a truly incredible win as a double from Simon Makienok and a goal each from Dennis Rommedahl and Lebogang Phiri gave the club from the capital a 4-0 win over the reigning champions. Only two points separate the two sides as we enter the final ninety minutes of football this season and it’s too close to call, with both sides boasting similar records in the league. However, Brøndby are now unbeaten in five games after a truly epic turnaround, not to mention full of confidence after this week’s win, so the emphasis must surely be with them. However, we can only wait and see what happens…
Despite losing their last six games in a row in what has been a terrible run of games for Odense, they sit three points clear of Horsens and, due to the fact that Horsens and Brøndby face each other in the last game, will narrowly avoid relegation. Their fans won’t be happy with their poor displays in the latter half of the season, however, and things went from bad to worse this week when they were thrashed 6-2 away from home by Esbjerg. The latter have now won their last four games in a row and sit in fourth place in the last remaining Europa League spot going into their clash with Nordsjælland on the last day.
Aalborg sit just one point behind them but are now without a win in their last three games after they lost for the second time in that period to AGF, who beat them 3-0. AGF, who at one point not so long ago looked in danger of dropping into the relegation zone, now sit comfortably in seventh place after winning their last two consecutive clashes.
Despite a late stumble, last year’s 1st Division runners-up Randers confirmed their third-place finish and a spot in next year’s Europa League with a 1-0 win over København, who have been playing horrendously since winning their tenth title; the champions haven’t won in their last five games and have only been victorious once in their last nine, which is a stark contrast to the nine-game winning streak they embarked on before their less-than-desirable streak began at the end of March.
Meanwhile, it was a sad day for Silkeborg who will finish in last place and will be playing in the 1st Division next season after they were held to a 1-1 draw by sixth-place Midtjylland. Their relegation was all but confirmed before this week but today’s result (and Brøndby’s victory) confirmed that the 1993-94 Superliga champions will play in the second tier of Danish football for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Tippeligaen Weekly Review - Round 10
With last weekend treating us to 24 goals, this week’s Tippeligaen action would have to be pretty special if it was to surpass the excitement of Round 9. Well, with 25 goals scored, May 16th – always a special day due to the round being played the day before Norway’s Constitution Day – sure did deliver!
Unfortunately, May 16th wouldn’t prove to be as good for Molde as it was last year when they beat Fredrikstad 2-0 to extend their winning streak to three games (they would go on to be unbeaten for seven games during a streak that lasted from the start of May to the end of June, and they won six times during it), as this year they were mercilessly beaten 5-1 by Haugesund in front of a home crowd of almost 9,000. The visitors went ahead after only a minute through Christian Gytkær, and despite Molde equalising just five minutes later thanks to a first league goal from Kristoffer Vatshaug, Haugesund went into the half time break 2-1 ahead as a result of Gytkær scoring his second after 42 minutes. The reigning champions crumbled after the break and Alexander Søderlund made it 3-1 after only two minutes, before Michael Haukås scored his first goal of the season twelve minutes later and Gytkær wrapped up his hat trick from the penalty spot with six minutes left to play. With a third of the season played, Molde remain bottom of the table with only one win out of 10 games and are now 17 points behind league leaders Strømsgodset. Haugesund, on the other hand, move up to fifth place after winning their second consecutive game, and extend their unbeaten run to three games.
Last year’s seventh-place finishers now sit equal on points with both fourth-place Aalesund and sixth-place Viking after neither side were victorious this week. Aalesund lost 2-0 away to Brann to surrender their spot to the Bergensers, whose unbeaten home record continues. The win would prove to be particularly special for eighteen-year-old local lad Bård Finne who is rapidly blossoming into a fantastic young talent, as he put his side ahead on the stroke of half time. Icelandic defender Birkir Sævarsson then doubled their lead seven minutes after the break and scored what would prove to be the final goal of the game.
Viking, meanwhile, were held to a goalless draw by Hønefoss who sit just two points clear of the relegation zone after only managing to win twice in the opening third of the season. They remain equal on points with fourteenth-place Sandnes Ulf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot, after they too were held to a draw when they faced Lillestrøm at Åråsen Stadion. They had to fight for the point, however, as the hosts went 2-0 up one minute into the second half thanks to a 29th minute opener from Pálmi Pálmason and a third goal in three games for Ohi Omoijuanfo. Sandnes Ulf hit back ten minutes later though through Marius Helle, and Tommy Høiland, the club’s leading goalscorer so far this year, saved his side from a fifth defeat with the equalising goal 13 minutes later. Now without a win in their last four games, Sandnes Ulf are on the poorest recent run of any Tippeligaen side.
Odd have also been in poor form recently and have been consistently hanging around, or in, the relegation zone since the start of the season. They remain in second-to-bottom-place for another round after they were beaten 1-0 by Start. Rolf Daniel Vikstøl scored the only goal of the game on the hour mark to leave Odd without a win in their last three outings and move his side up to ninth after a poor run of five games without a win. Despite almost being in the top half of the table, Start are equal on points with Lillestrøm, Sogndal and Vålerenga below them, as well as being only one point behind both Sarpsborg 08 and Tromsø in front of them, after an evenly fought first third of the season has left the middle of the table awfully close.
In the heart of the battle to pull themselves out of the bottom half of the table are Vålerenga who currently sit in twelfth place after they bounced back from two poor defeats to beat Tromsø 2-0 at home. Goals in either half from Morten Berre and André Muri moved them to within a point of their opponents, despite there being three teams separating them.
Sogndal also find themselves in the heart of the bottom half of the table after going three games unbeaten (with two of those being victories), and a win this weekend would have moved them up to seventh place but leaders Strømsgodset rained on their parade and instead extended their own unbeaten run to eight games. 19-year-old Ghanaian Bismark Adjei-Boateng opened the scoring after only three minutes for the leaders and gave them a 1-0 advantage going into the half time break. Stefan Johansen then doubled their lead 10 minutes after the restart before Malick Mane pulled a goal back for Sogndal with his second in as many games, but Adjei-Boateng was on hand to extend Strømsgodset’s lead to two goals again when he doubled his tally almost instantly after the restart.
Strømsgodset’s lead at the top of the table remains only three points after Rosenborg were victorious for the third time in a row. They beat Sarpsborg 08 4-2 at home this week, thanks to a hat trick from Nicki Bille Nielsen to bring his tally for the season up to five. The Dane put the hosts 2-0 up just after the half-hour mark with two goals in two minutes, but Magnus Sylling Olsen and Guðmundur Þórarinsson hit back in the first half of the second period to make the scores level once again. It looked like the game might end at 2-2 as the final whistle approached but Tarik Elyounoussi, ever the game-changer, put Rosenborg back ahead after 84 minutes before winning a penalty four minutes later which Bille Nielsen converted for his hat trick.
Úrvalsdeild Weekly Review - Round 2
Three of last year’s top four finishers currently sit in the top four of the Úrvalsdeild table after they all won their second games of the new season. Last year’s champions FH sit top of the table with a goal difference of +4 after their comfortable 3-0 victory away to newly-promoted Þór, whilst second-place ÍBV also have a goal difference of +4 thanks to their equally comfortable 4-1 win at home to Breiðablik, and in third place sit Valur, who beat ÍA 3-1 to condemn the Akranes-based side to their second defeat in a row.
Víkingur Ólafsvík and Keflavík join ÍA and Þór in having no points after the opening two games of the new season, after they lost 3-2 to Stjarnan and 2-0 to KR, respectively.
Meanwhile, Fram and Fylkir were the only sides who had to share the points this week after they drew 1-1 in Reykjavík.
Danish Superliga Weekly Review - Round 31
The battle to avoid relegation from the Superliga has been fiercely fought all season long, and with only two games left to play it remains as close as it ever has been. Just five points separate seventh-place AGF and eleventh-place Brøndby, and with tenth-place Horsens facing ninth-place SønderjyskE on Thursday before hosting Brøndby next Monday, it looks as if it’s going to go right to the wire.
Horsens were given a boost in their bid to avoid relegation to the 1st Division when they picked up their second win in their last five games thanks to a 2-0 win at home to bottom-of-the-table Silkeborg. The latter now sit four points behind nearest rivals Brøndby and five behind Horsens, and anything less than a win against sixth-place Midtjylland on Thursday evening will condemn the 1993-94 Superliga champions to the 1st Division for the first time since the 2007-08 season, when they spent two seasons in the second tier after being relegated at the end of the 2006-07 season.
Brøndby extended their unbeaten streak to four games when they drew 1-1 with fourth-place Aalborg, but the point wasn’t enough to pull them out of the relegation zone by the time Horsens had played twenty-four hours later and leaves them with a mammoth task in the remaining two games. The ten times Superliga champions have been embroiled in crises for much of the decade, and last season saw the club from the capital finish just two places clear of the relegation zone after winning only nine games over the course of the campaign. With a game against reigning champions Nordsjælland on Thursday and the aforementioned clash of the season away to Horsens next week, it looks as if Brøndby’s time in the Superliga might be coming to an end unless they can pull off a last minute great escape to save themselves from playing in the second tier of Danish football for the first time since 1981.
SønderjyskE remain in danger of relegation after they lost 2-1 away to AGF in Saturday’s lone game, with Osarna Akharraz and Søren Larsen scoring for the hosts, and Johan Absalonsen pulling one back for the visitors after fifty-six minutes. The win is AGF’s first since the middle of March, after last season’s fifth-place finishers found themselves on a terrible run of seven games without a win, with five of those being defeats, which saw them drop dangerously close to the relegation zone. However, the three points moves them above SønderjyskE to seventh, one point ahead of eighth-place Odense and five clear of the relegation zone.
Despite the scoreline being even at 1-1 after sixty-five minutes of play, Odense went on to lose 4-1 to second-place Nordsjælland when they travelled to play the reigning champions on Friday evening. Nicolai Stokholm put the hosts ahead after quarter-of-an-hour to give them a half time lead, but Marcus Pedersen, on loan from Dutch side Vitesse, equalised for Odense five minutes into the second half. However, the Nordsjælland onslaught started fifteen minutes later and a double in two minutes from Anders Christiansen and an eighty-fifth minute goal from twenty-one-year-old substitute Oğuzhan Aynaoğlu (his first for the club) made sure that second-place and the all-important Champions League qualifying spot were guaranteed for last year’s champions.
Although they always looked certain to take second place as the season drew to a close, despite a recent poor run, the runners-up spot was confirmed on Sunday when third-place Randers lost 3-0 away to Midtjylland, thanks to first half goals from Erik Sviatchenko, Danny Olsen and Petter Andersson. Randers have now only won once in their last five league games and as a result sit only two points ahead of Aalborg and a further two points behind fifth-place Esbjerg.
Third and fourth place finishes result in a spot in next year’s Europa League competition, and Esbjerg, who have now won their last three games in a row after they beat champions København 2-0 this weekend to stretch their run of games without a win to four, could well squeeze into one of them at the last minute, especially seeing as Aalborg and Randers play each other on the final day of the season. Although it’s not quite as close as the battle at the bottom, the fight for third and fourth looks like it’s going to be just as tasty.
Allsvenskan Weekly Review - Round 8
After picking up only one point in their first seven games of the new Allsvenskan season as a result of some truly shocking performances, Djurgården, who are still without a manager after the resignation of Magnus Pehrsson following threats from supporters, finally won their first game of the season this weekend. Despite being thrashed 5-1 by Åtvidaberg last weekend, the Stockholm side fought back from behind against Malmö FF to beat them 3-2, despite going down to ten men when Daniel Amartey received a red card after seventy-two minutes, with Mattias Östberg’s eighty-eighth minute goal completing the comeback and cancelling out first half goals from Tukelo Rantie and Magnus Eriksson. Helsingborg remain bottom of the table with only four points but the victory will no doubt do wonders for the side’s confidence after a woeful start to 2013. Meanwhile, Malmö FF are now without a win in their last three league games and drop to fifth place with fifteen points as a result.
On equal points with Malmö FF in fourth are Mjällby after they comfortably beat Syrianska FC 4-1 at Strandvallen on Sunday. Kristian Haynes ends Round 8 as joint top goalscorer with six goals after he picked up a hat-trick on the weekend, with his first coming after only a minute had been played, and New Zealand midfielder Craig Henderson also hit the back of the net to pick up his first goal of the season. The defeat – their second in a row – leaves Syrianska FC in the relegation zone in fifteenth place, three points ahead of Djurgården and equal on points with fourteenth-place Gefle and thirteenth-place Halmstad, who were both also defeated this weekend.
Gefle dropped into the relegation play-off place as a result of their 4-1 loss away to eleventh-place Brommapojkarna, who had previously failed to win in their last four games, whilst Halmstad narrowly lost 1-0 to second-place IFK Göteborg on Saturday.
The win moves IFK Göteborg up to second place, two points behind Helsingborg and just one in front of Elfsborg after the frighteningly in-form reigning champions won their fourth consecutive league game, 2-1 against eighth-place Norrköping, and, thanks to Malmö FF’s defeat, finish Round 8 as the only side still unbeaten in 2013.
Leaders Helsingborg went one better, however, when they extended their winning streak to five games thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of Häcken at home, with four different players – Robin Simović (who scored twice), Loret Sadiku, David Accam and Álvaro Santos – on the score sheet for the 2011 champions.
Back in the bottom half of the table, Öster suffered their fourth defeat in a row when they lost 1-0 at home to Åtvidaberg on Monday evening to leave them just one point clear of the relegation zone, whilst the win moves Åtvidaberg up to seventh with eleven points and extends their unbeaten run to three games.
Kalmar are also on an impressive unbeaten run at the moment and extended theirs to five thanks to a 2-1 victory at home against AIK, with Mans Söderqvist and Jonathan Ring scoring for the hosts before substitute Atakora Lalawelé scored a consolation goal in the final moments. The defeat sees AIK drop into the bottom half of the table and finish the week in tenth, whilst Kalmar sit in sixth, two points either side of Malmö FF and Åtvidaberg.