SCANDINAVIA: Denmark, Norway and Sweden weekly review

Denmark

Silkeborg shock the Superliga and Nordsjælland capitalise on a faltering København

After an eleven-day break due to qualifying games for the 2014 World Cup being played, the Danish Superliga was in full force this weekend with both Rounds 24 and 25 taking place over the course of four days.

SønderjyskE, buried deep within the battle to avoid relegation, marked their return after the international break in perfect fashion with a 5-0 thrashing away to fellow strugglers Silkeborg on Thursday. Lasse Vibe hit the back of the net for the first time since the end of October and went on to score a hat-trick, whilst Nicolai Madsen and Bjørn Paulsen scored the other two goals to secure their first victory since last November.

Thursday’s other two games both ended in draws, with Horsens drawing 2-2 against Aalborg (their third draw in a row) and neither Odense nor Randers being able to find the back of the net when they met at TRE-FOR Park.

Friday saw league leaders København being held to a draw for the first time in the league since early last October when their game away to Midtjylland ended 2-2 thanks to a last-minute equaliser from København’s Andreas Cornelius. Second-place Nordsjælland were able to capitalise on the result thanks to a 4-2 win at home to AGF.

The final game on Friday, and the final game of Round 24, saw Esbjerg go three games unbeaten thanks to a win against relegation candidates Brøndby, with Jakob Ankersen scoring the game’s only goal just before half-time.

There was just a one-day break before the action kicked off again on Sunday afternoon, and as brief as the break was, it was seemingly long enough for SønderjyskE to lose all momentum gained from their 5-0 win over Silkeborg as they went on to lose 2-0 to a Randers side who haven’t lost since early December.

Sunday’s other game also ended in a 2-0 victory, this time for Odense who were able to keep up the pressure on third-place Randers thanks to their win at home to Horsens.

Esbjerg stretched their number of games unbeaten to four with a 1-0 win over Aalborg, pushing the latter, who have been in dreadful form recently, down to fifth, whilst sixth-place AGF lost for the second game in a row, this time 3-2 to Brøndby in a result that is huge for the cash-strapped league strugglers.

However, the win of the round – and arguably the season – went to bottom-of-the-table Silkeborg who beat top-of-the-table København 1-0 thanks to a 79th minute Marvin Pourie goal. The loss is only København’s second of the season, and before the game a massive thirty-six points separated the two sides. Second-place Nordsjælland were able to once again capitalise on København’s misfortunes, beating Midtjylland 3-1 to reduce the gap between them and the league leaders to twelve points, whilst also still having a game in hand.

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Norway

A frighteningly strong Rosenborg side fly, whilst back-to-back defeats for Molde show that much work needs to be done

After a two week break to accommodate the qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, Tippeligaen was back again in full-force this week with a plethora of goals and shock results to keep us fully entertained…

Arguably the biggest shock of Round 2 was Molde’s defeat away to Lillestrøm on Tuesday night. After losing their opening match to Viking, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side would have been looking at their first home match of the season as an opportunity to finally put some points on the board and kick-start their title defence, but it wasn’t to be as goals from Petter Vaagan Moen and Frode Kippe cancelled out Joona Toivio’s 71st minute goal (his first for the club since his move from Djurgården last month) to give the visitors a 2-1 victory and hand Solskjær his first back-to-back defeats as Molde boss.

Fellow title chasers Strømsgodset were also handed a shock result when they lost 2-0 to last season’s strugglers Hønefoss at Aka Arena. The home side took advantage of Kim André Madsen’s 79th minute dismissal and scored two goals in the last ten minutes to wrap up their first victory of the new season. Riku Riski scored Hønefoss’ first just two minutes after Madsen left the field of play before Aleksander Solli, newly-acquired from Vålerenga, secured the win with his first goal for the club on the stroke of full-time.

It was plain sailing for Rosenborg, however, as arguably the strongest side in Tippeligaen this season brushed Brann aside with ease with a 4-0 home victory in front of 16,000 spectators on Monday afternoon. After a goalless first half, two goals in quick succession from Mikael Dorsin and Mix Diskerud put the hosts 2-0 up after 53 minutes, before Bořek Dočkal made it 3-0 with five minutes left to play and Dorsin completed the emphatic win with his second goal of the game a minute into stoppage time.

Aalesund – coached by former Rosenborg manager Jan Jönsson – are the only other side to have won both of their opening matches after they beat Sandnes Ulf 1-0 on Monday, adding to their 3-0 defeat of Haugesund in their first game of the new season. Tremaine Stewart scored the game’s only goal seven minutes into the second half, and the three points see Jönsson’s men finish Round 2 in second place.

Vålerenga – coached by former Aalesund manager Kjetil Rekdal – also won by a single goal in their second round game when they hosted Sogndal at Ullevaal Stadion. Last season’s eighth-place side went ahead through Torgeir Børven after only two minutes and were able to hold on for the remaining eighty-eight to secure their first league win of 2013.

First wins of the new season were also picked up by Tromsø and newly promoted Sarpsborg 08 after they beat Odd and Viking, respectively. Despite a 77th minute Herolind Shala penalty kick, early goals from Zdeněk Ondrášek and Magnus Andersen were enough to earn all three points for Tromsø, whilst Christian Brink and Martin Wiig cancelled out Jón Daði Böðvarsson’s first goal for Viking and secured Sarpsborg’s first win since their return to Tippeligaen, as well as Brian Deane’s first league victory as manager.

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Sweden

Allsvenskan returns with a bang, with 23 goals spread over 8 games

As well as seeing the return of the Nordic leagues after the international break, this weekend also marked the return of the latest new Nordic season to kick off: Allsvenskan.

After an impressive second-place finish last season (their highest of all time) it wasn’t the greatest of starts to the new season for Häcken, as they lost 3-0 to their Göteborg rivals IFK Göteborg. Jakob Johansson and Mattias Bjärsmyr put them ahead before half time, before Sam Larsson wrapped up the win with a 65th minute goal.

The opening day of the season also saw two other 3-0 victories take place, with last-season’s sixth-place finishers Helsingborg beating Djurgården and Kalmar winning against Syrianska. David Accam scored a brace for Helsingborg – with the other goal, the opener, coming after five minutes from Mattias Lindström – whilst Måns Söderqvist, Mats Solheim and Jonathan McDonald were all on the score-sheet for Kalmar.

Newly-promoted Halmstad, back in the top-flight after one season in Superettan, kicked off their return with a 1-1 draw with Malmö, who finished last season in third, whilst the other two promoted sides Öster (who won last year’s Superettan and are back in Allsvenskan after five seasons away) and Brommapojkarna (back for the time since 2010) played each other, drawing 2-2.

Reigning champions Elfsborg were also held to 2-2 draw, theirs at the hands of AIK, with Englishman James Keene scoring both goals for Di Gule and Nabil Bahoui and Henok Goitom scoring for last season’s fourth-place finishers.

Despite going down to ten men late on, goals from Christopher Telo and Gunnar Þorvaldsson secured a 2-1 victory for Norrköping against Mjällby, whilst a single Alexander Faltsetas goal was enough for Gefle to beat Åtvidaberg.

Ben Cullimore

Follow Ben on Twitter by clicking his name above or alternatively@thenorsenetwork

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