by Chipp Reid
Of all the teams in the Damallsvenskan with a shot at claiming the Crown Princess Victoria trophy, the least likely appeared to be Umeå IK.
The defending champions lost four starters from last year’s title-winning team, including three-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta of Brazil. After seven rounds in the top flight of Swedish women’s football, however, Umeå is in a familiar spot – first place.
UIK leads the table with 18 points after knocking off Hammarby 4-2 on May 17 at Gammliavallen stadium in Umeå. The victory pushed the defending champions three points clear of second-place Malmö, which has a game in hand. Malmö is ahead of Umeå in goals scored.
Hanna Ljungberg led the charge as she scored six minutes into the match. The goal was the former Swedish international striker’s 194th career league tally. She has three goals this season after switching from forward to the midfield.
Madeleine Edlund then took up the scoring mantle as she tallied the first of her three points in the match when she scored at the 11-minute mark. Edlund then set up Anna Paulson 10 minutes later for a 3-1 lead.
Former Swedish international Kicki Bengtsson helped cut into the lead when she boomed a corner kick toward the net that Annica Svensson nodded home for Hammarby’s first goal in the 32nd minute.
Johanna Rasmussen put the game beyond reach when she scored her fourth goal of the year for Umeå at the 73-minute mark off a pass from Edlund. Leena Puranen made the score 4-2 with her goal in the 87th minute.
With the victory, Umeå took sole possession of first place, pending the May 19 match between Malmö and AIK.
Linköping 1, Djurgården 0
STOCKHOLM – Linköping moved into second place, two points behind Umeå, with a tough 1-0 win over Djurgården. Icelandic international Margaret Lara Vidarsdottit fired home the lone goal of the match eight minutes from time. Djurgården, a preseason favorite to unseat Umeå, lost for the fourth time in seven matches.
Örebro 3, Kristianstad 2
KRISTIANSTAD – Third-place KIF Örebro jumped out to a big lead then held on for a 3-2 win over Kristianstad. Susana Lehtinen and Antonia Göransson traded goals in the first before Elin Magnusson and Maria Nordbrandt broke the game open for Örebro scoring just a minute apart, 15 minutes into the second half. Sofie Persson pulled a goal back for the home side eight minutes from time as Kristianstad mounted a comeback, but Örebro hung on for the win.
Göteborg 8, Stattena 0
HELSINGBORG – Linnea Liljegård scored four goals to lead Kopparberg/Göteborg to an easy 8-0 win over Stattena at Olimpia Stadium. Liljegård scored three times in the first half and once in the second and now leads the league in scoring with eight goals. Sarah Linden also scored four times in the match, giving her five goals on the season.
Sunnanå 2, Piteå 0
PITEÅ – Sunnanå picked up its fourth win of the season with a 2-0 road win over Piteå. Kathryn Gill struck just nine minutes into the match for a 1-0 lead while Linda Fransson scored in the 60th minute.