As the 2009 Allsvenskan heads toward the midsummer break, the top three teams in the league remain locked in a life-or-death struggle for first place.
by Chipp Reid
IFK Göteborg leads the league with 24 points, winning eight of its first 11 matches. Unbeaten Elfsborg is one point back with a 6-5-0 record while Helsingborg is third with 22 points from a 7-1-3 record.
The three leaders all won in Round 11, with Göteborg registering yet another home win, this time blanking Malmö 2-0 on May 25. Allsvenskan top scorer Tobias Hysén notched his ninth goal of the year and extended his scoring streak to four straight as he led Göteborg to the win. Pontus Wernblom also scored for IFK.
Much of the Angels’ early season success has come at Gamla Ullevi, where the team is 6-0 and has outscored opponents 17-1. Hysen, who came into the season with just 20 goals in 115 Allsvenskan matches, said Göteborg’s fans deserve as much credit as the players for its home wins.
“It must be very difficult to play here,” he said. “We don’t pack the stadium, but the people we get are very loud and they make it feel packed. It’s cruel for other teams, but it’s fantastic for us. The fans really deserve a lot of the credit.”
Wernblom put Göteborg in front 1-0 after he headed in a cross from Adam Johansson 13 minutes into the game. Hysén scored off a pass from Stefan Selakovic in the 69th minute. The goal tied his career-best of nine het in 2005 while playing for Djurgården. It took him 25 matches that year to reach the same mark he reached May 25 after just 11 matches. Hysén said he’s not worrying too much about his scoring.
“It feels good but the biggest thing is that we keep on winning,” he said. “Right now, everyone feels good on the team and we have a lot of confidence. I just hope we can keep playing this way even when we’re not at home.”
Should Göteborg falter, Elfsborg is set to take advantage. The Borås side has yet to lose this season and extended its season-opening unbeaten streak to 11 games May 24 with a hard-fought1-0 win over Trelleborg.
Daniel Nordmark scored the only goal of the match off Elfsborg’s 15th corner kick of the game. Elfsborg dominated much of the match but quickly learned why Trelleborg continues to make a push for the top-four. Brazilian striker Paulino, teamed with former Elfsborg forward Andreas Drugge, were lethal counterpunch combination for Tom Prahl’s stide. Neither, however, could find a way past Elfsborg goalkeeper Ante Covic.
Elfsborg finally translated its ball possession dominance into a goal 14 minutes into the second half. Helgi Danielsson, reportedly a transfer target of German side Hansa Rostok, sent in a corner that Nordmark headed past Victor Noring for the game’s only goal. Nordmark admitted the goal came on something of a broken play.
“It does feel a little funny to score there,” he said. “I was supposed to just stand in front of the goalkeeper but then I dropped back a little and everyone else missed the ball. I was just in the right place, but then it’s never foolish to score a goal.”
The goal was Nordmark’s second of the season and kept Elfsborg’s record unblemished at 6-5-0.
Helsingborg kept the pressure on the leaders, knocking off winless Örgryte 3-1 at home May 25. Markus Lantz had a goal and assist as all the scoring came in the second half. Lantz opened the book when he tallied at the 52-minute mark. The goal was his second of the season.
Erik Sundin made it 2-0 in the 88th minute but David Leinar scored a minute later to give Örgryte some hope of salvaging a point. Mathias Unkuri crushed those hopes when he scored off a cross from Lantz at the stroke of full time.
The victory kept HIF within two points of the top while Örgryte remained winless on the season, dropping to 0-1-10.
Djurgården 1, Häcken 0
STOCKHOLM – Djurgården picked up just its third victory of the season, beating Häcken 1-0 May 26 at Stockholm Stadium. Boyd Mwila scored his third goal of the season when he took a pass from goalkeeper Pa Dembo Touray and threaded his way down field before pumping the goal home. Despite he win, DIF remained mired in the relegation zone in second-to-last place.
Gefle 1, AIK 0
GÄVLE – Surprisingly, Gefle surged into fourth place with a 1-0 win over AIK. Seemingly ageless striker Hans Berggren scored the lone goal of the match just before the interval. The 38-year-old Berggren has five goals this season.
GAIS 2, Kalmar 2
GÖTEBORG – Kalmar continued its climb back up the table, this time rallying in the final minute to claim point in a 2-2 draw May 25 against GAIS. Wanderson do Carmo scored twice to put GAIS ahead 2-0. Daniel Mendes then struck twice within a minute to equalize for the defending champions.
Örebro 0, Brommapojkarna 0
ÖREBRO – Brommapojkarna twice rallied from one-goal deficits to claim a 2-2 draw May 25 in Örebro. Kim Olsen fired the home side in front after nine minutes. Philip Haglund equalized for Bromma three minutes later. Fredrik Nordbäck scored at the 31-minute mark to put Örebro back on top but Jon Persson’s goal in the 66th minute made sure the teams split the points.
Hammarby 0, Halmstad 0
STOCKHOLM – Hammarby failed to move up the table as the Bajen players squandered several scoring chances and settled for a scoreless draw against Halmstad May 25 at Söder Stadium. Hammarby has just three wins this season and is only two points out of the relegation zone.