AIK beat Trelleborg to hang onto first place in the Allsvenskan. As the top flight of Swedish football took a 10-day break while the national teams plays a pair of World Cup qualifiers, AIK sat atop the Allsvenskan
As the top flight of Swedish football took a 10-day break while the national teams plays a pair of World Cup qualifiers, AIK sat atop the Allsvenskan with a one-point lead over IFK Göteborg. AIK has 41 points. Elfsborg is third with 39 points while defending champions Kalmar sit in fourth, three points behind AIK.
The Gnaget holds the top spot despite having one of the most anemic offenses league. AIK has scored just 21 goals in 21 matches, the fourth fewest in the league and the least among the top seven clubs. Only four teams have scored fewer goals and none has a winning record.
“We’d love to score more goals but right now we’re winning,” said AIK midfielder Kenny Pavey, who has a pair of goals this season. “Our key to winning is our defense. We don’t allow many goals so we always have a chance to win.”
AIK has allowed just 14 goals this season. Pavey said all of the squad take pride in not allowing goals and said, “Our defense is what makes our offense work, so in that respect we’re a little bit different than another sides.”
Like many teams in Sweden, AIK turned to Latin American players to pump up its offense, relying on a pair of Uruguayans, Jorge Ortiz and Ivan Obolo and Brazilian newcomer Antonio Flaves Aires dos Santos. Last year, Obolo and Ortiz, along with Brazilian Daniel Mendes, lit up the scoreboard with Obolo earning the nickname “Obogolo” after he notched 10 goals in 15 matches.
This year, however, Obolo has scored just three times, Ortiz once and Mendes is gone, playing for defending league champs Kalmar. Pavey, with his two goals, is among the team leaders in scoring, despite often playing on the back line. He was at a loss to explain the power outage.
“It’s not because we’re not trying,” he said. “Everyone wants to score. I really don’t know why we’re having so many problems up front.”
AIK maintained its goal-a-game average in its most recent match, beating Trelleborg 1-0 on Aug. 29. Liberian international Dulee Johnson scored the lone goal of the match in the 64th minute. Johnson tallied off a deft pass from dos Santos, earning the Brazilian plaudits from teammate Bojan Djordic.
“We have a new dimension with Flavio,” Djordic said. “He always puts the ball in the right place.”
At the same time, AIK’s closest competition, Elfsborg, lost a crucial showdown with Göteborg 4-0 on Aug. 30. The victory allowed Göteborg to move back into second place. Defending champions Kalmar also won to keep pace with AIK.
IFK Göteborg 4, Elfsborg 0
GÖTEBORG – Hjalmar Jönsson broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 55th minute to help lead IFK Göteborg to a crucial 4-0 win over Elfsborg. The goal opened the scoring floodgates as Stefan Selakovic set up the next two Göteborg tallies for Hannes Stiller, who scored his first brace in blue and white. Tobias Hysén added a fourth goal, giving him a league-leading 12 goals on the season.
Kalmar 3, Hammarby 0
KALMAR – Tobias Eriksson took another huge step toward replacing Rasmus Elm as he scored twice to lead Kalmar to a 3-0 win over struggling Hammarby. Elm, the second of three brothers that led Kalmar to its first-ever championship last year, signed a deal to play in Holland with older brother Victor. Rasmus Elm is to play for Alkmaar while Victor plays for Hereenveen. Younger brother David Elm is also set to leave on a contract with Fulham in England. Abiola Dauda continued to impress, scoring the final goal of the match.
BK Häcken 4, Halmstad 0
HALMSTAD – Häcken moved into sixth place in the league, just six points behind first-place AIK with a 4-0 beat down of Halmstad. Jonas Henriksson scored twice to lead Häcken as he took his goals total to 10. Paolo de Oliviera ad Erik Friberg also scored for Hacken.
Örebro 2, Gefle 0
ÖREBRO – Magnus Wikström and Adriano Munoz scored in a two-minute span as Örebro kept its hopes alive for a spot in Europe with a 2-0 win over Gefle. Örebro has 33 points, five behind fourth-place Kalmar.
Örgryte 2, Brommapojkarna 1
BROMMA – Örgryte claimed just its second win of the season thanks to a blast from the past as it defeated Brommapojkarna 2-1 at Grimsta Sports Park. Marcus Allbäck and Alvaro Santos scored for Orgryte, resurrecting memories of Örgryte teams of the late 90s. Dalil Benyahia scored for Bromma. Despite the win, Örgryte remained in last place and remains set for relegation.
GAIS 1, Djurgården 1
GÖTEBORG – Former Djurgården prospect Richard Spong may have sealed his old team’s fate when he scored his first goal of the year to help his new team, GAIS, claim a point in a 1-1 draw with Djurgården. Spong scored in the 16th minute. Daniel Sjölund equalized for DIF five minutes later. The one point left Djurgården mired in the relegation zone.
Malmö 0, Helsingborg 0
MALMÖ – Helsingborg dropped out of the top four after a scoreless draw with Malmö at the Swedbank Arena. Helsingborg is now in fifth place, five points behind first-place AIK. Malmö fell to ninth place.