Bottom of the table providing sparks in Allsvenskan race.
by Chipp Reid

The race for first place in the 2010 Allsvenskan is nothing compared to the battle against relegation. Helsingborg and Malmö continue to lead the pack after Round 18, although Malmö inched a little closer to the top after beating third-place Örebro 3-0 while Helsingborg settled for a tense 3-3 draw against Djurgården.
HIF is 10 points clear of Örebro and the battle for first place is more and more looking like a drag race between Helsingborg and Malmö.


The bottom of the table, however, is apparently where the all the action is going to be. Aside from last-place Åtvidaberg, which has just 13 points, only seven points separate second-from-last AIK from fifth-place Mjällby.
AIK, thanks to a win over Brommapojkarna, has 19 points and is showing signs of life after a horrific first half. The Gnaget trail Gefle in goal difference by one goal for the playoff spot and are just one point behind both Djurgården and Halmstad. Mjällby, in the No. 5 spot in the standings, has 26 points, just a couple of wins away from the relegation zone.
“There are still a lot of games left and really, everyone has something to play for,” said AIK general manager Jens Andersson. “Nothing has been decided yet.”

Mjällby, which moved into the Allsvenskan this season, remains something of a surprise as it continues to hover near the top four. The distance, however, between those top four teams and the rest of the pack is growing. Fourth-place Elfsborg, 3-1 winners over Halmstad, have 30 points, a full four-wins behind Helsingborg but also four-wins ahead of AIK. That translates to 11 of 16 teams battling to avoid the two of the last three spots in the standings.
“Every point is important now,” said Trelleborg manager Tom Prahl. “Every team has improved somewhat. They are either playing better like we are or have brought in some new players to make them better. The second half of the season will be very interesting.”
Trelleborg rode a three-game winning streak to climb out of the cellar and move into 11th place. A loss to Kalmar, four points ahead of Trelleborg, stopped the progression of Prahl’s side up the ladder but also tightened the battle to avoid relegation.
BK Häcken, GAIS, IFK Göteborg and Brommapojkarna hold the center of the table, with just two points separating the teams. Göteborg and GAIS, with 24 points, are just four points ahead of Halmstad, which is one point ahead of Gefle in the playoff relegation spot.

Malmö 3, Örebro 0
ÖREBRO – Malmö moved within three points of first place after beating Örebro 3-0 Aug. 7 at Behrn Arena. Jiloan Hamad and Agon Mehmeti scored in a two-minute span early in the first half as Malmö held sway from the start. Daniel Larsson scored from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute after Nordin Gerzic swatted the ball down with his hand inside the ÖSK penalty area. Gerzic received a red card for the offense.

IFK Göteborg 5, BK Häcken 1
GÖTEBORG – Stefan Selakovic scored three times to lead Göteborg to a 5-1 win over Häcken in a derby match Aug. 8 at Rambergsvallen. Jonas Henricksson gave Häcken the lead after just four minutes, but Selakovic tied the game seven minutes later. Hannes Stiller put Göteborg in front with a goal at the 32-minute mark Göteborg took over in the second half as Elmar Bjarnsson made it 3-0 in the 58th minute before Selakovic completed his hat trick with goals in the 64th and 87th minutes.

Elfsborg 3, Halmstad 1
HALMSTAD – Denni Avdic scored twice to lead Elfsborg to a 3-1 win over Halmstad. The two goals gave the Elfsborg striker a league-best 15 goals on the season. Avdic struck four minutes into the match. Stefan Ishizaki made it 2-0 at the 8-minute mark. Avdic struck again just before the half. Emir Kujovic pulled a goal back for Halmstad in the 81st minute.

Kalmar 2, Trelleborg 1
KALMAR – A pair of late goals propelled Kalmar to a 2-1 win over Trelleborg Aug. 7 at Fredriksskans. Andreas Drugge gave TFF a 1-0 lead just before the interval and the lead stood up until the 83rd minute when Ricardo Santos equalized. Daniel Mendes scored the game winner as regulation time expired. The loss snapped Trelleborg’s three-game winning streak.

GAIS 3, Mjällby 2
GÖTEBORG – Mervan Celik scored twice to help GAIS claim a 3-2 win over Mjällby Aug. 7 at Gamla Ullevi. Celik scored both his goals in the first half. Markus Ekenberg put Mjällby on the scoreboard in the 49th minute. The goal was his seventh of the season. Björn Andersson scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the 86th minute. Mjällby made the last four minutes interesting as Juan Robledo scored in injury time.

AIK 2, Brommapojkarna 1
SOLNA – Allsvenskan rookie Mohamed Bangura scored his first two professional goals in Sweden to lead AIK to a much-needed 2-1 win over Brommapojkarna Aug. 8 at Rasunda Stadion. Bangura, a Sierra Leone international tallied in the fourth and 90th minute. Pablo Pinones Arce scored for Bromma. Despite the win, AIK remained in second-to-last place in the standings.

Gefle 4, Åtvidaberg 2
GÄVLE – Six different players found the net as Gefle held off Åtvidaberg for a 4-2 win Aug. 8 at Strömvallen. Jonas Lantto and Lakob Orlov staked Gefle to a 2-0 lead. Amir Suljic pulled a goal back for ÅFF in the 75th minute but five minutes later Hjalmar Ohagen restored Gefle’s two-goal lead. Oscar Möller again pulled ÅFF within a goal when he scored in the 82nd minute but Dragan Kapcevic put the game beyond reach when he scored at the 87-minute mark for Gefle.

Helsingborg 3, Djurgården 3
HELSINGBORG – Alexander Gerndt made his latest big to crack the starting lineup as he scored three times to help Helsingborg claim a point in a wild 3-3 shootout Aug. 6 with Djurgården at Olympia Stadium. The 24-year-old Gerndt erased a 1-0 deficit with a pair of goals in a three-minute span at the start of the second half. Mattias Jonsson and Sharbel Touma put DIF back on top when they scored in the 65th and 70th minute. Gerndt hit the equalizer as time ran out.