The hunt for the Lennart Johansson trophy is more a dead heat as Malmö and Helsingborg are again level on points for first place.
By Chipp Reid
After struggling with relegation for much of the season, former champions Djurgården are suddenly playing kingmakers in the hunt for the 2010 Allsvenskan crown.
DIF knocked off league leaders Malmö FF 1-0 Sept. 20 at Stockholm Stadium, handing Helsingborg a golden opportunity to once more move into a tie for first place. HIF didn’t squander the opportunity as it beat Mjällby 2-1 at Olympia Stadium to pull level in points at 52 with Malmö.
“We simply played better than Malmö did,” said DIF star Mattias Jonson, who set up the lone goal of the match. “We all saw just how well Malmö could play (in the Sept. 15 win over Helsingborg). We came into the game thinking we would be happy with just a point, but we got all three because we were the better team.”
Jonson set up Kennedy Igboananike in the 24th minute as DIF grabbed its lead then rode the defense of goalkeeper Dembo Tourray to the victory.
“He scored a great goal for us,” Jonson said. “He’s a very fast player who can get in deep behind opposing defenses.”
The win was the fourth point DIF earned off the league leaders in the second half. Djurgården rallied for a dramatic 3-3 draw with Helsingborg on Aug. 5, a result that opened the door for Malmo to move within striking range of first place.
DIF has been one of the hottest teams in the second half as the former champions have moved from last place into sixth in the standings. Djurgården is only four points behind Eflsborg for the fourth and final spot in European play.
“We started the season pretty hesitant and had to get used to many new players,” Jonson said. “We started the second half of the season with a pretty low goal. We just wanted to avoid relegation and the playoff spot. We’ve done that and now we are showing that we are on track and that we can play on the highest level.”
Although level on points, Malmö holds first place with a better goal difference. Örebro remains in third place with 42 points, 10 behind the leaders. Elfsborg is fourth with 39 points while IFK Göteborg and DIF are level with 35 points but Göteborg holds the fifth spot with a better goal difference.
Helsingborg 2, Mjällby 1 HELSINGBORG – It appears the Allsvenskan can’t stop Alexander Gerndt and can only hope to contain him. Not even that worked for Mjällby as Gerndt scored twice to lead HIF to a 2-1 win Sept. 20 at Olympia Stadium. Gerndt scored in the first half as he ran his goals tally for the year to 17. Patrik Rosengren scored a 90th-minute goal for Mjällby.
Djurgården 1, Malmö 0 STOCKHOLM – Djurgården grounded high-flying Malmö Sept. 20 with a 1-0 win over the league leaders at Stockholm Stadium. Kennedy Igboananike scored the lone goal of the match in the 24th minute off a pass from Mattias Jonson. Malmö dropped into a tie on points with Helsingborg for first place while DIF moved within four points of a European spot with the win.
Göteborg 3, Åtvidaberg 0 GÖTEBORG – Tobias Hysén had a goal and as assist to lead IFK Göteborg to a 3-0 win over Åtvidaberg Sept. 19 at Gamla Ullevi Stadium. Hysén set up Jakob Johansson in the 61st minute. Elmar Bjarnason made it 2-0 one minute later. Hysén tallied at the 86-minute mark.
AIK 1, Häcken 0 GÖTEBORG – AIK scored a crucial win to pull away from the relegation zone, beating Häcken 1-0 Sept. 18 at Rambergsvallen. Viktor Lundberg connected on a pass from Kenny Pavey to score the lone goal of the match at the 62-minute mark.
Kalmar 3, GAIS 1 KALMAR - Abiola Dauda scored twice and had an assist as Kalmar beat Gais 3-1 Sept. 18 at Fredriksskans. Dauda struck in the 6th and 70th minutes before setting up Erik Israelsson at the 76-minute mark. Mervan Celik had a last-second goal for GAIS.
Gefle 2, Brommapojkarna 0 GAVLE – Gefle claimed bragging rights in a battle of basement sides, beating Brommapojkarna 2-0 Sept. 19 at Strömvallen. Hans Berggren and Jonas Lantto collected the goals for Gefle.
Halmstad 1, Örebro 1 HALMSTAD – HBK and ÖSK traded goals and red cards as they played to a 1-1 draw Sept. 19 at Örjans vall. Per Johansson have Örebro a 1-0 at the 37 minute mark before Marcus Olsson tied the game just before the interval. Halmstad defender Tomas Zvirgzdauskas received a red card in the 86th minute. ÖSK defender Samuel Wowoah got his marching orders just before full time.
Trelleborg 1, Elfsborg 1 TRELLEBORG – Denni Avdic scored his league-leading 18th goal of the season to give Elfsborg a 1-1 draw Sept. 19 with Trelleborg at Vångavallen. Kristian Haynes fired TFF one minute into the second half. Avdic tied the game at the 67-minute mark.
Kennedy Igboananike celebrates after scoring the lone goal for Djurgården in its 1-0 win over Malmö. Bildbyrån photo