The Superettan came down to goal difference and it was Syrianska that came out top on the final day of the season. (The goal-difference margin of victory in the Superettan mirrors the current standings in the Allsvenskan.)
by Chipp Reid
Maybe it’s a forecast of the future.
The 2010 Superettan came down to goal difference with Syrianska topping Norrköping by one goal to win the junior title in Swedish football. Fans from Södertälje to Sadr City in Baghdad celebrated the first-ever league title for Syrianska as well as its first-ever trip to the Allsvenskan.
The club, formed in 1977, is the unofficial national team of the Aranean or Syriac peoples from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Syrianska, along with Assyriska, has a strong following among Iraqis, thanks to the Internet and a large ex-patriot Iraqi community in Sweden.
Syrianska went into the final day of the season Oct. 23, trailing Norrköping by two points. The Norrköping team Peking played third-place GIF Sundsvall while Syrianska took on last-place Väsby United. Syrianska took advantage of its easier tie – and the rejuvenated form of again superstar Peter Ijeh – to claim a 3-0 win. Sundsvall, meanwhile, battled Norrköping to a standstill. Only a late goal saved Norrköping from suffering a loss as Peking and Sundsvall drew 1-1.
The combined results left the two teams even on points with 56 but the three goals Syrianska scored gave it one more goal than Norrköping. That goal gave Syrianska the Superettan crown.
'This is fantastic' “This is fantastic! This is fantastic! This is fantastic,” shouted Syrianska trainer Özcan Melkemiche. “We have a very good team, a very strong troop. It’s great that we’re moving up and it’s a great day to be Syriac.”
Ijeh made the celebration as he scored twice in the first half to stake Syrianska to a 2-0 lead. Ijeh, a former Nigerian international player, led the Allsvenskan in scoring in 2002 and also played for Göteborg before moving to FC Copenhagen, Viking Stavanger in Norway. He signed with Syrianska at the start the season after deciding Norwegian weather didn’t agree with him.
The two goals gave Ijeh 17 this season, the second-best total in the Superettan.
Yussuf Saleh notched the third goal for Syrianska, which gave it the crown.
While Syrianska was having its way with Väsby, Sundsvall was handing Norrköping all it could handle. Fredrik Holster put Sundsvall in front after 15 minutes and the lead held for an hour. Christoffer Nyman finally tied the match at the 75-minute mark but the one goal wasn’t enough for Norrköping the hold onto the top spot.
Peking already booked its promotion to the Allsvenskan with a victory Oct. 16.
Sundsvall finished third and plays the third-from-last team in the Allsvenskan.
Väsby and FC Trollhättan finished in the bottom two places and are to return to Division One. Jönköpings Södra IF and Östers IF finished in the relegation spots. Former Allsvenskan clubs Landskrona, Hammarby and Örgryte all finished in the middle of the standings.
Another tiebreaker in Allsvenskan The goal-difference margin of victory in the Superettan mirrors the current standings in the Allsvenskan. Malmö and Helsingborg went into Round 27 level on points for the top spot, although Malmö has an eight-goal edge in the tiebreaker.
Syrianska head coach Özcan Melkemichel celebrates with his players Oct. 23 after the Södertälje club won the Superettan. Bildbyrån photo