Helsingborg and Hammarby square off Nov. 13 at Söderstadion in the final of the 2010 Swedish Cup.
Helsingborg gave itself the chance to double its pleasure as it moved into the final of the 2010 Swedish Cup with a 2-0 win over Mjällby Oct. 28 at Olympia Stadium in Helsingborg.
HIF is currently tied on points for first place with Malmö but trails the Skåne side in the goal-difference tie-breaker.
After battling to a scoreless in the first half, Helsingborg slowly took over the match. Rachid Bouaouzan, a 20-year-old from Holland, made his first-team debut for Helsingborg in the second half and the Dutchman made the most of his opportunity. Bouaouzan set up Erik Sundin for a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute and later fed Marcus Holgersson for a 2-0 lead with slightly more than a minute left to play.
Mjällby had its chances as Daniel Nilsson forced a reflex save from HIF net minder Pär Hansson in the opening minute of the second half, but that was as close as the visitors got to the goal.
“We knew we pretty had control of the entire match,” Sundin said. “We knew that once we got the lead, we could press them even more.”
The match was somewhat snippy as MAIF goalkeeper Mattias Asper and Helsingborg striker Ardian Gashi nearly came to blows after Gashi went in hard for a loose ball. Players from both sides and the referee had to separate the two. Asper received a yellow card after he appeared to push Gardan to the pitch.
Helsingborg victory could be a blessing The victory could be a blessing in disguise for Mjällby, which sits in fifth place in the Allsvenskan. If Helsingborg wins the Cup, it automatically receives a spot in the UEFA Europa League next year. In addition, should Helsingborg finish second in the standings, the Europa League spot that would go to the second-place team would actually slide down to Mjällby.
Helsingborg faces Hammarby Nov. 13 in the final of the Swedish Cup. Hammaby knocked off Kalmar Oct. 27 in a penalty-kick shootout 6-5.
Hammarby built a 2-0 in the first half behind goals from Marcus Törnstrand and Sebastian Castro-Tello. Kalmar tied the game in the second half on goals from Daniel Sobralense and Erik Israelsson, with the equalizer coming with just seconds remaining in regulation time.
After a scoreless overtime, the two teams went to penalties. In the shootout, Hammarby went up 2-0 on goals from Törnstrand and Castro-Tello. Kalmar crawled its way back, with Marcel Sacramento and Sobralense scoring. After a Hammarby miss, Stefan Alander scored to make the shootout 5-5, sending it into sudden death.
Christer Gustafsson scored on his shot for the Bajen for a 6-5 lead. Paulus Arajuuri missed his try, sending Hammarby to the final.
by Chipp Reid
Marcus Törnstrand scores the first goal of the match for Hammarby in the semifinals of the Swedish Cup Oct. 27 against Kalmar. Bildbyrån photo