Nothing attracts criticism like success, unless it’s unrealized success and Helsingborg striker Alexander Gerndt has seen enough of both in the past month to create a mountain of headlines.
The teen star made headlines – positive headlines – when he became the youngest player on the Swedish national team and scored a goal in an European Championship qualifier. He made just as many negative headlines, however, when his club team manager, Conny Karlsson, questioned the teen’s commitment to the club as offers poured in for his services from larger European teams. The low point came in the run up to HIF’s match with Trelleborg. Several dailies carried quotes from an unnamed Norrköping player that derided the youngster as being more hype than substance.
Gerndt was barely a presence on the pitch June 19 when Helsingborg played to a disappointing scoreless draw with the Peking team. The unnamed Norrköping player said he saw nothing “overly special” about Gerndt and that he would not swap any of his teammates for the teen star.
Karlsson, in his widely published chiding of the 19-year-old striker, openly questioned just where Gerndt had his focus. “He seems as though his body is in Sweden but his mind is somewhere else,” Karlsson said.
Gerndt took all of the criticism in stride and on June 23 fired back the best way he knows – on the field. The teen scored twice and had two assists as he led Helsingborg to a 7-3 win over Trelleborg. His performance left his teammates in awe.
“People will always talk, but I just think that Alexander gets better the more people speak and write about him,” said HIF midfielder May Mahlangu. “All players go through tough periods. All you can do is focus on your game and work hard and Alexander has done that. I think he showed what he can do.”
Helsingborg remained in first place with the victory and opened a five-point lead over second-place Elfsborg, which played to a draw with Göteborg. Kalmar inched closer to the top with a win while Örebro dropped out of the top four following a 2-1 home loss to Djurgården. For DIF, it was the team’s third-straight victory as the Stockholm club continued to show improvement under new manager Magnus Pehrsson.

Helsingborg 7, Trelleborg 3
HELSINGBORG –Alexander Gerndt, Rasmus Jönsson and Erik Sundin had two goals apiece as Helsingborg kicked around a shorthanded Trelleborg 7-3 June 23 at Olympia Stadium. Jönsson and May Mahlangu put HIF up 2-1 after Magnus Andersson gave Trelleborg the lead in the 12th minute. Marcus Pode made the score 2-2 at the 24-miunute mark, but then the sky fell in on TFF. Gerndt scored twice in a three-minute span to put HIF up 4-2 before Trelleborg defender Thommie Persson earned an automatic red card for a tackle from behind on Gerndt. Jönsson scored his second goal of the game seven minutes into the second half off a pass from Gerndt. Andersson scored his second goal of the game for Trelleborg in the 69th minute, but then Sundin took advantage of HIF being a man up to score twice in the final eight minutes of the match.

Kalmar 2, GAIS 1
KALMAR – Paulus Arajuuri scored twice to lead Kalmar to a 2-1 win over GAIS June 23 at Guldfågeln Arena. The Finn opened his book eight minutes into the match. Mervan Celik tied the game in the 50th minute. Arajuuri hit the game winner in the 89th minute.

Djurgården 2, Örebro 1
ÖREBRO – Djurgården won its third-straight game as it beat Örebro 2-1 June 23 at Behrn Arena. Paulo de Oliveira gave Örebro a lead after 28 minutes but Joona Marko Aleksi Toivio tied the score six minutes later. Kasper Woldemar Hämäläinen scored the game winner six minutes into the second half. It was the second-straight match in which the young Finnish players scored for DIF.

BK Häcken 3, Halmstad 1
GÖTEBORG – League-leading scorer Matthias Ranegie scored his 12th goal of the season and had two assists to help Häcken claim a 3-1 over Halmstad June 20 at Rambergsvallen. Kujtim Bala gave the visitors the lead after 34 minutes only to see Josef Elvby equalize three minutes later. Dioh Williams put Häcken in front in the 72nd minute off a Ranegie pass and returned the favor two minutes later as Ranegie tallied to make the score 3-1.

AIK 3, Norrköping 0
SOLNA - AIK won for the third time in a row as it beat IFK Norrköping 3-0 June 20 at Råsunda Stadium. The two Banguras – Ibrahim and Mohamed – again accounted for all the scoring as Ibrahim scored twice and Mohamed once. Ibrahim Bangura, who is not related to Mohamed, has eight goals this season while Mohamed has four.

Syrianska 3, Mjällby 1
SÖDERTALJE – Peter Ijeh scored the game-winning goal as Syrianska beat Mjällby 1-0 June 23 at Södertalje Football Arena. David Löfquist put MAIK in front after seven minutes. Imad Zatara tied the game just before the half. Ijeh fired Syrianska in front in the 60th minute. Erkan Saglik made the score 3-1 three minutes before the final whistle.

Göteborg 1, Elfsborg 1
GÖTEBORG – Hannes Stiller picked the right time for his first goal of the season as his late tally lifted IFK Göteborg to a 1-1 draw with Elfsborg June 22 at Gamla Ullevi Stadium. Amadou Jawo put Elfsborg in front after 29 minutes. Stiller tied the match at the 70-minute mark.

Malmö 0, Gefle 0
MALMÖ – Gefle goalkeeper Mattias Hugosson ran his stutout streak to 559 consecutive minutes as he blanked defending champions Malmö in a scoreless draw June 22 at Swedbank Arena. Hugosson is now less than 270 minutes from eclipsing the all-time consecutive shutout minutes record Mattias Asper set in 1999.