Preseason favorites IFK Göteborg knocked BK Häcken in Round 5 of the Allsvenskan to finally claim their first win of the season.
It took five games but IFK Göteborg finally notched its first win of the season.
Stefan Selakovic scored a late penalty to lead IFK Göteborg (1-2-2, 5 pts) to a 2-1 win over BK Häcken 2-1-2, 7 pts) April 23 at Gamla Ullevi Stadium. The victory brought some welcome relief to a Göteborg that has under-performed since the regular season began.
“It’s definitely a weight off our shoulders,” said IFK captain Tobias Hysén. “We haven’t had the results we expected to have so far. We’ve been playing well but we had some bad luck and some bad calls.”
Göteborg entered the season with high expectations after a series of offseason acquisitions gave the squad an all-star-team-like roster. The Swedish media quickly dubbed the star-studded lineup “Real Göteborg,” a reference to the star-studded, multi-million dollar teams Spanish giants Real Madrid fields. Hysen said the comparison wasn’t exactly fair.
“We’re not ones saying it,” he said. “It’s the media and other fans and players. It’s not like we’re going bragging about players. We’re not saying we’re going to win. We have our goals set for being in the top-three and winning the Swedish Cup so we can play in the Europa League.”
The Göteborg team captain, however, acknowledged the fact the Angels did not play as well as they expected in the first month of the season.
“It’s really hard to explain,” he said. “If we hadn’t played so well in the preseason, I would say that we need more time to get together. It was actually surprising how quickly we came together in the preseason with so many new players and a new coach, so I don’t think all the new players is the problem.”
Glimpses of greatness Göteborg showed glimpses of how well it could play in its first five games, dominating play for long stretches, but never seemed able to take the final step to turn its dominance into wins. The longer the drought continued, the louder the critics grew.
“Clearly this is important to us,” said head coach Michael Stahre. “It would have been hard to once again drop points. While we have seen earlier this spring that there is quality in the team, I'm glad we were able to bring everything together this time.”
The fact the first win of the season came in a derby match only made it sweeter for Göteborg, although at first, it was Häcken that looked more like a championship side.
Mattias Östberg needed just five minutes to bring the Rambergsvallen crowd to its feet when he scored off a Martin Ericsson corner kick.
IFK looked somewhat lost after the goal and allowed Häcken to dictate the pace – with Göteborg settling for a long-ball offense that Häcken’s central defense easily contained. The second half, however, was a different story.
“We picked up our pace and played our style of football rather than letting them dictate the game,” Stahre said.
The IFK coach moved Daniel Sobralense up front to partner with Hysén while Tobias Sana dropped in to the midfield. The moves paid off as Pontus Farnerud took control of the midfield and, in the 66th minute, he and Sana combined to pull Göteborg level. Farnerud provided the pass and Sana the finishing.
Göteborg continued to press and in the 85th minute, Farnerud found Hysén inside the Häcken penalty box. The Göteborg captain spun to take a shot only to take a knock from Häcken defender Christopher Källqvist. Referee Jonas Ericsson awarded a penalty and Selakovic easily slotted the ball home.
“It was a 50-50 call,” Hysén said. “Maybe it was a penalty, maybe it wasn’t, but the referee said it was. That’s football. Those are the kind of calls that have been going against us, so it was nice to get one in our favor.”
IFK Göteborg captain Tobias Hysén, outjumps BK Häcken defender Mattias Östberg to win a header during Göteborg's 2-1 win April 23.