The 2012 Allsvenskan championship came down to the final day and it was Elfsborg that eked out the title at the final whistle.
The 2012 champions went into last day of the season holding a two-point lead over Malmö FF, which just three days earlier sat in first place. Malmö, however, could only muster a 1-1 draw with Örebro Nov. 1 while Elfsborg pulled out a 3-2 win over Mjällby the same day, setting the stage for the final day of the season.
Every team was in action simultaneously on Nov. 4, and Elfsborg certainly had the easier time, taking on Åtvidaberg while Malmö had to travel to Solna to face AIK in the final Allsvenskan match at Rasunda Stadium. On both teams, players spent nearly as much time watching the scoreboard as they did their opponents.
“We knew AIK was winning,” said Elfsborg midfielder Oscar Hiljemark. “Right after (Åtvidaberg) made (our game) 1-1, AIK was winning 2-0 and we knew all we had to do was not lose.”
Elfsborg finished with 59 points while Malmö slid to third place after remaining on 56 points. BK Häcken completed its best season in the Allsvenskan with a win over Sundsvall to finished in second place. AIK ended the year in fourth place.
“Congratulations to Elfsborg for its win, Häcken for an excellent season and AIK for its 2-0 win,” said Malmö manager Rikard Norling. “We did our best this season but came up short.”
Elfsborg took the lead in its gold-medal match when Stefan Ishizaki scored on a free kick in the 30th minute. The 16,156 fans at Borås were still celebrating the goal three minutes later when the scoreboard flashed the news from Råsunda that Mohammed Bangura had put AIK on top. The news brought a raucous cheer from the stands.
AIK moved Elfsborg closer to the title slightly less than a hour later. Viktor Lundberg gave AIK a 2-0 lead in its match with Malmö in the 62nd minute and even when Victor Prodell scored in the 76th minute to equalize for Åtvidaberg, Elfsborg knew the championship was in its hands.
“We had a little talk when they made it 1-1,” Hiljemark said. “We knew AIK was winning 2-0 so we decided to just play for the tie. We didn’t want to open the game for them and we kept control of things for the last minutes.”
BK Häcken finished its best-ever Allsvenskan season with a 2-1 win over Sundsvall to finish in second place. Waris Majeed scored his league-best 23rd goal of the season to put Häcken in front after 48 minutes. Fredrik Holster tied the game for Sundsvall at the 69-minute mark. Tom Soderberg headed home the silver-medal winning goal for Häcken seven minutes from.
Despite its win, Häcken had no shot at taking its first-ever title after it dropped four points back in the race in Round 28.
For Elfsborg, the gold medal clinching result with Åtvidaberg was exactly how the season was supposed to end—with the Lennart Johansson trophy returning to Borås for the first time since 2006.
“We like to be on top and we have been on top in 23 of 30 innings. So I think we are damn worthy champions," said Elfsborg head coach Jörgen Lennartsson. “I am very proud that we lived up to everything, all the expectations we had built up in the spring. When there was a little downturn in the autumn, we took it in a good way and drove on. It is the hallmark of winners: how to handle adversity.”
Örebro and GAIS drop down to the Superettan next season. Östers and Brommapojkarna return to the Allsvenskan as the top two teams in the Superettan. Sundsvall faces Halmstad in the relegation/promotion playoff.
by Chipp Reid