If Malmö’s Opening Day match is any indicator, the 2013 champions could already be on course to retain the title in 2014.
Malmö made short of work of Falkenberg, beating the newcomers 3-0 on March 30 in front of more than 19,000 at Swedbank Arena. The game marked Henrik Larsson’s debut as an Allsvenskan manager. Larsson was actually upbeat after the loss.
“Whether we lose 1-0 or 3-0 doesn’t matter,” he said. “The boys fought hard and played well against the champions.”
At first Malmö looked like the newcomers as it lacked cohesiveness, especially in the midfield. When the first half ended 0-0, new head coach Åge Hareide was quick to make a switch in his team, putting in youngster Simon Thern for Erik Johansson. The change was electric.
“We were definitely a bit sluggish in the first half,” said MFF striker Magnus Eriksson. “We were playing way too direct. In the second half we worked the ball more and played a lot more passes.”
Thern quickly made his presence felt as he took over the central midfield role, allowing striker Markus Rosenberg to move forward to partner with Magnus Eriksson. Rosenberg set up his strike partner for Malmö’s first goal. Rosenberg took a long-range shot that Falkenberg goalkeeper Otto Martler could not handle, giving up a rebound that Magnus Eriksson slammed into the net.
Malmö upped it lead to 2-0 in the 85th minute when Rosenberg spotted Thern and floated a pass to the 21 year old. Thern deftly chipped the ball over Martler for the goal. Thern scored his second of the match five minutes later off a pass from Emil Forsberg.
“We kept working and working and it all paid off,” said Magnus Eriksson. “This was a war from the first second and we kept fighting. It is a good way to start the season.”
While Malmö celebrated its victory, it joined the rest of Swedish football in mourning the death of a Djurgården fan following a melee prior to the Helsingborg match. The violence continued into Olympia Stadium and when a group of DIF fans invaded the pitch, officials abandoned the match.
Helsingborg police continue to investigate the death of the fan, a 43-year-old man from Stockholm.

Round 1 Results
Malmö 3, Falkenberg 0
MALMÖ – Simon Thern scored a pair of goals to lead Malmö to a 3-0 win over Falkenberg at Swedbank Stadium. Thern came on at the start of the second half after the first 45 minutes ended scoreless. Magnus Eriksson broke open the goalless match when he tallied in the 74th minute. Thern then took over, scoring in the 85th and 90th minutes. Markus Rosenberg had a pair of assists.


BK Häcken 2, IFK Norrköping 0
GÖTEBORG – Häcken opened the 2014 season with a 2-0 win over IFK Norrköping at Gamla Ullevi Stadium. Martin Ericsson put BKH in front after 48 minutes. Mostapha El Kabir doubled the lead six minutes later.

IFK Göteborg 2, AIK 0
SOLNA – IFK Göteborg spoiled AIK’s home opener, knocking off the Gnaget 2-0 at Friends Arena. Lasse Vibe staked Göteborg to a 1-0 lead after 14 minutes. AIK went down a man in the 57th minute when Pär Karlsson received a red card for a flagrant foul on Vibe. Malick Mane took advantage of the open space to score his first career Allsvenskan goal four minutes from time. A crowd of 30,650 turned out for the match.

Kalmar 2, Brommapojkarna 1
BROMMA – Måns Söderqvist scored twice to lead Kalmar to a 2-1 win over Brommapojkarna at Grimsta IP. Söderqvist scored early in each half to put the visitors up from 2-0. Gabriel Petrovic pulled a goal back in the 55th minute, but after Jacob Larsson picked up his second yellow card and was sent off in the 68th minute, Bromma was unable to find the equalizer.

Örebro 2, Halmstad 1
HALMSTAD – Örebro celebrated its return to the Allsvenskan with a 2-1 win over Halmstad at Örjans Vall. Kristinn Steindorsson gave Halmstad a short-lived 1-0 lead when he tallied in first half injury time. Shptemi Hasani tied the match, also in stoppage time. Mohammed Khalid Saeid scored the match winner in the 81st minute.

Åtvidaberg 2, Elfsborg 1
ÅTVIDABERG – Elfsborg suffered a mild upset in its season opener, dropping a 2-1 decision to Åtivdaberg at Kopparvallen. Ricardo Santos put ÅFF in front after 19 minutes. Mohammed Abukari made the score 2-0 in the 66th minute. Per Frick scored a late goal for Elfsborg.

Mjällby 2, Gefle 2
SÖLVESBORG – Mjällby rallied from a two-goal deficit to draw level with Gefle at Strandvallen. Jonas Lantto and Dioh William put Gefle in front after 23 minutes. Mattias Håkansson scored in the 29th minute and Andreas Blomqvist hit the equalizer in the 43rd minute for Mjällby.