09 / 05 2007 23:39
Danish champions again!
A goal from Marcus Allbäck after 33 minutes secured F.C. Copenhagen their fifth title in seven years by winning 1-0 in Brøndby against the team, who normally is their biggest rivals. Brøndby, currently sixth in the table, is suffering from their worst season for many years, and will almost certainly miss the opportunity to play UEFA Cup and Royal League next year.
Only four days after the disappointing defeat against AaB Aalborg in PARKEN, Copenhagen showed great strength and morale by taking advantage of match point no. 2 against a team, who – in spite of their troubles – is the team with the best home-record in the Super League.
As often seen between these two teams it was a battle, which partly took place between the two penalty areas. Copenhagen seemed to have control, but you never know in these games, where it normally is crucial to get the first goal. But in order to score goals you normally have to create chances, and it was Copenhagen who first began to produce serious offensive action after around half an hour.
Hjalte Nørregaard headed just wide, when Jesper Grønkjær found him with a perfect cross from the right, and a few minutes later Grønkjær headed a freekick from Linderoth on the upper side of the cross bar. And after these two warnings, it was third time lucky in the 33rd minute. Lars Jacobsen was brought down in the right side, and Niclas Jensen stepped over and curled the free-kick into the penalty area. Michael Gravgaard outjumped Brøndby-captain Per Nielsen and headed the ball across to Marcus Allbäck, who scored from close range.
Marcus "Mackan" Allbäck is flying - seconds after he got the winner
The courageous Swede had decided to play in spite of a broken nose against Aalborg on Saturday, probably reasoning that it couldn’t get any worse… In stead he could have made it worse for Brøndby a few minutes before half time, when Linderoth found him in the area, but this time he failed to hit the target.
The beginning of the second half saw Copenhagen in full control, while Brøndby still struggled to create anything dangerous. That is, for themselves… as Ailton nearly profited by a misunderstanding between keeper Stephen Andersen and Per Nielsen, but they got away with it, when Andersen managed to punch the ball right in front of the lurking Brazilian.
The level and intensity of the game dropped during the second half until 15 minutes before the end, when referee Claus Bo Larsen showed Tobias Linderoth his second yellow card, when he obstructed Chris Katongo at the middle of the pitch. They had both been warned in the first half, and it should never have come this far, as Katongo earlier in the second half clearly tripped Jesper Grønkjær and consequently should have been granted an early bath.
Now Copenhagen had to end the game with 10 players for the first time this season, but as it turned out Brøndby couldn’t take advantage of the situation. Copenhagen cleverly defended themselves and took every opportunity to slow the action down, which in fact wasn’t the most difficult task of the season. But of course the last minutes were intense and nail-biting, before the referee blew the whistle for the last time and the celebrations could begin with the delighted fans.
Never before has a Danish team won the championship with four rounds to play, and Copenhagen can also set the record for most points in a season. It demands at least 5 points from the remaining four games. And there is also the chance of winning the double on May 17th, when they take on OB Odense in the Cup final in PARKEN!
Jesper Christiansen and his team-mates celebrating in Carlsberg Gold Beer
All photos by Carl Redhead
BRØNDBY IF-F.C. COPENHAGEN 0-1 (0-1)
33.: 0-1 Marcus Allbäck
F.C. Copenhagen: Jesper Christiansen – Lars Jacobsen, Michael Gravgaard, Brede Hangeland, Niclas Jensen – Jesper Grønkjær (90.: Fredrik Berglund), Tobias Linderoth, Hjalte Nørregaard, Atiba Hutchinson – Ailton Almeida (57.: William Kvist), Marcus Allbäck (86.: Dan Thomassen). (Un-used substitutes: Benny Gall)
Bookings: Ailton Almeida, Tobias Linderoth and Marcus Allbäck
Sent-off: Tobias Linderoth (74. min.)
Backward Chain Dance - a tribute to the fans