Lions win dramatic DBU Cup final in extra time
Brandur Olsen’s extra-time strike handed FC Copenhagen a sixth DBU Cup title on a memorable day in Telia Parken against a valiant FC Vestsjælland.
The 19-year-old School of Excellence product fired home on the turn to edge the Lions to victory after Dennis Sørensen’s late header had forced extra time.
Apostolos Vellios had given the Vikings the lead when he headed in a dangerous free-kick, only for Per Nilsson to level for Copenhagen after the break.
Bjorn Sigurdarson then handed the Lions the initiative with an exquisite lob over goalkeeper Thomas Mikkelsen before Sørensen ensured 30 extra minutes of drama.
The Cup win ensures Copenhagen will compete in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League next season, rather than the first qualifying round attributed to league positioning in the Alka Superliga.
Changes for Copenhagen
Copenhagen, playing in their 10th Cup final, started the brighter inside a sold-out Telia Parken as manager Ståle Solbakken made two defensive changes from the side that beat Vestsjælland 1-0 in the Alka Superliga on Monday afternoon.
Michael Antonsson missed the clash after suffering a groin strain in Slagelse and was replaced by Nilsson, while Tom Høgli started ahead of Christoffer Remmer at right-back.
Ståle went with the same midfield and front two that started on Monday and FCK began brightly as they sought to press FCV in their own half.
But the Vikings offered healthy resistance and it was Rasmus Festersen who got the first sniff of goal when he redirected a skewered Henrik Madsen shot into Stephan Andersen’s hands.
Vikings draw first blood
It is often said a goalkeeper enjoys getting an early feel of the ball but the stopper was helpless on the half-hour mark to prevent Vestsjælland taking the lead through Vellios. The striker timed his run to perfection to meet Festersen’s in-swinging free-kick in front of Andersen and redirect the ball into the net.
In response, a Nicolai Jørgensen free-kick in roughly the same position as Festersen’s missed both Mathias Zanka and Nilsson and instead sailed wide of goal.
In fact, it was at the other end where most of the action played out before the break. First, Festersen steered a header into the side netting, before Marc Dal Hende rocketed a fluffed clearance high into the stands.
The half-time break turned out to be a great reprieve for the Lions, who came out for the second half with a vigour absent in the first.
Lions roar back
And it indeed showed, as Nilsson required just over 90 seconds to head home the equaliser. The centre-half got a run on his man to earn the right to Ludwig Augustinsson’s corner and powerfully nod past goalkeeper Mikkelsen for 1-1.
And before the Copenhagen faithful behind the goal could settle back down the Lions were in front thanks to a wonderful display of awareness from Sigurdarson.
The Icelander saw a gap in the FCV line and charged into it as Daniel Amartey picked up the ball on the right and directed it over the defence to his midfield partner, who delicately lobbed over Mikkelsen and into the net.
Suddenly FCK’s tails were up and on the hour mark only a superb Mikkelsen block prevented Sigurdarson from bagging his second when the 24-year-old latched on to a direct punt up field.
Sigurdarson was having an eventful afternoon. Indeed, only the quick reactions of Zanka on the goal line ensured he didn’t bundle a dangerous corner into his own net and moments later captain Thomas Delaney cleared a Vellios shot away from Andersen’s unguarded whitewash.
Final goes to extra time
Ståle was forced into his first change of the afternoon on 70 minutes when Jørgensen came off injured for Christian Poulsen - a move that stifled play in the centre of the park - before Olsen replaced Rurik Gislason.
And Olsen almost had the dream start to his Cup final when he smashed home a rebound from Delaney’s fumbled header, only for the offside flag to shoot up instantly.
And, to add to the youngster’s frustration, within seconds that sense of victory was snatched away from the FCK faithful as Vestsjælland went up the other end, forced a corner, and struck through Sørensen. The striker was on hand to catch a low cross on the dive and beat Andersen at his unguarded near post with just two minutes left on the clock.
Referee Michael Tykgaard had little incident to officiate for the remainder of the 90 minutes and so the final went to extra time for the first time since 2010.
Sigurdarson, now playing the lone striker role, saw an early headed effort easily collected by Mikkelsen but just 11 minutes later, and seconds before the half time whistle, Olsen popped up with his moment of magic.
The 19-year-old picked the ball up in a central position outside the box, turned with ease and fired left-footed beyond the outstretched goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
A fair proportion of the 24,095 spectators inside Telia Parken went into meltdown as every player in a white shirt clamoured to get a hold of and celebrate with Olsen.
The second half of extra time saw FCV throw men forward in search of another leveller but the Lions still had their chances - especially Amartey when Mikkelsen came a long way out of his goal only to fluff a clearance.
But Ståle’s troops couldn’t find that game-ending goal and instead soaked up pressure from within their own half. Sørensen headed over with two minutes to spare and that was all the Vikings could muster after a gruelling two hours of end-to-end football that finished in favour of Copenhagen.
FC VESTSJÆLLAND: 2 FC COPENHAGEN: 3
FCV: Mikkelsen, Nymann, Kure, Østil, Raitala, Hende, Jonsson, Madsen, Lumb, Vellios, Festersen.
FCK: Andersen, Høgli, Nilsson, Zanka, Augustinsson, Sigurdarson, Amartey, Delaney (c), Gislason, De Ridder, Jørgensen.
Goals: Vellios, FCV (30’), Nilsson (46’), Sigurdarson (54), Sørensen, FCV (88’), Olsen (104’).
Referee: Michael Tykgaard.