The new year started in the best possible way with three points against Denmark on a pitch which was far from what a football pitch should be. The game ended with a tight 2-1 after a winning goal by Erik E.
Kraainem, Thursday 12th January, 2017:
The fall was though for Sweden FC; merely one win in ten league games was far from the ambition at the start of the season. But a new year offered new opportunities, with the first one being Denmark at the infamous pitch of Kraainem. When arriving to the facilities it first looked very promising as the terrible grass pitch from previous years had been replaced by a good artificial pitch (football should be played on real grass, but there are limits). However, the promising conditions were soon changed since it became clear that the game was not gonna be played on the artificial pitch but at the remaining grass pitch of Kraaniem which was in a very, very poor conditions. And the ongoing rain did not help. Nevertheless, the game had to be played despite the pitch looking like a muddy paddock.
Sweden FC started the game well by putting pressure on the Danish team which not surprisingly had problems controlling the ball and getting it up front. Some semi-chances were created but the conditions made it difficult to finish off the attacks. After about 10-15 minutes the Danes started to make the their first offensive tries by making good runs behind the Swedish defense line which had some problems in deciding in when to fall back or go forward. The game went back-and-forth as long balls was the best (and only) way to get the the ball into the attack. One long ball ended up on the Swedish left wing where Rasmus after some scrimmage got the ball under control and managed to get a shoot. And what a shoot! The ball went in a perfect way over the Danish keeper and into the back of the net: 1-0.
After the goal Denmark took more and more initiative but without getting a goal. Luck, good defending by Arvid, Jimmy and Alex and the bad condition of the pitch made it look like Sweden FC was gonna go to halftime with the lead. But then it happened, the Danish midfield was left without pressure and managed to put a great ball over the Swedish defense who did not fall back. The Danish striker ended up one-on-one with Arvid and made no mistake. And with only one minute left of the first half it was equalized: 1-1.
The feeling was a bit sour during halftime due to the late equalizer but 35 minutes still remained and it was just to fight as hard as possible in order to get the three points. Due to the weather and pitch condition it was the type of game where it would feel absolutely terrific to win but the total opposite to lose.
If the first half from time to time was a bit of a parody then the second half became even more like one. Basically the game was about kicking the ball forward and hope for the best. Running with the ball was almost impossible. The Danes were slightly better at this type of playing and came fairly close at scoring but most of the time the ball stopped in the big puddle that was in front of the Swedish goal. The puddle also made it difficult for Arvid in goal but he managed well. Sweden FC did not have the ball as much as in the first half but still managed to create some chances but as with the Danes it was difficult to get really close.
But then with 9 minutes left Sweden FC got at free-kick far down on the right wing. Martin took it and made a perfect delivery to Erik E who won the challenge and headed in 2-1. After the goal it was just one thing to do for the Swedish team: defend the lead. And that was what was done. In the last 9 minutes plus additional time the Danes came with all they had but all they managed to create were goal-kicks for Sweden. It was around 10 Swedish goal-kicks in the last 9 minutes of the came and after each one it was mud+wrestling for the ball which the Danes were successful in but not enough to be able to get real close to score. A header towards own goal by Markus which went just above the crossbar and a good shooting opportunity from the area around the penalty spot where the best chances but the score remained. 2-1 to Sweden FC and three very nice points to bring home.
At the moment Sweden FC is on the 14th place in the league. With only two points from the 11th place a place in the top-12 is still a very realistic target. Next game will be played already this Sunday (January 15th) against Estonia. Hopefully three more points will be taken then.
Man of the match was Arvid for his solid goalkeeping and for keeping his cool despite the extreme circumstances.
Sweden FC (4-4-2): Arvid – Jimmy, Andreas, Markus, Alex – Björn, Martin, Erik E, Ingrid – Daniel, Rasmus. Khaled, Yuri.
Goal(s): Rasmus, Erik E
Yellow card(s): –
Written by: Markus Hjort, 2017-01-13