Esbjerg’s 2-1 victory over Standard Liege in the Europa League was marred by fan trouble after the police were forced to detain 130 unruly Belgian fans before the match even started.
Hundreds of Standard Liege fans had made the trip to western Jutland to support their team, but when a large group of them began antagonising Esbjerg fans looking for a fight, the police stepped in to try separate them, and then escort them to the stadium.
But on the way to the Blue Water Arena, the fans charged the police, bombarding them with firecrackers, bottles and metal objects. The police duly detained them and transported them to Esbjerg Police Station for the duration of the match.
First goal since September
Meanwhile, on the pitch, Esbjerg continued where they left off in their spectacular Europa League campaign, winning 2-1 thanks to a brace from Dutch forward Mick van Buren.
The Belgians started the better side, but van Buren capitalised on a deflected shot to prod home the opener – his first goal for Esbjerg since September 19.
Igor de Camargo equalised for Standard Liege early in the second half, but van Buren grabbed the spoils for Esbjerg with 11 minutes left after elegantly chipping the Belgian keeper.
Esbjerg finally has a striker
Esbjerg coach Niels Frederiksen was delighted with the win, even more so because it signalled the end of van Buren’s long-standing goal drought.
“I suddenly have a striker who is scoring goals again. It’s typical for strikers who don’t score to drop a little bit,” Frederiksen told Herning Folkeblad newspaper. “Fortunately, Mick scored two, and I had hoped that Mushaga Bakenga also would have scored. He didn’t, but he still played a good match.”
The win keeps already-qualified Esbjerg in second place in Europa League Group C with 12 points, three points behind the Austrian leaders Salzburg, who beat Swedish outfit Elfsborg 1-0 away. Standard Liege and Elfsborg sit rooted to the bottom of the table with just a single point each.