THU: 25º/14º FRI: 23º/16º
Superliga has a brand new champion
Despite FC Copenhagen beating Silkeborg 2-1 last night, a nervy 3-0 win over Horsens secured the Superliga crown for debut winners FC Nordsjælland.
The history books will show FCN won by three goals, but it wasn't all plain sailing, and it wasn't until the last ten minutes that they could relax and start to believe.
Indeed, for 27 minutes FCK were champions. But then the Tigers roared. In the last minute of first-half stoppage time, Mikkel Beckmann popped up to settle a nervy FCN side and send them on their way to the title.
Horsens missed a one-on-one in the second half before Andreas Laudrup sealed the deal with ten minutes left. Laudrup raced onto a defence-splitting pass and sublimely finished a goal that his legendary father Michael, who was watching from the stands, would have been proud of.
A few minutes later young Andreas Bjelland scored the third goal, completing a brilliant week for the Twente-bound defender, who was last week picked by Morten Olsen to represent Denmark in the Euro 2012 this summer. Minutes later FCN were champions.
“A Hollywood script couldn’t have been written better,” FCN captain Nicolai Stockholm told MetroXpress newspaper. “The way we had trailed all season, and then end up winning it at our own packed stadium, is absolutely massive!”
Before Beckmann’s opener in Farum, Mostafa Abdellaoue had put FCK ahead after 18 minutes at Parken. The Superliga's top scorer Dame N’Doye then took his season tally to 18 on the hour before Silkeborg pulled one back seven minutes later through Marvin Pourie.
But the win for FCK was in vain, and as FCN captain Nicolai Stockholm hoisted the Superliga trophy to the skies a few kilometres north, the FCK players were left to wonder how they had managed to squander a six-point lead with five games to go.
And the ramifications for FCK are even more distraught. Instead of becoming the first Danish team to automatically qualify for the Champions League next season, they will face a difficult qualification process, which will probably require them to beat a perennial group stage participant.
“We were not good enough to handle the situation. We lost the plot while FCN kept collecting points,” FCK coach Carsten V Jensen told MetroXpress newspaper. “It just feels terrible to lose it [Champions League spot], and I don’t really care which team got it.”
For FCN though, it could well prove to be the boost the club needs to rise to the next level. Although defensive prodigy Bjelland has already been sold to Dutch club FC Twente, the financial windfall and high-profile exposure that comes from participation in the CL group stages provides an opportunity for FCN to attract better calibre sponsors and players.
Many will predict they are headed for six games of misery in the Champions League, citing the example of Herfølge, the last surprise Superliga winners from 2000, who were soundly spanked in the qualifying rounds (0-6 by Rangers) and eventually ended up merging in 2009 with Køge BK to form HB Køge.
Things could be worse for FCN though, like having to downgrade their expected earnings by 150 million kroner. That’s what FCK did today. But at least they won the cup.
With the gold going to FCN and silver to FCK, FC Midtjylland capitalised on Horsens' defeat to take third place. Nevertheless, both FCM and Horsens will be playing in the Europa League next season.
HB Køge and Lyngby were relegated, while Esbjerg and most likely Randers will be promoted from the Bestsafe First Division.