Lions secure valuable away point

A strong defensive performance from FC Copenhagen in Germany sees them sit second in their Europa League group

FCK gained a valuable point last night in the Europa League after drawing 0-0 with Bundesliga giants Stuttgart in Germany.

The Lions conjured up a solid defensive effort to thwart the German side in a dull match sorely lacking in many clear-cut goal chances.

The two teams were evenly matched early on, and although the Danes won the lion’s share of the challenges, they failed to create much offensively. They played with just one lone attacker, Cesar Santin, who was preferred to    young goal-getter Andreas Cornelius, a reported transfer target of both AC Milan and Manchester United this week.

Twenty minutes in, Stuttgart began to dominate, but were unable to capitalise on their chances.

Santin likewise went close when he nearly got on the end of a cross from right back Lars Jacobsen, but overall it was a night of frustration for the Brazilian against the larger, stronger German defenders.

Stuttgart started the second half brightly and had a strong penalty claim dismissed by the referee just two minutes in after Tunay Torun was brought down in the box by FCK keeper Johan Wiland. Torun, however, was instead booked for diving, much to the consternation of the home team and crowd.

Thomas Kristensen should have given the Lions the lead shortly afterwards, but was tackled after finding space in the German penalty box.

The Stuttgart fans began venting their frustration over their team’s inability to break the deadlock, but despite enduring heavy German pressure in the last 20 minutes, FCK’s defence held firm, denying the Germans their first Group E victory.

FCK coach Ariël Jacobs said afterwards that he wasn’t happy that his team didn’t score, but hailed the defensive effort and strong organisation of the squad.

“It was a good job by the team. They fought hard against a strong opponent. We were well organised and aside from a chance from a corner, Stuttgart didn’t create much,” Jacobs told Tipsbladet newspaper. “There may have been 15,000 Stuttgart fans in the stadium, but we clearly heard the 650 that supported us, so kudos to our fans.”

The valuable point, along with FC Nordsjælland's surprise point on Tuesday against Juventus in the Champions League, means that not only are FCK in second place in the group with four points, three behind Romanian leaders Steaua Bucharest, who beat Norwegian outfit Molde 2-0 last night, but that Denmark will win additional coefficient points in their quest to regain the extra Champions League spot they are set to lose next season.

Up next for the Lions is once again Stuttgart, on November 8, this time at home, in a game that will see former FCK great William Kvist return to the Lions' stadium for the first time since he left the club in 2011.