Inside Danish Sport: The winning ways of Copenhagen

Analysis: Somehow the Lions of Parken found a way to win two crucial matches over the bank holiday weekend

FC København is not always the better side. It’s not always pretty, and they often leave it late.

Still, it is the culture that makes FC Copenhagen win more football matches than other teams in Denmark. In three days, the many fans of ‘Byens Hold’ have received value for their support.

Moment of quality from Benfica star
Thursday’s Danish Cup final yielded a 1-0 win over AaB Aalborg – an ordinary match that will be remembered for a spectacular goal.

Over the winter, FCK bought Diogo Goncalves from Benfica. It is not often that a Danish club brings in a player from one of the world’s most famous clubs. As seen before with new acquisitions, Goncalves did not impress straightaway.

However, with a title on the line, the Portuguese struck. With a beautifully bending shot, he won the cup final.

Uwe Rösler hadn’t read the script
Three days later, it took him just 20 minutes, this time to put FCK 2-0 ahead in a crucial Superliga game. Clearly the skillful winger and FCK thought Parken’s visitors AGF Aarhus would fold.

Think again. The team from Denmark’s second largest city has a charismatic coach in former Manchester City legend Uwe Rösler. The German has created a strong team for Aarhus to believe in. Deservedly.

Great goals and a strong will caused AGF to turn the game around and, 10 minutes into the second half, they went 3-2 ahead in front of the 32,000 spectators.

FCK always find a way
At this point FCK looked exhausted. Many star players were out with injuries, and against AGF a further three players were suspended. FCK looked tired and beaten.

But then Dutch defender Kevin Diks stepped onto the scene. Mostly this season he has not been a regular starter, and sometimes he hasn’t even been named in the squad. Out of nothing, Diks produced a neat pass to Swedish forward Jordan Larsson to claim an easy equaliser, and then he capped the comeback with a solid header to claim the points in the dying minutes.

Parken erupted, and FCK celebrated their cup win by holding onto first place, putting FC Nordsjælland under pressure to keep up.

“We have been ruled out many times – both in matches and over the season as a whole – but the work effort the players show and their mentality carried us through today. It shows that there is always a way,” said FCK coach Jakob Neestrup following the raucous match.

Is Rune ready for Paris?
Another Copenhagener is in the ascendancy, as tennis star Holger Rune reached the final of the Italian Open over the weekend, having beaten Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruus on route. But Russian opponent Daniil Medvedev unfortunately proved too strong and took the title 7-5, 7-5.

It was a special week in Rome, where contrary to the lovely weather in Denmark it continually rained, causing many interrupted and delayed matches. Rune, 20, handled the conditions well and is now considered by bookmakers the third favourite at 8/1 to win the French Open in Paris, which starts on Sunday May 28.

It’s usually Rafael Nadal’s tournament. But the 14-time winner will not play any more tennis this season due to an injury. Sad for him – but good news for everyone else who now has a chance to become the ‘King of Clay’.

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