Sunday, September 12, 2010

Elfsborg - Mjällby 2 - 0

Saturdays game in Borås was settled because of the fact that Mjällby got a red card due to chance on goal and also a penalty which the hometeam took care of easily, already in the first half of the game. Instead of three important points to keep the speed exactly with Elfsborg, Mjällby lost not only the game but possibly also three important players for the next game. One will be defender Jesper Westerberg who got the red card and the possible others are the two who left the pitch after injurys - Daniel Nicklasson already after 35 minutes and Moestapha El Kabir who took a lot of beating during the game and finally left the pitch on a stretcher.

We can sum up the game by stating that:

- Elfsborg won the game.
- Mjällby stood up well with one of the best Swedish teams, we knew already before the game that it would be very difficult to turn back with full points from Borås Arena where Elfsborg has not lost since a very long while. And after how the game developed, it went even more difficult.
- The Elfsborg victory was, if not fair, expected since we could not expect Mjällby to win away with one man less on the pitch.

We can also state that this was not the most beautiful game ever. In no sense. No glam football and rather nasty. As spectators coming from far it went more and more frustrating to see. "Clever" they might have been, the yellow home team, but very nasty with a good help from the referee who tries to be a nice guy (?). Better was the arrangements around the game and the treatment we got from the staff at Borås Arena.

I think Mjällby could bring back something they achieved towards Elfsborg, even if they will have mental as well as fysical marks to cure before next game which is already at Wednesday with Häcken at home. Mjällby, this time in red, was pushing and making life difficult for the yellow and black Elfsborg, who should not at all be happy with their performance (more than for the important points they brought home).

The game was actually not too much to see, in the first half both teams where pending while the second half was more a fight. Not until at the end of the first half things happened, and that was not in a good way for Mjällby.

First misery was when Nicklasson had to leave the pitch already after 35 minutes. He had until then made a very good game and made life hard for his defender. He was replaced by Peter Gitselov, who also came to make a good performance and could have been the hero of the game. His best chance to score came shortly after he came in. But wellplaying Ante Covic in the home cage returned the ball - where Tobias Grahn could manage to get it into the net. What a joy by the awaysupporters! But the assistant referee was of another opinion and on the replay screen we could also admit that Grahn was offside, but really not a lot. A goal at this point should have, of course, changed the game and most probably turn it out differently. Still it looked good for Mjällby and still everything seemed to turn Mjällbys way.

Then the big distaster occured. On the other side of the pitch, yes we where really to far to see anything, a yellow player (James Keane) gets the ball on the wrong side of the last Mjällby defender, Westerberg. Everything went very quickly but I would had voted for offside at this point. The guy fell very easily and the spectacle begun. We did not understand anything, but saw Westerberg leave the pitch and another yellow guy (Martin Ericsson) place the ball at eleven meters.

A red? But if the guy is offside?? And did they at all touch? According to the people we called at home who where in the front of the tv, or others in a better position, there was not contact and a possible offside. This is tought with a double punishment
and the question is still if it where right. I don´t think so even after checking the tv pictures after the game. Still nothing we can do about it afterwards.

On the following penalty Asper, who was good throughout the game (and furious at James Keane who twice kicked him in the softer parts), was chanceless and suddenly there is 1-0 for Elfsborg and one guys less in the field for Mjällby. Not really fair at this point with this goal but normally things can change, but playing more than half a game with one guy less would be tought.

At halftime Peter Swärdh choose to reinforce the defence by putting Robin Cederberg in the game. Instead a midfielder had to leave place. Nicklasson was already out and Swärdh choose Grahn. I don´t agree to this decision since Grahn so far had a good day at work and actually already tasted the scoring.

Obviously Mjällby would have a tough compit during the next 45 minutes and they did. But so did Elfsborg since the guests didn´t give up their game. One man less in a newcomers team should have made a bigger difference for a routinated team like Elfsborg. I cannot say that anyone played a football worth looking at. But Mjällby impressed by their stubborness and their will to attack "the big team", on their artificial grass and in their "castle".

What was more and more annoying and even painful to see how mean the Elfsborg players, many of them, where playing even trying to hurt the opponents. Worst was Jon Jönsson who got a yellow card after five minutes. I realise now afterwards that it was just after five minutes. During the game we waited and waited before the card came and it seemed long before it did. And he should surely had another one. (But you know, then he have had to leave the pitch, and that seems a little hard, doesn´t it?. Or?). One reason for nor liking this guy is because of his brutal treatment of El Kabir, kicking him on the feet during freekicks, or him and Otters treated Juan Robledo. In the opposite way El Kabir of course got a card.

I will not go into discussion here with neither the level of the referees or the fact of beeing consequent in your decisions and judgements or even to keep to the rule book (if the rule book say you should get a warning, you should - every time and not just sometimes depending on I don´t know what. How else could the players know how to behave and keep to the rules. How much of filming or arguing with the referee do you see in handball? Or in rugby - there you immediatelly loose meters every time you protest).

Well, enought about that. Good in Elfsborg? Goalie Ante Covic did a good game and behaved with big authority (which impressed the referee). The two substitutes Stefan Ishizaki (61) and Daniel Nordmark (80) where an injection for the Borås team. Nordmark became the nemesis for Mjällby by scoring at overtime. A very nice goal where Asper had no chance. 2-0 was a fact and Mjällby a beaten team.


- Elfsborg was the more "clever" team, doing the "right", but not always fair moves.
- Mjällby had after the double penalty very tought times and couldn´t do more than this. A pity they took a second goal and also a pity it all happened in this important "six points game".
- A very bitter loss for Mjällby with two injurys and a given defender out for the next game.

Next game is already at Wednesday, home towards Häcken.


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