AIK 0 Djurgårdens IF 1

Monday 19 September, 2011
Allsvenskan
Råsunda

AIK’s winless run in the Tvillingderbyt stretched to four games as Stockholm rivals Djurgården recorded a 1-0 victory in which the real winners were Helsingborg who now find themselves eight points clear of AIK at the top of the Allsvenskan and with a game in hand. The win for Djurgården came despite their boss, Magnus Pehrsson, picking faults with what he perceived to be the rough nature of some of the home side’s tackling.

The last time AIK won this game was during their 2009 Gold season, almost two years to the day when a Flavio double secured the three points. The Gnaget fans amongst the attendance of 24,639, a crowd beaten only by the first derby back in the opening round of games of this Allsvenskan year, were buoyed by going into this game on the back of five straight victories – a remarkable run considering the sale of their potent strike force of Mohammed and Tetteh Bangura – and harbouring hopes of overhauling Helsingborg. By the end of the match the Allsvenskan became a one horse race.

A slow start to the match was set against a silent backdrop. As the DIF fans unfurled a banner pointing out to the SvFF that “This is what it sounds like with no fans”, the whole of Råsunda went quiet, bar the occasional “shhh” as a fan became overly excited.

Apart from some misplaced crosses, there wasn’t much to generate excitement, at least during the opening ten minutes. That time was the cue for the fans to spring into action and their protest ended with an explosion of noise and that also marked an improvement in the action on the pitch as on nineteen minutes the decisive goal was scored. AIK captain Nils-Eric Johansson, normally so assured at the back for his team, sloppily gave the ball away just inside the Djurgården half. When Kennedy Igboananike picked the ball up on the halfway line there appeared to be no dangerous, but one touch of the ball forward and the Nigerian was away, outpacing Niklas Backman, who himself is rarely lacking for speed, before keeping his composure and finely slotting the ball under Ivan Turina in the AIK goal.

photo: Andy Hudson

That goal should have been the cue for AIK to improve their attacking play, but attempts at neat passing exchanges quickly disappeared through poor final balls or players dwelling for too long before trying to pick a pass. Meanwhile, Djurgården began to frustrate their hosts by proving to be successful at keeping the ball, despite lacking in offensive intent.

AIK’s best chance of the half fell to Admir Ćatović on 34 minutes; the Bosnian making the chance himself when collecting the ball centrally outside of the box but seeing his shot deflected just the wrong side of the post with Djurgården ‘keeper Pa Dembo Touray beaten.

After a delayed start to the second half, which began in stark contrast to the quiet of the first half, with fans at both ends of the ground protesting further, accusing the Swedish FA of being “Football Killers” and setting off smoke bombs and flares which forced the teams off the pitch for six minutes, AIK again struggled to efficiently attack. Nisse Johansson told reporters after the match that the delay “didn’t concern us [the players]” but the extra break wasn’t used for Gnaget to prepare themselves for an offensive onslaught.

photo: Andy Hudson

Indeed, it was Djurgården who started the brightest when play did eventually get underway, with Christer Youssef flashing a shot just wide of the upright after six minutes before Nocolaj Moesgaard forced Turina to save well.

The two moments that Pehrsson alluded to regarding the AIK play during the post-match press conference were still to come. First Turina reacted to an Igboananike nick with a soft push and then the introduction of Kenny Pavey, back in the squad after missing a number of games and which saw AIK play with a high forward line of four men, eventually brought some passion into the AIK play. Pavey chased, harried and tackled; something that had been missing for the first hour of the match.

Yet despite the increased pace in AIK’s football, the lack of incisive attacking play was all too evident and too many crosses went across the six-yard box with forwards failing to get far enough forward.

The post-match press conference brought a further Djurgården attack with Pehrsson picking fault with AIK’s tackling; Andreas Alm calmly maintaining that he didn’t see anything wrong and pointing out that Pehrsson’s side themselves were guilty of some committed challenges. After reporters had finished their questions, the two managers then went head-to-head in a further, unscheduled discussion and unlike the result on the pitch, that battle went down as draw.

Andy Hudson at Råsunda.

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