Damallsvenskan – Matchday 17 Review: Still tight at the top and bottom

Linköping remain first, while points for Eskilstuna and Piteå see them take a huge step away from the other contenders for third. At the bottom of the table a draw for Umeå means they have caught up with Mallbacken and Kristianstad.

Damallsvenskan – Matchday 17 Review: Still tight at the top and bottom
Damallsvenskan – Matchday 17 Review: Still tight at the top and bottom

it was another busy week in the Damallsvenskan, as things hot up at both ends of the table.

All they do is win, win, win no matter what

Linköping won 3-1 and remain league leaders after this round, but it wasn’t smooth sailing for the undefeated team when they faced Djurgården, who have been the positive surprise this season. It began as expected when a long ball found Pernille Harder close to the side-line. The Dane took the ball past a couple of defenders before firing it to the left of Djurgården's 'keeper Gudbjörg Gunnarsdottir to score her 18th goal in 16 games and give her side a 1-0 lead at the break.

Linköping dominated the first half and were probably disappointed not to lead by more. The second half wasn’t as good as the first for Linköping, and while they were very much in charge of the game, they couldn’t get that all important second goal. As it often goes, the other team pounces, and in the 81st minute Alexandra Höglund got the ball, and her shot flew past Cajsa Andersson in the Linköping goal; were the champions-elect about to make things interesting?

Djurgården once again looked liked taking points from one of the big teams, like they did against Rosengård earlier in the season. A few minutes later Djurgården were actually close to taking all the points, when Sofia Nilsson took the ball in Djurgården's own half and carried it all the way to Linköping's penalty area.

However, her shot was straight at Andersson. Right after Linköping struck back, when Stina Blackstenius took the ball to the by-line and her cross was deflected in by Petronella Ekroth for an own goal. A few minutes later Kristine Minde scored the third when she lobbed the ball in after receiving a pass from Harder.

With this result Linköping were four points ahead of Rosengård, with a game less, so Rosengård knew they could not afford anything else other than a win, when their match kicked off some 24 hours later. Rosengård's opponents were Kristianstad, and it only took Ella Masar four minutes to make it 1-0 when she connected with a pass from Marta. 60 minutes later it was Marta who made it 2-0, which was also the final result in this Skånederby. Rosengård keep the pressure on Linköping and are ready to pounce if the league leaders fumble.

Eskilstuna and Piteå creates distance

In the fight for third it was a four horse race going into this round. With Djurgården dropping points, the other three, Eskilstuna, Göteborg and Piteå had the opportunity to gain some points. Two of the teams, Eskilatuna and Göteborg, were playing each other, and it only took Eskilstuna nine minutes to give themselves the advantage. Irish international Louise Quinn finished off a chance created by Olivia Schough.

Half an hour later Marija Banusic made it 2-0 when she found the net after being assisted by Ingrid Schelderup. Right after the break Göteborg created some suspense when Elin Rubensson found Adelina Engman, who put it past Emelie Lundberg in the Eskilstuna goal. However, Eskilstuna sealed their win when Mimmi Larsson's ball was picked up by Chloe Logarzo to make it 3-1. Eskilstuna took all three points and advanced to third in the standings.

The last contender in the race to third was Piteå, who ahead of today were sitting in that important third place, but a draw today against Kvarnsvedens meant they dropped to fourth, just one point off Eskilstuna. Everything went according to plan for Piteå, when June Pedersen scored directly from a corner in the fourth minute. It looked even better when Nina Jakobsson scored her third of the season after getting a touch on a powerful cross from Frida Abrahamsson in the 21st minute.

However, Kvarnsveden fought their way back, and were awarded a penalty just six minutes later. Tiffany Weimer, who joined Kvarnsveden in the summerbreak calmly slotted the ball past Hilda Carlén. 10 minutes later the comeback was a reality when Kvarnsveden’s big name forward, Tabitha Chawinga made it 2-2. There were no goals in the second half, so it ended 2-2. That point means Kvarnsveden are now seven above the drop zone.

Closer than ever in the race to avoid relegation

At the bottom Mallbacken looked like getting an important point, but a late Vittsjö goal meant it ended 2-1. Vittsjö came into the game as favourites and it only took them 13 minutes before Finnish international Emmi Alanen scored the opening goal. In the 71st minute Mallbacken struck back when an Anna Green cross found Julia Karlenäs, whose header passed Katie Fraine in Vittsjö's goal.

Mallbacken had got their deserved equaliser, and were well on their way to getting a crucial point to keep Umeå at bay at the bottom of the table. However, Vittsjö wasn’t done, and in the 84th minute Rachel Mercik found Ngozi Okobi who headed it home and secured Vittsjö all three points, which means they sit nine points above the drop.

With both Vittsjö and Kristianstad dropping points it was a opportunity for Umeå to catch up. Before the game, Umeå were last in the standings, but were only a point behind Mallbacken and three from Kristianstad. Umeå were up against Örebro who hadn’t won in their last four Damallsvenskan matches (three losses and a draw).

Umeå have had rotten luck with injuries this season, but with all of Lisa Lantz, Lina Hurtig, Hanna Folkesson and Hanna Glas back in their starting line-up today things are starting to brighten up for them. It was Örebro who got on the scoresheet first when Canadian forward Melissa Tancredi headed the ball in goal after she connected with a Veronica Perez cross in the 60th minute. Six minutes later, Umeå wanted to part of the action too when Hanna Sandström finished past Carola Söberg in Örebro's goal.

Umeå only had two shots on goal, compared to Örebro’s 12, but this was all they needed, and the game ended with a draw. This means Umeå now have the same amount of points as Mallbacken, and Kristianstad are only two points ahead of both of them above the relegation battle. Örebro's bad form means they are now only six points above the relegation lzone and if they keep dropping points they could be drawn into the fight.

The next Damallsvenskan action comes in three days when Linköping and Göteborg face off in a postponed match.