Brøndby IF and Fortuna Hjørring were forced to share the points in an exciting match at in the Danish top flight.
Strong at the back
Although the team to start on the attacking foot, Brøndby struggled to break down the last line of green shirts and were forced to shoot from distance, hopeful punts never causing Maria Christensen much concern. Fortuna settled well and it wasn’t long before they were launching their own attacks but were suffering the same fortunes as the hosts; getting the ball into the attacking third but unable to get past the back-line.
Brøndby’s best chance came when Nicoline Sørensen and Nanna Christiansen combined to advance the ball down the left flank, the former’s teasing ball across Christiensen’s goal mouth inches away from Louise Kristiansen.
The attack was met with an immediate counter from the visitors as Simone Boye had to lash the ball away from an advancing Karoline Smidth Nielsen. Again the ball was quickly overturned as Sørensen latched onto a deep clearance, out-running her marker to break into the box, her shot straight into Christiensen’s gut.
With the half hour approaching the hosts began to pile on the pressure, Fortuna struggled to get out of their own half, Bøndby with a succession of corners. With everyone squeezed into the box the ball worked its’ way out to Julie Trustrup on the edge of the area, firing low and clean the midfielder rifled the ball into the far corner through a crowd of bodies.
As they had done all half, the visitors were swift to counter, attacking right from the restart and winning their first corner of the game. The ball bounced around in the box before Nevana Damjanović swept it goalwards from close range, Katrine Abel jumped on it as it rolled over the line. Fortuna players wheeling away in celebration as the hosts appealed for a foul, confusion hung over the stadium as the referee made her decision; the goal stood and the two were tied up once more.
The pendulum swung as it so often does on a football pitch and Fortuna were suddenly the team on top, the hosts knocked by conceding their visitors keen to add a quick second. Sarah Dyrehauge with the best chance after some patient work from Florentina Olar, but her shot skewed just wide of the post and the visitors immediately regained possession to launch another wave.
The hosts had a chance to go in on top as they won a corner in stoppage time, as Christiensen coming out of her goal to punch clear, the keeper mistimed her leap and Boye was first to the aerial ball, but the defender could only nod just wide of the post.
Hosts back on top
Once more Brøndby were the team to take the reins at the start of the half, attacking from the outset, Therese Nielsen’s early volley sailing wide of the goal. The captain was involved once again as she sent the ball long for Sørensen and Kristiansen to chase, the away defence doing just enough to clear the danger.
The early pressure paid off as Nanna Christiansen picked up the ball outside the box and unleashed a low drive to beat Christiensen and ripple the back of the net. The hosts back on top just three minutes after the break.
The visitors did well to respond and open the game up once again, both defences holding firm to repel the opposition. Yet the better chances all fell to the hosts, first Katrine Veje went on a mazy run, searing into the box and making the save an easy one for Christiensen when the pair were one-on-one. Both goalscorers went close for the hosts as first, Trustrup then Christiansen fired narrowly wide.
As the half wore on, the hosts were the team in the ascendancy, enjoying most of the possession and almost every meaningful chance. After Boye’s header glanced wide, Sørensen saw her effort well saved by Christiensen before the visitors countered and Smidt Nielsen went for the spectacular, trying to curl one from 25 yards – the shot well held. Simone Boye again went close for the hosts who really should have put the game to bed as the clock ticked into the last ten minutes.
Last minute drama
With time fast running out and Brøndby happy to run the clock down, the visitors started to lump bodies forward as the hosts broke and looked to keep the ball by the corner flag as the game rolled into stoppage time. With time fast running out in one of the biggest two games into the Elitedivisionen season Fortuna refused to relent as they went in search of some last minute magic.
After winning a corner two minutes into stoppage time, everyone squeezed into Brøndby's half, even Christiensen was 15 yards beyond the half-way line. The goalkeeper first to Abel's half-hearted clearance, her deep ball into the box flicked on as yellow and green both went for it, aware of the title implications of a late goal.
As Fortuna won another corner, the ball once more worked its' way out to Christiensen who dinked it towards the back post for Smidth Nielsen to nod around the upright from half a yard out. A body blow for the hosts who should have had the win well wrapped up.
Despite one last gasp surge forward Brøndby were unable to trouble Christiensen and were forced two surrender two huge points seven games into the season. Both teams faultless so far this year, with 19 points a piece from seven games, Brøndby have the marginal edge over Fortunta with four goal [difference] advantage. The two will meet again in Hjørring on 19 November.