In a game of two halves, Piteå found themselves bested by Rosengård as the top two sparred in a historic match that took place under the midnight sun in Kiruna.
Visitors find their stride
A clash of heads seconds after kick off lead to an immediate break in play and a free kick for the hosts, the ball whipped in by June Pedersen and easily nodded away by Sanne Troelsgaard. 180 miles from their home in Piteå, the visiting hosts dominated the ball as if the match were being played at the LF Arena, doing well to keep Rosengård in their own half.
The first break for the Malmö team six minutes in when Fiona Brown carried the ball down the left flank, her cross rebounding off of Anja Mittag’s hip and towards goal, the German unable to reach it before Casja Andersson jumped on it. The first real shot coming from the visitors when Iva Landeka took aim from outside the box, the hosts failing to fully clear their lines as again, Brown had flown down the left.
The first work for Zećira Mušović was to claim a last-ditch effort from Jo Blankenship, again the ball not being cleared properly owning to the chance. Taking a hold of the match, FCR spent more and more time in the attacking half, doing what they could to work an opening, an over-zealous header from Brown their best chance in the opening 20 minutes.
Having won all seven of their Damallsvenskan games so far this season, Piteå were pushed to the limit by their opposition, Rosengård hounding them, chasing the ball down at every opportunity. A throw-in deep in their own half was immediately passed to Andersson the ‘keeper forced to knock the ball out of play when she was fast confronted by Troelsgaard. The Dane involved again as she forced Andersson into a sterling save ten minutes before the break, after having floated behind the defence.
A change of fortunes
A first half not replete with chances, it wasn’t without attacks, the ball almost entirely in the home half as those in red were forced back, unable to find a rhythm to get out, the second half taking on a different theme. Largely swallowed up by their own half, forced to defend over the first half, the break gave the hosts a chance to reset and come back out firing, the change of ends enough to spark some fight.
Starting to press well, Piteå began to make Rosengård work in defence, the home side still without much urgency in their attacks however, the side consistently showing their weaknesses bar a few parking moments. Cecilia Edlund proved to be a willing running for PIF, the 23-year-old involved to head the ball over Mušović’s bar on the hour, the hosts caught out at a quick counter the next minute. A cross-cum-shot from Troelsgaard arcing over Andersson’s box, the goalkeeper getting the faintest fingertip on it to bring it down towards her far post where a lurking Mittag failed to connect. The chance should have stood as a warning for the more expansive hosts but they were caught three minutes later, Troelsgaard left to wheel away in celebration. A perfectly floated ball across the midfield saw the Dane come away with it after Pedersen had failed to connect in mid-air, fast one-on-one with Andersson, Troelsgaard let her go to ground before slipping ‘round and firing into the empty net.
Letting their heads drop for a moment after the goal, Piteå rallied and again began to push FCR back, though the side from Malmö seemed far more relaxed and capable in defence. Nina Jakobsson continued to work the midfield as Madelen Janogy looked to make an impact off of the bench, the substitute getting stuck into the action at the first opportunity. A ball of energy, Janogy’s presence spurred those in red on, twisting and turning in the area the substitute let a shot fly wide moments after Mittag had chipped the ball over the bar at the other end.
The 22-year-old continued to cause problems in the away box, latching onto a deflected shot, she let fly only to see the ball defect off of another pair of legs, slingshotting itself clear. Gathering the ball of the right, Janogy saw another good chance in the last minute of regular, cutting in and letting fly from the top of the box, her shot crested over the bar, a chance that already had half off the crowd off of their seats ready to celebrate. Time fast ran out for PIF, Troelsgaard’s shot enough to decide the tie and cut the difference between the two to two points.