It was business as usual when the Damallsvenskan returned from its summer break over the weekend with Piteå, Göteborg and Rosengård all picking up wins to keep the top three unchanged with LB07, Eskilstuna and Växjö on the receiving end.
Further down the table, both Kristianstad and Linköping were held, at home to Djurgården and Vittsjö as Hammarby bested Kalmar.
Having a stop-start season, Bajen looked to jumpstart their campaign against strugglers Kalmar, Olga Ekblom’s neat first-half header enough to give the hosts some breathing room.
Being asked questions in defence, the home side put the game out of reach just before the hour when Astrid Larsson, at the second time of asking, slipped the ball under Tove Enblom’s diving arms.
Still chasing down Piteå, as well an improving Göteborg, at the top of the table, Rosengård found themselves frustrated at the Myresjöhus Arena as Katie Fraine seemed unwilling to give up her clean sheet.
When Anja Mittag saw a certain backheeled off of the line by a back-peddling Jennie Nordin it seemed as if there would be no joy for the Malmö team, but their persistence paid off ten minutes into the second half.
A neat ball across the box from Nellie Lilja pulled Fraine to the left, the goalkeeper half a step behind Mittag as the German connected to ping the ball over the line. The scores nearly settled late in the day when Jelena Čanković chanced her arm from outside the box, her thunderous effort enough to leave the crossbar quivering but keep the scores the same.
Continuing her resurgence since moving to Vittsjö, Michelle De Jongh opened up the scoring at the Linköping Arena when she arrived at the back post to hammer Hannah Wilkinson’s low cross into the roof of the net.
Still a little off of the pace this season, the hosts responded well, and another ball sprung across the box to the far post looked to have evened the scores before it was pulled back for an offside, Anna Oskarsson denied her second of the season.
However, the equaliser did come for the champions, just four minutes later when Kosovare Asllani picked out the bottom left corner from 20-yards, Shannon Lynn unable to scramble across her goal fast enough.
The finishing far from vintage in the second half, both teams settled for a point.
Needing just 22 minutes for her new team, Julia Spetsmark gave the Blue Stripes the lead when she raced through, knocking the ball beyond Moa Olsson and poking it home with both centre backs hot on her heels.
The hosts responded ten minutes later with a determined header from Rita Chikwelu before taking the lead early in the second half, Alice Nilsson’s effort deflecting off of the upright before curling into the net.
Having a season to forget, Djurgården benefited from a touch of fortune in stoppage time when Kim Sundlöv’s swept effort at a corner slipped through Olsson’s gloves and squirmed over the line.
Still unable to tap into their best form this season, Eskilstuna again found themselves on the backfoot, having held out until halftime keeping the title-chasers out, the visitors succumbed after the break.
A low finish from Rebecka Blomqvist enough to break the deadlock, Karin Lundin’s first start for her new club enough to bring about a second as she slipped Blomqvist’s low pass under Emelie Lundberg.
United’s shining star, Mimmi Larsson pulled the visitors back within one ten minutes later with a low drive to the bottom corner but it was for nought.
The match put to bed ten minutes from time when Amanda Johnsson Haahr worked some space for herself on the edge of the box and unleashed a rocket, scooping the ball over the box and letting it drop just under the bar as it looked to be rising over.
Knocking at the door from the off, it didn’t take long for the league leaders to claim first blood in Malmö, Lena Blomkvist’s lofted ball just right for Nina Jakobsson to head home.
Keeping Emma Lind on her toes, the visitors saw the chance to double their lead in the first half slip away when June Pedersen’s whipped free-kick caught the woodwork and bounced clear. Able to parry Selina Henriksson’s close-range effort away, there was little Lind could do when Cecilia Edlund poked the loose ball home to extend Piteå’s lead before the hour.
Not out of the match, the hosts saw a flurry of chances to reduce the deficit though remained unable to capitalise.