An as it happened recap of the last 90 minutes of the 2018 Damallsvenskan season
Tight at the top
With three teams capable of finishing top of the league coming into the last matchday of the season, it was Göteborg who struck first, Elin Rubensson’s super strike three minutes in at Nya Ullevi parachuting the hosts to the summit. Flimsy at set-pieces at the start of the week, Piteå found the right combination as they took the lead against Växjö half-way through the first half, Madelyn Janogy’s close range effort too much for Moa Edrud.
Relegated to second with the goal at the LF Arena, the hosts added a second at the Ullevi, Rubensson again finding the back of the net with a fine effort. Top of the table and with a cushion ten minutes before the break, PIF found a second through Janogy.
Out of the top two and Europe, Rosengård hit back in Gothenburg, scoring two in three second half minutes to change the outlook of the table once again. Caroline Seger’s header four minutes after the break spilled into the net by Loes Geurts before Anja Mittag fired home a loose parry. As things got tight in Gothenburg, Växjö found a way back into the match in the north, Anna Anvegård’s neat chip over Cajsa Andersson enough to make things interesting once more.
Unfortunately for Växjö, any hopes of a comeback were soon quashed as Jo Blankenship scored two in five minutes, firstly poking home at an uncleared corner before curling the ball all the way in from the opposite quadrant. With the scoreline suddenly lop-sided the hosts began to run away, signing off for the season with a flourish. A trademark Julia Karlenäs header followed by Cecilia Edlund’s chested finish two minutes from time. Top of the table with KG and FCR still playing further south, Piteå were forced to wait as Rosengård continued to pepper the home goal in Gothenburg.
With a string of blocks from Taylor Leach and a handful of saves from Geurts, Göteborg managed to keep themselves alive in the match, knowing they needed to win to claim a European berth. Gunning for the title, refusing to just take the ball into the corner and hold out for a draw against a growing opposition, Rosengård were caught late, a rare meaningful counter from the hosts leaving them short-handed. Geurts’ ball out from the back picked up by the wind and carried forward, bouncing for Rebecca Blomqvist to chase onto, the young attacker firing the ball passed Zećira Mušović in the 90 minute.
With a healthy six minutes of stoppage time to see out, it was all hands to the pumps for the ten-time champions, a succession of corners unconverted, the final blow delivered by Julia Zigiotti with the last kick of the game.
Just as three teams could still win the title on the last day of the season, three could still be relegated with Kalmar. Hammarby the team downed despite starting the day off higher than both Vittsjö and Limhamn Bunkeflo.
Chasing the game from the fourth minute after Michelle De Jongh had clinically converted a penalty following a foul on Clara Markstedt, Bajen were handed more bad news as LB07 took the lead over Djurgården late in the first half. Needing a win almost no-matter what, Malin Winberg’s header – her first goal of the season – ten minutes before the break in Malmö proved to be decisive. All to separate themselves from DIF, but crucially bagging the hosts three points to leapfrog Hammarby.
Back in Stockholm, HIF hung in, riding their luck at times but still creating chances and only a goal from safety until the final five minutes. The match finally away from the hosts when De Jongh took a touch in the box before wrapping the ball around Emma Holmgren, the match rubber-stamped by Markstedt three minutes later.
Eskilstuna go out on a high
Having had what could generously be described as a mixed bag of a season, Eskilstuna found better form over the second half of the year and ended with a commanding win over lowly Kalmar. Up and running two minutes in thanks to Mimmi Larsson’s snapshot, Felicia Karlsson added a second less than ten minutes later, toe-poking Larsson’s lay-off beyond Lina Lundqvist. Julia Tunturi’s contribution two minutes later enough leave the visitors with no way back despite a second half conciliation from Mathilda Johansson Prakt. The gloss put on by Karlsson ten minutes from time, when she raced onto a long ball from Tunturi, taking the ball around Lundqvist before rolling the ball into the empty net.
On a day of breathless football with rapidly changing outcomes across the league, Linköping and Kristianstad returned some semblance of order to the world with scoreless draw, neither able to better then finishing positions of fourth and fifth with a win in any event. The match replete with chances but all the goals distributed elsewhere in the league.