In a match that could essentially decide who finishes top of the Damallsvenskan and who’ll have to settle for second, the visitors took the reigns from the off. After having watched their commanding lead in the league dissolve in recent match, Linköping were lucky not to be on the back foot from two minutes in.
Lotta Schelin just centimetres behind her marker as Marta whipped a dangerous ball in, with the ball poked wide by the defence Natasha Andonova took aim at the resulting corner. Cajsa Andersson’s goal under constant threat as Andonova’s effort was tipped onto the top of the bar by the young keeper.
The hosts responded well to settle into the game, and began to offer something going forward, Kristine Minde unlucky to smash her first-time effort against the post at a whipped Magdalena Eriksson free kick.
After a breathless start to the game both sides began to calm down and settle, taking turns to go forward with the measure of each other, Rosengård looking the more likely to opening the scoring as the clock ticked to the midway point of the first-half. The match winded down to the break, the hosts looking off the pace in attack, out of sync and hopeful, their opposition showing their class in attack, Linköping resolved to slow the game down.
Showing more attacking intent after the break, the hosts tried to get forward more and break down the mean Rosengård defence, the visitors beginning to ride their luck as three good chances went begging for the hosts. Once more the ball was recycled in midfield, the two teams deadlocked and nervous.
Once more the visitors began to warm into attack, the home side riding their luck as Marta’s lash took a huge deflection off of Eriksson’s arm and slipped a whisker wide of the post, but unable to capitalise from two varied corner routines. Again the match went into midfield as both battled for dominance in the game and the title race.
With the rain coming down and the 6,000+ crowd in the Linköping Arena growing bored of the cagey game in front of them, neither team at their best, they finally had something to cheer ten minutes from time as Linköping struck first to break the deadlock and strike a huge blow in the hunt for the Damallsvenskan title.
Although starting to get forward again, the hosts were clumped in attack, swarmed by white shirts the movement ahead of the ball was poor but with one swift move Fridolina Rolfö set the ball away for Pernille Harder. With one touch on the edge of the area, Harder shifted her weight before looping the ball to the spot, for Minde – the meat in a centreback sandwich – to rise highest and nod past a diving Musovic and into the bottom corner.
With the trophy heading north of Malmö for only the second time since 2009 the travelling champions began to throw all they could at the hosts, a heart-in-mouth moment for the crowd when Marta whipped her late effort against the bar. The Brazilian involved again moment later, leaving Andersson scrambling across her goal as Marta’s direct free kick curled just wide of the post, the last kick of the game curled off of her boot and once more wide of the upright.
Arguably not the best attacking team on the day, Linköping held the upper hand in midfield for the majority of the game and now have a five-point lead over Rosengård, both with similar run-ins, the title is LFC’s to lose.