Match-day 1 opinions: It can only get better

Almost nothing is good in the land of Swedish women's football. Västerbottens Folkblad's Magnus Johansson writes that Umeå's 2-0 victory over Malmö "almost felt like a defeat". Umeå had the ideas and organisation on the field, but had huge problems playing into positions to score from. Malmö could work themselves back into the match against a frustrated Umeå. Umeå's coach Jeglertz even had to bring in Elaine (substituting young debutant Lisa Dahlqvist) from the bench to win the midfield battle. But the big problem was Umeå's inefficiency in Malmö's defensive area. Klaveness was very ambitious, but mostly just ran into Malmö's solid defense, and Marta was nice to watch but unproductive. Umeå's problems to score made Malmö a real threat all the way until the final minutes of the match.

In KIF Örebro's local newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, columnist Anders Uddling found one good thing to note about Pia Sundhage's team: the won. But all reports about their goalscoring problems turned out to be true. Louise Östman needs scores of good opportunities to get one in goal and Hodan Siid-Ahmed must have been put in the attack by mistake (but she did good when moved back to the midfield after halftime). Örebro's players fired away loads of shots against Jitex' goal, but very rarely anything remotely dangerous. Maybe Sundhage's encouraging her players to dare to try to score should be moderated by a "but only if you see a real opportunity".

Göteborgsposten's Mats Härd had more reason to be downhearted. He's seen three of the four Göteborg teams in the men's and women's top leagues disappointing heavily in their home openers. Kopparbergs/Göteborg underperformed hugely for a team that plans to challenge the top. They had lots of possession, but not much quality. It was easier to find traces of decent football in Bälinge's few attacking attempts.

I did find one happy camper though, Håkan Wikström in Upsala Nya Tidning, Bälinge's local. "There is something about Nera Smajic" headlines his column, praising the robust outside defender, who was moved by coach Wikman from her usual position to the left to take care of Göteborg's Lotta Schelin at the right. When Smajic got tired in the second half, and Schelin began to feel a little bit to fast, she almost turned brutal and was subbed out by her coach before the first red card of the season would appear. It wasn't a beautiful game - a crappy field, a limping play and the favourites from Göteborg feeling the pressure - but Maja Åström was inspired in goal and Fanta Cooper played wonderful defense and Håkan Wikström hopes for much more fun when the grass has turned greener and the foreign forwards has began to understand how their coach wants them to play.

Västerbottens Folkblad:
Mästartakter - i en halvlek
Nerikes Allehanda: Seger - men med många frågetecken
Göteborgsposten: Det kan bara bli bättre, Göteborg
Upsala Nya Tidning: Det är något speciellt med Nera Smajic ...

Posted by: jocasta

Happy to hear about Smajic-- I am always glad when defense gets some glory, and goodness knows that the national team will need some new defenders soon. (errr... she is swedish, yes?) About brutality... just good hard defending, or punches to Schelin's head?

2006-04-19 @ 01:29:55
Posted by: Dandal

Nera Smajic has been with every Swedish youth team from the 17s to the U21s. I think she's 22 or 23 now.

I actually enjoy teams that committ themselves completely to destroy the well laid out plans of the opposition, creating nothing and then winning on a fluke goal, kicked from somewhere way out. I'm not sure Bälinge will continue like this, but I'm sure Mallbacken will.

Posted by: jocasta

Do you think Smajic is a national team prospect?

r.e. destroying well-laid plans... Yes, that's nice, isn't it? Drat those strikers and their ways... and it's always fun to hear the complaining after the team that plays better loses the game anyway.

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