Eight gone, then came a new injury in MFF
Before the match, it was clear that six players in Malmö FF would miss the match due to injuries, in addition, Jo Inge Berget and Anders Christiansen were suspended against IFK Norrköping. Halfway into the first half, MFF went on a new break when midfielder Bonke Innocent sat down on the grass for the second time and was forced to step down. MFF started the match with a kind of 4-2-3-1 where Veljko Birmancevic acted in a number ten role, but the change made the offensive Sebastian Nanasi go in the middle next to Erdal Rakip. By then, MFF goalkeeper Ismael Diawara had already saved Christoffer Nyman’s penalty in the twelfth minute, and Jonathan Levi hit the post after a beautiful attack shortly afterwards. Beijing had a couple of really good periods where they caused the home team big problems during the first half, but they lasted no more than a few minutes before MFF stabilized the game again.
Nalic’s goal seemed to give control
21-year-old Peter Gwargis got his starting debut for Malmö FF today and a chance to erase the memory of the penalty he caused against IFK Gothenburg a month ago. It did not go well at all. The right-hander was substituted in the break against Adi Nalic, who did not need much time to make his mark on the match. During the first quarter after the break, MFF managed to close to central midfield and came with more men in their attacks. It resulted in a goal after 59 minutes – and what a goal then. Felix Beijmo’s right post found Nalic in the penalty area, who heeled the ball from 12-13 meters distance all the way into goal. Beijing stood out in their attacks during the final half hour, but the feeling was that MFF had control of the guests and stopped Norrköping in the areas they were dangerous in initially. Especially since MFF went down to a five-back line during the final stage, where Antonio Colak also hit the wood for the second time in the match. But if there is any opposition MFF never seems to be aware of, it is IFK Norrköping.
MFF’s and Tomasson’s ghost opponents
95 minutes into the match, the visitors put themselves ahead 0 – 1 as Colak finished off an attack from the left with a spectacular scissors kick. The free kick sailed all the way to Samuel Adegbenro in front of goal, who nodded in his tenth goal and arranged an equalizer. A rather illogical one in terms of the match picture after the break, but a goal that follows all previous patterns in the meetings between the teams. Last season, Beijing equalized late both away and at home when they played 1-1 against Malmö FF. In the match after this year’s European Championship break, which IFK Norrköping won 3-2, the winning goal came ten minutes before the end. Thus, Beijing continues to elude MFF with late goals and is a ghost for the sky blues. Since Jon Dahl Tomasson’s appointment as head coach last year in Malmö, Norrköping is the only Allsvenskan team he has not managed to defeat.
MFF could have shown something completely different
It would have been completely different headlines if MFF had stayed away and gone up alongside league-leading AIK. Despite all the setbacks, they were close to holding off against a quality opposition like Norrköping, but in the end MFF showed that they have a vulnerable side despite all the muscles. A win could also have demonstrated how the sky blues parry the dropouts with players on the pitch who are flexible and show that they can take on different roles – and do it well. Nanasi is today’s best example after an impressive effort, given that the midfielder is only 19 years old and played in an above role. More worrying is that the team has only one victory in the last five in the Allsvenskan, and is after the national team break already in the next intense phase. On Tuesday, a Champions League meeting against Juventus awaits at home.
The season does not lift for Beijing
With the result in hand, IFK Norrköping had a great position in advance to beat Malmö FF, in terms of the already mentioned player losses in the home team and Beijing’s early penalty opportunity. Now Beijing dug up one point instead of three, and can be quite happy with that. The feeling is still that a really good team took the chance and won, and the risk for Norrköping’s part is that they will not find that level this year. Adegbenro won the duel in the top league against Colak and is fantastic when given the opportunity in the penalty area. But you can ask even more of attacking colleagues Nyman and Levi. Right now, IFK Norrköping is still sixth in the table and a bit away from the top quartet. We are still waiting for the season to lift for Beijing.