Back in March, TEB announced that we will be following the fortunes of Swedish side Helsingborgs IF (HIF) over the summer months which fits very well because of a number of similarities with Palace.
Unfortunately, they have started their season in less than impressive form as HIF attempt to gain promotion back to the Allsvenskan division in Sweden.
Expectations that the team can bounce straight back into the top flight are high as HIF are one of the biggest teams in the country. It was with some sadness that they were forced to open their newly renovated Olympia Stadium with second tier football after the disastrous season they endured last year under former manager, Henrik Larsson.
Helsingborgs IF 1-0 Trelleborgs FF
The game was the first Skåne (Scania) derby of the season and could have been distracting for the players for other reasons than it being a local derby.
First, it was the first match at the newly renovated Olympia, there was a near capacity crowd and it was the first match since the crowd trouble that saw Jordan Larsson and Henrik Larsson confronted by fans.
The incident happened in the last moments against Halmstad after HIF conceded a second goal in the space of two minutes at the end of the game that would see them relegated.
To be honest, the game was dour affair with the home fans having to wait until the eightieth minute before the first and only goal of the game arrived.
Jesper Lange scored the goal that resulted in a 1-0 victory for the home team. A win is a win and hopefully it will get rid of a few nerves that the players may have had about this season and performing in front of a new manager after Henrik Larsson left his post during the winter.
Trelleborgs FF tried to pressure HIF for an equaliser but never really got close to scoring.
Though the crowd saw an assured but perhaps not too entertaining match they would surely have gone home happy that the season has got off to a winning start.
Before HIF scored, both teams had a few chances but they were off target and HIF scored with the first and only real chance of the game.
Varbergs BoIS FC 3-3 Helsingborgs IF (3-3)
In HIF’s second game of the season they played BoIS at Påskbergsvallen in Varberg before a crowd of 2,814.
The game was what could be described as a typical game of two halves. HIF were impressive in the first half which saw them go into half time leading 3-0.
New signing Edwin Gyimah scored the opener from a corner then Jesper Lange made it 2-0 with a simple finish. A minute before the break, Andreas Landgren slotted home from close range to make it 3-0 for the visitors.
However, something must have been in their half time tea as BoIS staged a second half fight back with three goals of their own.
Former HIF player Elias Andersson scored with a long range effort with twenty-five minutes still remaining, then ten minutes later Joakim Lunder reduced HIF lead further with his second goal of the season. In the fourth minute of injury time Peter Nyström scored the equaliser to save a point for BoIS.
After the match, Jesper Lange told Helsingborgs Dagbladet;
‘It obviously didn’t happen (winning the game) so the feeling now is not that good. We see what the difference is if we work very hard and when we do not.’
The result is Varberg’s first point this season and brings HIF’s total to four points from a possible six.
Helsingborgs IF 1-1 Gefle IF
HIF’s third game of the season saw them take on Gefle at Olympia before a crowd of 6,135, less than half that turned out for the first game of the season.
The day after the game the local newspaper had the headline ‘What a shock – but not knocked.’
HIF conceded a goal after just eighteen seconds to salvage a point against Gefle, thanks to an own goal. The crowd had scarcely taken their places in the stand when HIF’s goalkeeper, Matt Pyzdrowski, was left stunned. It was a well worked long throw-in from Jesper Florén that saw the ball evade the HIF defence and Deniz Hümmet jumped the highest to head the ball into the bottom corner.
But HIF attempted to mount a come back but were unable to create any chances. The home team had a major problem dealing with the visitor’s low tempo football.
HIF managed to score a goal after twenty-four minutes when Gefle gifted them an equaliser through an own goal. A long corner by Adam Eriksson was steered in by Gefle’s Johan Oremo and earned a point.
“It was a small touch, but it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that the ball goes in.” said Eriksson to Helsingborgs Dagblad. “Now I have played seven games against Gefle, without winning.”
After the match there was a lot of criticism of the team on social media. A number of players were criticised but in particular goalkeeper Matthew Pyzdrowski was singled out.
With the transfer window now closed for Swedish teams and with Helsingborg having spent little money it remains to be seen if one of the biggest teams in Swedish football can mount a promotion challenge or need time to rebuild.
GAIS 0-0 Helsingborgs IF
HIF’s fourth match of the season was away in Göteborg (Gothenburg) against GAIS at Gamla Ullevi before a crowd of 3,580.
Over all the match was a good contest between the two clubs in which neither could find a way through the other’s defence and the match ended goalless.
Neither the home team nor the visitors managed to take the chances that were created, but it was a bit panicy in the HIF penalty area towards the end when Gais created several chances through Dardan Rexhepi and Alibek Aliev.
However, the best opportunity of the match fell to HIF’s Anton Wede when he got the chance from the penalty spot in the first half. GAIS goalkeeper, Damir Mehic, guessed correctly and threw himself in the right direction and saved the goal bound effort.
“I could use my full length so it looked nice” said Damir Mehic to Göteborgs Post after the match.
The result means GAIS have only scored one goal in four games so far this season and they remain on two points, still waiting for their first win this season. After the match their coach, Benjamin Westman, was still in positive mood;
“I think that’s a big step forward! There are different ways to play 0-0 matches and this belongs to the better team, which was us.”
HIF have still not lost so far this season but have now drawn for the third time in a row and are in sixth position with six points.
Superettan Table – April 30th, 2017
- Top two teams are promoted.
- Third placed team plays a two legged play-off match with the third from bottom team in Allsvenskan.
- Bottom two teams are relegated.
- Third and fourth from bottom teams play a two legged play-off match with 3rd placed team in Division 1 North and Division 1 South respectively.
If you would like to know more about the Swedish football pyramid, click here.