Allsvenskan

Goalkeeper goal video
@HelsingborgsIF

WATCH: Ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Lindegaard scores equalizer

Leave a comment

Mark the keeper.

Former Manchester United backstop Anders Lindegaard supplied a 90th-minute equalizer for Helsingborgs in a 2-2 draw against Falkenbergs when he cut to the front post to nod a firm header home in Swedish Allsvenskan action on Sunday.

Helsingborgs trailed 2-0 away from home when Anthony van der Hurk brought the visitors within one in the 81st minute.

[ MORE: De Gea wobbles as Chelsea advances to FA Cup Final ]

That set the stage for Lindegaard’s header and a valuable point to keep Helsingborgs off bottom nine matches into the Allsvenskan season.

Lindegaard was with United from 2011-15, later playing for West Brom, Preston North End, and Burnley. The 36-year-old played 25 times for the Red Devils, including 19 times in the Premier League.

Even with a Premier League winners’ medal and two Community Shields from his time at United, Lindegaard didn’t have too many moments like this:

Fear grips Swedish soccer as virus delays start of season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Saturday was supposed to mark the beginning of a new soccer season in Sweden, fuelled by the prospect of big broadcasting revenues from a new domestic TV deal and expectations of another tight title race to match last year’s dramatic finale.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Then, in two months’ time, Sweden’s national team was supposed to be playing in the European Championship, with confidence high two years after a run to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1994.

Instead, the rapidly spreading coronavirus has forced a two-month delay to the Allsvenskan campaign – the “early June” start date will now be viewed as optimistic by many – the cancellation of the Euros, and led to some Swedish clubs fearing they might soon go out of business.

A bleak picture is being painted by members of Sweden’s top league, the starkest coming this week from Helsingborg.

“The truth is,” the southern club’s president, Krister Azelius, said, “that the effects of the coronavirus have hit us so hard that we have to question our future existence.”

While a big debate has recently broken out in England about the extent to which players should be giving up some of their wages during the pandemic, many of their Swedish counterparts on much lower salaries have already been put on leave and/or received pay cuts.

A suspension of the league beyond June doesn’t really bear thinking about.

“It’s a worry – this is not just a ‘press pause’ situation,” Kevin Walker, a midfielder for defending champion Djurgarden, told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

“The clubs were looking at pretty good times ahead, where we are getting in more money and we could attract better players. Swedish football was on the rise … hopefully as soon as this storm passes, we can get going again.”

Walker said Djurgarden was actually in good shape to withstand the initial brunt of this crisis, because of last year’s title triumph and having sold captain Marcus Danielson to Chinese club Dalian for a reported fee of more than 50 million kronor ($4.8 million) in February.

Indeed, the biggest blow to the Stockholm-based club might come in a sporting sense. Djurgarden, domestic champion for the first time since 2005 after beating Malmo and Hammarby to the title

They were supposed to be competing in the Champions League qualifying rounds this summer for the chance to reach the glamorous and lucrative group stage, thereby earning a minimum 165 million kronor ($16.2 million) plus a share of TV money. Now there’s uncertainty when those matches will take place.

For Djurgarden’s rivals across Sweden, the pain is very much financial.

Elfsborg’s players and coaches have had to take pay cuts. AIK, IFK Gothenburg, Ostersund, Orebro, Hacken, Kalmar and IFK Norrkoping have implemented short-term leave while Malmo has laid off staff.

All this at a time when Swedish clubs should really be feeling the rewards of the first year of a six-year TV deal with Discovery-owned Eurosport, reportedly worth 540 million kronor ($52 million) per year – supposedly doubling the amount clubs were bringing in from the last broadcast deal.

Now, the clubs are getting advance payment of this sponsorship money just to survive during what Swedish Elite Football – the body that oversees the top divisions – has described as an “extraordinary and difficult situation.”

Azelius has calculated that even if the season begins in June, Helsingborg will still have lost 17 million kronor ($1.6 million) of equity and therefore have gone back into the red. Having that debt, in turn, leaves the club in danger of losing its elite license to play in Allsvenskan.

“Many clubs are on their knees,” said Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist, a defender for Helsingborg, “waiting for news from various quarters about what help they can get.”

Sweden might be in a better position to restart than other countries in Europe, even if that means playing in empty stadiums to begin with.

On the continent and beyond, so much so that clubs can now hold training matches – provided the number of people attending does not exceed 50.

Walker said he and his teammates have been back in training since Monday, making sure they are “well-prepared for when the season does kick back in.”

A June start will necessitate the season running into December for the first time, by which time many parts of Sweden – like Ostersund, the northernmost team in Allsvenskan – are usually under snow. The fact that many teams have synthetic pitches because of the country’s climate could be a savior in that regard, while Djurgarden’s Tele2 Arena has a sliding roof and can therefore stage games “indoors.”

Until then, players, clubs and fans can only wait, keeping their fingers crossed that play does resume on schedule.

“When this clears up,” said Walker, trying to stay positive, “there will be a massive demand to go to see sports live, to go out and get back our normal routines.

“You just see the emptiness without sports. It’s unbelievable.”

Swedish court gives three years’ jail to Ostersund chairman

Getty Images
Leave a comment

HARNOSAND, Sweden — A Swedish court has sentenced the man regarded as the mastermind behind the rise of Swedish soccer team Ostersund to three years in prison for serious financial crimes.

The Angermanland Court said on Tuesday that Daniel Kindberg was guilty of funneling millions of kronor in taxpayer money into the club in a scheme that involved two other men and three companies, one being the Ostersund municipality’s housing corporation for which Kindberg was chief executive.

When Kindberg was club chairman, Ostersund rose from the amateur ranks in 2011 to Sweden’s top league in 2015, and won the Swedish Cup in 2017.

Ostersund qualified for the Europa League, where it advanced to the knockout stage before losing to Arsenal despite winning the second leg 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.

WATCH: USMNT vet Diskerud nets first Goteborg goal

Leave a comment

Mix Diskerud scored his first goal in 13 months, burying a 15-yard chance for new club Goteborg at Sirius on Sunday.

Goteborg is one of four teams with four points through two match days in Sweden’s Allsvenskan.

[ MORE: Conte thriving on pressure from Spurs ]

Diskerud arrives to the party after a break down the right-wing came with a cross to the back post, and guides his shot back through traffic and into goal.

Report: Diskerud off to Sweden to rebuild career

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Leave a comment

Mix Diskerud’s found a place to stay in shape and the market window, and it is not in Major League Soccer.

Bought out last week by New York City FC, the USMNT midfielder saw his playing rights still controlled by MLS.

[ MORE: Fonte hits out at Saints ]

He’ll reportedly dance off to Goteborg in Sweden on a short-term loan, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle:

The source said the loan, if completed, would provide “minor salary relief only” to Diskerud’s former club, New York City FC, which would still be responsible for paying the bulk of the player’s wages.

With 38 caps and six goals at age 26, Diskerud is plenty experienced and should find regular playing time under Jörgen Lennartsson, his former manager at Stabaek.

It’s low risk for the mid, who could become a staple for the Swedish side which has been in the UEFA Europa League in each of the last four seasons.