July 18, 2007: UEFA Champions League, 1st qualifying round, 1st leg:

FH Hafnarfjørður - HB Tórshavn 4-1 (2-1)
1-0 Freyr Bjarnason 10'
2-0 Matthias Vilhjálmsson 12'
2-1 Tommy Nielsen (owngoal) 43'
3-1 Sigurvin Ólafsson 51'
4-1 Matthias Vilhjálmsson 57'

Two quick goals in succession for FH Hafnarfjørður early in each half all but ends HB Tórshavn's participation in the Champions League this season.

It took only 10 minutes for FH to open the scoring. Guðmund Sævarsson first struck the ball on the left post, before it rebounded to defender Freyr Bjarnason, who fired it into the back of the net with a good shot.

A couple of minutes later, FH had doubled their lead. HB's goalkeeper, Tróndur Vatnhamar initially saved Sigurvin Ólafsson's powerful header, but Matthías Vilhjálmsson was there to slot the riposte into the goal.

HB got some hope just before halftime, when FH defender Tommy Nielsen was unlucky to put the ball behind his own goalkeeper after a HB-corner.

However, HB's hope was short-lived, as FH made it 3-1 just 5 minutes into the 2nd half with a headed goal from midfielder Sigurvin Ólafson.

And when Matthias Vilhjálmsson six minutes later made it 4-1 to FH with his second goal of the night, this Champions League Cup tie was practically decided.

HB are not going to win back a 3 goal deficit in the return leg in Tórshavn next Wednesday.

This score line was just yet another proof that when playing in Europe, you must have a strong defense if there is to be any hope of progressing to the next round.


July 25, 2007: UEFA Champions League, 1st qualifying round, 2nd leg:

HB Tórshavn – FH Hafnarfjørður 0-0

0-0 between the neighboring champions of the north was probably a just result after an even 90 minutes on Tórsvøllur tonight.

The first half was a very tame affair with very few scoring opportunities. Maybe FH Hafnarfjørður just about had the upper edge when it came to possession, but they didn't use the ball to anything useful however.

FH had a couple of half-chances within the first quarter of an hour; a misunderstanding in HB's defense that could have become fatal – but it didn't – and then FH had a header against goal after a free kick from outside the penalty area, but there wasn't enough power in the header to really test Tróndur Vatnhamar in the HB goal.

A couple of minutes after the half hour-mark, HB created a couple of decent scoring opportunities. The first was after a volley from Rókur av Fløtum Jespersen that went close by the right post, after Andrew av Fløtum had set him up with a low cross from the right. (Rókur played on top today with Andrew av Fløtum alongside him, after Rókur otherwise has been playing deep in midfield this year. This role seemed to suite him well).

Andrew himself had the opportunity a while later, after the ball had been going "ping pong" in FH's penalty area a couple of times, but in the end there was no power in Andrew's shot. In the same attack, HB received a free kick 7-10 meters outside FH's penalty area, but Rasmus Nolsøe's shot was just a meter wide of the top left corner.

The second half was livelier that the first half, and mostly it was HB that had the upper hand, and they also had several finishes. However, FH also went very close a couple of times late in the half.

HB's Milan Kuljic had a shot from long range midway through the second half, but FH's goalkeeper, Daði Lárusson saved it comfortably.

At the other end, FH went close when goalkeeper Tróndur Vatnhamar had parried the first effort, but just before the Icelandic player was there to put the rebound into the net, an HB defender was there to clear the ball to safety.

Late in the game, HB had a couple of more opportunities. The first was a shot from Páll Mohr Joensen, but the acute angle made it easy for the goalkeeper to save it. The second was a well placed low shot from Emil N. Leifsson from the edge of the penalty area, but the Icelandic goalkeeper saved it at full length close to his right post.

As HB had been the more eager side to win the game in the closing stages, they were also very close to being caught on the break a couple of times. Matthias Gudmundsson was allowed to run rather unchallenged from the halfway line twice, but when in good shooting position, he blasted the ball high abowe HB's goal.

But the best chance was still to come for the Icelandic champions when their player received the ball in the left hand side of the goal area, but his diagonal shot went just centimeteres wide of the right post when Tróndur Vatnhamar was well beaten.

The match ended 0-0 and was probably a very fair result for the even 90 minutes.

It is just sad that HB had thrown it all away in the 1st leg in Iceland a week ago. Otherwise this could have been a very exiting game as there was not much to choose between the two teams.

However, it seemed like the Icelandic champions weren't going flat out for a victory today – they just seemed too tame. And with the 4-1 victory in the bag from the first leg, they simply didn't have to either.

At the end of the day, we probably have to admit that the top of the Icelandic league still has the edge over the top of the Faroese league.

However, after last weeks 1st leg, FH Hafnafjørður's midfielder Davíð Viðarsson said with FH's website that he was a bit surprised about how well HB actually played and that they really tried to play attractive soccer. He also said that HB was a much more entertaining team than B36 Tórshavn whose style he described as being simply "power-soccer". He had also noticed that HB's defence was maybe their weakest link, and that they had taken full advantage of.

- Well, one doesn't have to be a genius to spot HB's defensive shortcomings, but today it was mostly well organized. And maybe there are signs that the defence is improving as this was HB's 3rd clean sheet in their last 6 matches (2 Champions league matches, 1 domestic Cup match and 3 league matches).


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