HB’s game plan against the Swedish champions Malmø FF was as expected to emphasize on defending and try to drag the tempo out of the game.
HB succeeded very well with that as they held the Swedes from scoring for almost an hour, but a couple of minutes before the hour-mark, forward Dardan Rexhepig finally broke the deadlock with a header after a cross from the left.
Malmø had had a clear majority of possession before that, but rarely really tested HB’s 18 year old goalkeeper who made his debut for the club today and was according to Swedish reporters HB’s most valuable player.
But Malmø had improved in the second half and added a second goal to their tally in the 58th minute when HB defender Rógvi Holm was unlucky to turn the ball past his own goalkeeper.
HB were rare guests near Malmø’s goal, and never got really close to scoring.
But HB will rue the second goal as a 1-0 defeat would have meant that all was still to play for in the return leg on Tuesday, but with two goals in deficit, the contest seems settled.
Video highlights: Malmø FF - HB Tórshavn
July 19, 2011: UEFA Champions League, 2nd qual. round, 2nd leg:
Faroese champions HB Tórshavn had a mountain to climb with a two-goal deficit from the first leg away to Swedish champions Malmø FF, but when Fróði Benjaminsen headed HB in front after 70 minutes, a real upset suddenly wasn´t such a distant thought.
And it was really, really close for that second goal, which would have forced extra time, when Kristin R. Mouritsen got to the by-line in the 90th minute and made a cross which seemed to hit the Swedish defender on the arm. Players and spectators anxiously held their breath, but so did the referee who waved play on. Some referees might have blown for the penalty, but it would have felt like a harsh decision.
Instead it were the Swedes who scored an equalizer moments later when Wilton Figueiredo was allowed to turn on the edge of the penalty area to fire low past HB’s 18-year goalkeeper Teitur Gestson who had played a superb match. – He looks like a real start in the making!
He proved his credentials already in the second minute of the match when he fantastically saved from the clear Malmø player from close range.
But overall, the Swedes weren’t too intimidating and around the 20-minute mark HB threatened at the other end. First it was Andrew av Fløtum who tried from long rage, although the shot was quite harmless in the end, but just a moment later only a long Malmø toe prevented Símun Samuelsen from becoming clear with the goalkeeper. The following corner also threatened, but after a scramble Malmø finally cleared the ball to safety.
Malmø then mounted a pressure which they held for about 10 minutes. First they combined well to play Daniel Larsson clear, but once again Gestson kept the visitors at bay with an excellent block. And then, in the 35th minute, HB survived the scare when a low drive smashed against the post with the goalkeeper well beaten. A minute later Malmø went close again with a curling shot that went just wide of the far post.
But a couple of minutes before halftime, Símun Samuelsen set up Andrew av Fløtum with a fine opportunity in the penalty area, but from a somewhat acute angle, the effort went wide of the far post. But it wasn’t far off.
HB’s defence seemed unconcentrated from the start of the second half which so nearly cost a goal inside the first five minutes as Malmø had two excellent opportunities to take the lead. In one incident the shot from a clear Malmø-player went into the side-netting and in the other incident the shot was blocked by a defender.
On 57 minutes HB were close to getting the best opportunity of the match, but Símun Samuelsen’s first touch let him down when he would have become clear on goal, after Andrew av Fløtum’s pass.
But HB had sensed that a goal wasn’t impossible, and in the 71st minute, Fróði Benjaminsen´s well placed header brought HB in front after a free kick from av Fløtum.
Unfortunately, av Fløtum was stretchered off injured just a few minutes later with a twisted ankle which clearly hampered HB’s attacking play.
HB never really came close to a second goal until the last minute of normal time when Kristin R. Mouritsen got to the by-line to make a cross which, as mentioned earlier, seemed to hit the Malmø defender’s arm.
HB had done the right thing to throw caution to the wind in the dying minutes in quest for the second goal instead of defending a useless 1-0 lead, which would have looked good in the history books, however.
As a consequence, the defence was rather thin in the end, and Wilton Figueiredo found it easy to turn and fire then ball into the back of the net for an equalizer in stoppage time.
Malmø were even just a whisker from snatching the victory a minute later, but goalkeeper Gestson made a fabulous save to deny the clear Swede.
Around 700 spectators attended the match at Gundadalur Stadium, of whom about 20-30 were Malmø supporters who still easily "out-noised" HB's supporters by standing up and chanting throughout the match.
(1-0 goal for HB at 2:15) (1-1 goal for Malmø at 2:25)