Round 10 of the Superettan season saw Helsingborgs IF take on Syrianska FC at Olympia in the hope of making it 10 games unbeaten.
Syrianska FC Background
Syrianska FC are a football club based in Södertälje, just south of Stockholm. The club were founded by Syriac Orthodox Aramean immigrants in 1977, as Suryoyo Sportklubb or simply Suryoyo SK.
In 1986 the name was changed to Syrianska SK, but later the club adopted its present name as the club grew and advanced through the league system.
The Syriac (Aramean) people do not have an official national team, and Syrianska is often viewed as its substitute.
The club has a fan base from all over the world and after their promotion to Allsvenskan in 2010 they gained extensive coverage in Swedish TV sports programs, documentaries and magazines, as well as in non-Swedish magazines.
You can read more about Syrianska FC by clicking here.
Syrianska FC are one of two football teams in Superettan which have been formed by immigrants, the other being Dalkurd FF who will be HIF’s opponents in three weeks time. More about them later.
Round 10: Helsingborgs IF v Syrianska FC
After a remarkable comeback in their game against Öster, HIF’s next match was a relatively easy game on home soil. HIF have learned the hard way that though games may look straight forward they have to fight for every point in the Superettan.
Now that it seems Brommapojkarna, Dalkurd and HIF have began to put some fresh air between themselves and the rest of the division at the top of the table, it is important not to lose focus.
We all know what it’s like. A couple of draws or a draw and a defeat then suddenly you can be 6 points further off top spot without realising what’s happened. Though HIF want and expect promotion this season they ultimately expect to win the title.
Winning the title would be seen as a success in anyone’s language, finishing second thus gaining automatic promotion would be seen as acceptable and promotion through the play off would be disappointing. Missing out all together would be a disaster.
An almost predictable start
HIF came into the game without midfielder Edwin Gyimah (injured), which meant that there had to be at least one change to the starting eleven that took to the field against Öster.
As you may have read before, HIF are quite vulnerable in the first and last 5 minutes of matches. Whether it is a lack of focus at the beginning and a lack of fitness at the end which has led to HIF either having to chase the game or throw away a win at the end is difficult to say.
Against Syrianska FC it the pretty much the same story in that a goal was scored after two minutes but much to everyone’s surprise it was HIF that scored it.
Unfortunately, HIF failed to build on their good start to the match and allowed Syrianska to get back into the game with the help of some inconsistent refereeing decisions.
Isn’t it nice to know that though football is played in different styles from country to country, referees are still able to do a good impression of the missing link between man and ape! The fact that the missing link has not yet been found is all the more remarkable when you consider that the proof is hiding in plain sight on football pitches around the world.
Sloppy play by the home side and missing some good chances to score symbolised much of play in the first half. In fact, as has become somewhat of a theme, the few goal scoring chances that were created were by the visiting side.
In the 32nd minute the inevitable happened when Syrianska’s Mattias Mete scored an equaliser.
Going into the half time break on level terms seemed the very least that the visitor’s deserved as they had the better quality of possession while HIF seemed to be making heavy work of their possession.
But maybe HIF were lulling Syrianska into a false sense of security as once again at the start of the second half HIF managed to retain possession a lot better and were able to move the ball from defence to attack though without being able to create any clear cut chances.
With half an hour remaining there was a Surprise just outside the visitor’s penalty area in the form of HIF’s South Africa winger Bradley Ralani, who for reasons best know to himself, goes by the name of Surprise.
Surprise took the matter in his own hands. He turned two players inside-out before cutting into the middle of the pitch and unleashed an untouchable shot from about 25 yards out to make it 2-1 to the home team.
The goal meant that HIF switched to defence mode and allowed Syrianska to come forward in the hope of catching them on the counter-attack. For most of the remain half HIF had 11 men firmly planted in their own half which is the perfect way to get the home crowd nervous and frustrated as HIF were capable of much more.
The home side did manage to create a few more chances without much success as they were unwilling to commit numbers forward when a counter-attack was on.
Lack of ambition or showing the opposition too much respect?
Counter-attacking football is a frustrating tactic if your team is the one playing it. I liken it to seeing your favourite boxer getting seven shades knocked out of him only for him to come out swinging every now and again in the hope of hitting the target.
It’s much like the famous Ali-Foreman fight, which still causes me pain whenever I watch it.
Be it rope-a-dope or sitting back defending wave after wave of attack isn’t my idea of fun because at this level, Superettan and the heavyweight division, everyone has a puncher’s chance if they are allowed enough chances.
With ten minutes remaining a tactical substitution was made and HIF switched to five at the back and in doing so, against Syrianska at home, said a lot about the home team’s performance this evening.
With the switch to a back five all interest in attacking, counter or orthadox was abandoned and the team dug in fully intent of keeping all three points.
In injury time, HIF’s striker Max Svensson disobeyed orders and scored another goal which resulted in the crowd being able to enjoy the final 20 seconds of the match before leaving Olympia happy that HIF were now unbeaten in 10 games.
We all know what the end goal is but I am not so sure the means they are using to achieve it are justified or pleasurable.
Final Score: 3:1
Goals: 1-0 Samuel (2 min) 1-1 Mete (32) 2-1 Surprise (60) 3-1 Svensson (93)
A performance like the last game at home to Syrianska FC does makes you wonder what the morale is like in the HIF dressing room.
HIF are a team who should easily win promotion back to Allsvenskan, much like Newcastle were odds on to get promoted from the Championship, however they seem to be going about it much like a relegation threatened team battles for survival. By trying to get a goal and then barricading themselves in to sneak the odd counter-attack.
You can understand a relegation threatened team like Palace going to Stamford Bridge or Anfield, taking the lead and then playing with 5 defenders for the last 20 minutes of the match. But it would be completely beyond explanation if Chelsea or Liverpool had put everyone behind the ball after taking the lead against us.
That being said, had they done so they might not have lost against us!
- Thirty game season.
- 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.
01/04/2017 – Trelleborgs FF (h) 1:0 W
09/04/2017 – Varbergs BoIS (a) 3:3 D
17/04/2017 – Gefle IF (h) 1:1 D
22/04/2017 – GAIS Göteborg (a) 0:0 D
01/05/2017 – Degerfors IF (h) 3:0 W
08/05/2017 – Atvidabergs FF (a) 1:2 W
13/05/2017 – IK Frej (h) 2:2 D
18/05/2017 – Norrby IF (h) 3:2 W
22/05/2017 – Östers IF (a) 1:2 W
27/05/2017 – Syrianska FC (h) 3:1 W
03/06/2017 – Falkenbergs FF (a)
10/06/2017 – IF Brommapojkarna (h)
17/06/2017 – Dalkurd FF (a)
24/06/2017 – IFK Värnamo (a)
—– Summer Break —–
22/07/2017 – Örgryte IS (h)
29/07/2017 – Syrianska FC (a)
05/08/2017 – Norrby IF (a)
08/08/2017 – Åtvidabergs FF (h)
12/08/2017 – IK Frej (a)
19/08/2017 – GAIS Göteborg (h)
26/08/2017 – Trelleborgs FF (a)
02/09/2017 – Dalkurd FF (h)
09/09/2017 – IF Brommapojkarna (a)
16/09/2017 – Varbergs BoIS (h)
23/09/2017 – Falkenbergs FF (h)
30/09/2017 – Gefle IF (a)
14/10/2017 – IFK Värnamo (h)
21/10/2017 – Degerfors IF (a)
28/10/2017 – Örgryte IS (a)
03/11/2017 – Östers IF (h)
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