13 July 2012

Gambia: Amadou Jawo Stars As Elfsborg Advance in Europe

Gambian hopeful Amadou Jawo was in inspirational mood in midweek as his Swedish Allsenskan side IF Elfsgorg handed Maltese outfit Floriana another heavy defeat to crash out of the Europa League with a heavy 12-0 aggregate.

Floriana's fear of another mismatch were well founded by the Swedish side who subjected them to another clear-cut defeat in front of their few faithful supporters, albeit this time the defeat was well short of last week's 8-0 hammering in Sweden. Elfsborg had only one goal to show for their first half dominance but after the break, the Swedes struck three times as the Greens struggled to match their more illustrious opponents to crash out of the Europa League with a heavy 12-0 aggregate.

Floriana player-coach Ivan Woods again had limited resources at his disposal as Tyrone Farrugia was serving a one-match ban while Joseph Borg was ruled out by injury. Striker Ryan Darmanin and Sacha Borg were given the nod to start for the Greens. Elfsborg made wholesale changes from the first leg with Amadou Jawo and Marcus Rohden the only survivors with Niklas Hult, scorer of hat-trick last week, sitting on the bench.

The atmosphere inside the Hibs Stadium was surreal at times as the disparity in terms of support was evident with the Elfsborg followers - all donning the yellow and black shirt - outnumbering the few brave Floriana fans. Floriana's desire to make an impression almost cost them in the fifth minute when Elfsborg broke swiftly but Sebastian Holman was denied by goalkeeper Jurgen Borg after the ball took a huge deflection off Francesco Guzman.

The Green's response was immediate as in the seventh minute Darmanin made headway on the left before unleashing a piledriver that forced a fine save from Andreas Andersson. The ball fell into the path of the unmarked Christian Caruana but the latter miscued his effort with an open goal at his mercy. Although Floriana settled well, Elfsborg had the ability to step up a gear when required, and showed it after 20 minutes.

Jawo sent in an inviting low cross and Daniel Mobaeck tapped home from close-range. The hosts failed to throw in the towel and Woods forced a fine save from Andersson five minutes later. But Elfsborg began to dominate possession and the Swedish players were making most of the run-out, especially Jawo who looked a cut above the others.

On the half-hour mark, the Gambian midfielder, who became IF Elfsborg's most expensive player in history after moving from IF Gelfe in 2009, released Holmen with a back-heel but Borg, the Floriana goalkeeper, was up to the task as he tipped the ball around the post. The second half began as the first ended. Jawo produced a similar pass this time to Oscar Hiljemark, lofting a perfect ball over Floriana's high defensive line towards Holmen who beat Borg with a rising shot.

Any thoughts that Elfsborg would ease off were soon dispelled in the 67th minute when Mobaeck lofted a pass towards Per Frick who accelerated into the box and slotted home. Substitute Viktor Claesson made it 4-0, ten minutes from time, after he was put through on the left.

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