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Denmark Diaries: FC Copenhagen vs. Randers FC

Sunday evening, floodlights on for the match. I wanted to watch football in Copenhagen and one of the best dates was also a very atmospheric one. It was a bad autumn day, with lots of grey clouds, wind and heavy continuous rain. Just before sunset, there was only a light drizzle and the sky cleared to reveal one of Copenhagen’s more spectacular sunsets.

Shortly afterwards, I walked to FC Copenhagen’s stadium, “Parken”, just ten minutes from my flat. A Danish Superliga match: FC Copenhagen, record champions, against Randers FC, a relatively unspectacular club from the north of Denmark - long oscillating between first and second division, but currently in a relatively surprising third place, ahead of Copenhagen, which had a lousy start to the season.

The stadium is not particularly eye-catching - the only unusual feature is that an entire curve has been converted into a VIP stand with boxes. The game itself started relatively sluggishly, with Randers dominating the first half hour, in which FC Copenhagen were rarely able to play more than two structured passes. Then, in the 36th minute, there was excitement as a penalty was awarded to Copenhagen - the replay on the screen looked as if the Copenhagen player gratefully accepted the physical contact in the penalty area. Alexander Kačaniklić confidently scored the penalty and from then on Copenhagen had the upper hand.

In the second half, Copenhagen were much better and Randers were no longer as powerful as they were in the first half hour, but were still able to launch a few counter-attacks, yet ultimately failed to score. When Christian Poulsen was substituted shortly before the end to secure the narrow lead, the stadium woke up once again: Poulsen had started his career at FC Copenhagen, won a league title as a young player and then moved to FC Schalke in 2002. In the years that followed, he travelled around half of Europe (Sevilla, Juventus Turin, Liverpool FC, Ajax Amsterdam) and has now, at the age of 34, been re-signed by FC Copenhagen. The entire stadium is convinced that the prodigal son has returned, cheering every duel and every straight pass over five metres. Shortly afterwards, the final whistle blew after Randers FC missed one last chance to equalise late on.

A very cosy evening of football with 10,000 spectators in Denmark.

(Match report also here.)