Malmö FF has been out in Europe so many times since the mid-10s that they know that everything around them plans to play a huge role. But it can be as it is as it makes of it.
And in European qualifiers even more than usual, the ability to take advantage of the opponent’s mistakes determines.
MKS Cracovia had flown from Poland, through a pandemic and landed in Malmö full of faith.
Then the clock ticked 15 seconds, midfielder Michal Helik met a simple ball in midfield and missed it on the east stand’s row eleven.
Jonas Knudsen’s throw-in was as effective as it was precise, Sören Riek’s post quickly against the first post where Jo Inge Berget won a counterattack and scored 1-0.
At the press conference before, Jon Dahl Tomasson called the single meeting a bit of a lottery.
23 seconds on the clock and MFF had snatched the big win.
At the same time, it was a Youtube clip about the difference between a club that was Europe for the third time ever and never moved on and one that for over 50 years learned its lessons.
For the goal, not only did Malmö FF give the lead, it also gave room to value yet not yet without demands or stress to move forward.
MFF did well. Anders Christiansen in his free offensive midfield role loves match pictures like this. Jo Inge Berget showed how many times he has been in this phase of an international tournament and was Malmö’s best in the first half.
It could have been both 2-0 and 3-0 to Malmö already after just over half an hour.
At the same time, Cracovia – despite the fact that everything went on during the match, it became increasingly clear that their season is new and the Polish league ranked lower than the Allsvenskan – was not uneven.
Only a carelessly offside David Jablonsky saved MFF 1-1 already in the 11th minute and with a slightly more zealous referee than the Swiss Urs Schnyder, Erdal Rakip could get his second yellow in the 33rd minute.
But the margins (lotteries?) Were with Malmö and maybe that was what the old sports truth said: “It’s weird, the more I train the more lucky I am”.
Malmö has trained on this.
And in the 44th minute, this happened with the European qualifiers being played without spectators to a truth with modification.
Jo Inge Berget fast with the ball to Christiansen, on to Isaac Kiese Thelin who showed class and looked straight for Cracovia’s two midfielders and at the same time opened up a gap that Sören Rieks ran perfectly in.
Eleven spectators from Krakow saw Rieks put in 2-0 and with a goal right at the beginning and one right at the end of the first half, the matter was more or less clear.
After the break, Cracovia had a distance shot that struck Marko Johansson’s right cross and Anel Ahmedhodzic could very well have caused and a penalty when he put Pelle van Amersfoort in his own penalty area.
But that it would have gone differently … No.
Malmö FF confidently beat the most difficult opposition they have had in this round over the years. It is a long way off, but MFF shows time and time again that they have lots of tools that can lead to another group game.
At the same time, they won without behaving and now go out to the league final in three days with twelve wins and two draws in their last 14 matches – matches when MFF has 28-11 in goal difference.
Elfsborg will be really good for keeping the Allsvenskan alive.
On the other hand, the Borås team has 14 other teams behind them when they go out to the Stadium on Sunday.