JYSK Park, UEFA Europa Conference Group B, 3/11/22
Founded – 1917
Nickname – SIF
Honours – Superliga – 1993/94. 1st Division – 2003/04, 2013/14 and 2018/19. Danish Cup – 2000/01. Intertoto Cup – 1996
Random Fact – Peter Kjaer, arguably one of Aberdeen’s best goalkeepers played for the club prior to his stint in Scotland.
When I was first sent to Denmark my initial thought was, “which teams are in Europe and can I see them?”. This trip to Silkeborg being the second opportunity to witness Euro football after heading to Midtjylland v Lazio last trip. I managed to rope someone into it this time and get a lift which saved me extortionate taxi fare unlike the previous experience in Herning. Ticket for lift is a fair deal if you ask me. Sebastian seemed chuffed with it. On Sebastian, with out trying to sound like I pick up guys at bars(no not in that way), I met him at a bar, Little London on night one of the trip. He is an Aussie with an American accent and lives in Finland and Denmark and spent his school years in at Inverurie Academy. But he is on the same project as me so lets just call the night a team building exercise. He was as excited as I was for this game.
One and a half hours inland from Esbjerg which included passing the MCH Arena where we saw the floodlights shining over Midtjylland v Sturm Graz in the Europa League, we headed to get our fitba fix (my first ever Conference game for the record and also first ever Belgian team) . Without being able to see any of the city due to time restrictions after work it was football only, but a wee read up on the place showed it seems to be a nice place. Not surprising as it really is a lovely country.
On arrival at JYSK Park we were met by stewards looking to earn their money. A first for me happened when I was IDd. The combination of American accent and North East teuchter accent obviously set off alarms and we were pulled out the queue and questioned. It seemed as if they thought we were Belgian. After a brief discussion and explaining were just wanted to watch a game while in the country for work we were allowed in. A strange one for sure, a bit too vigilant too if you ask me. With a a bit of time to burn it would have been rude not to partake in some pre match boozing in the fan bar outside the ground to get a feel for the atmosphere. It was hard to tell what it would be like, there were plenty of fans kicking about, there was a decent noise emanating from inside the ground and with all to play for between the two sides it had the makings of a good night. Once in the ground the Ultras were in full voice creating a decent racket and display was unfurled as the teams came out the tunnel. But where were the Anderlecht fans?
After grabbing a beer and our seat were faced with a plastic pitch. Not your usual 3G type but what looked to be old school astro turf. It is not often you see this in this day and age but this match threw up the rarity and for the record the ball seemed to glide on it. It had no bearing on the game which was a decent contest on the whole. Anderlecht started off the better team with more of the ball. They opened the scoring on twenty minutes and it was one of them that seemed to play out in slow motion. Yari Vershaeren received the ball and you could see his next move and at this point I called it to Sebastian with a “they are in here, this is a goal”. The predicted ball through was played to Lior Refaelov who slotted home past Nicolai Larsen in the SIF goal. It seemed a bit easy. Anderlecht were now above Silkeborg in the table and we now found out where the Belgian fans were seated. The small in numbers away mob were not to far from us in amongst the local support. Which makes our earlier dealings with the stewards even more over zealous. Silkeborg’s job got a lot harder a few minutes later when Ferslev Klynge was sent of for denying a goal scoring opportunity. Again this seemed to play out in slow motion and you could see it coming. Silkeborg now had to play over two thirds of the game a man down. It was at this point i realised that every card handed out was announced over the tannoy. I am pretty sure this is a first for me. To be fair to Silkeborg they finished the half where you would not have realised they were disadvantaged with a couple of chances created. But qualification from the group with West Ham was looking like a tall ask.
HT 0 v 1
The second half started in a very open fashion with both sides going for it. But the hosts tailed off and Anderlecht started to knock the ball around them with what looked like ease. They were the team in the driving seat an tried to make Silkeborg chase the game and succeeded. The action dried up somewhat barring a penalty shout for Silkeborg and a great chance for Kasper Kusk who probably should have scored from a headed effort. But Silkeborg clearly tired and you could see it in the body language at times. As the game was in its dying embers and the crowd were heading for the exits the Belgians added a second through substitute Raman well into injury time.
Game one of my latest Jutland tour this trip and off to a good start. Tidy wee ground, decent atmosphere and good company.
Entrance – 130DKK (£15)
Attendance – 6810
Pie – 100DKK hotdog and beer (£11)
Pint – 50DKK Carlsberg, in the ground, (£5.50)