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Season review: Sweden

Published: Wednesday 13 November 2013, 9.14CET
The return of striker Guillermo Molins two months before the end of the season proved decisive in Malmö FF finishing top, with cup honours going to third-placed IFK Göteborg.
by Sujay Dutt
from Stockholm
Season review: Sweden
Malmö celebrate a goal against HIbernian in UEFA Europa League qualifying ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 13 November 2013, 9.14CET

Season review: Sweden

The return of striker Guillermo Molins two months before the end of the season proved decisive in Malmö FF finishing top, with cup honours going to third-placed IFK Göteborg.

Malmö FF won their first Allsvenskan title since 2010, finishing five points clear of AIK Solna, with outgoing champions IF Elfsborg way down in sixth place. IFK Göteborg pipped Djurgårdens IF to the Swedish Cup and in doing so drew level with IFK Norrköping as the third most successful club in the competition's history.

Champions: Malmö FF
Malmö claimed their 17th championship, and first under coach Rikard Norling, with one match to spare. Tipping the scales decisively in the southern side's favour was Guillermo Molins. The Uruguayan-born forward left the club in June 2011 for RSC Anderlecht, but suffered a knee injury on his first outing for the Belgian team, marking the beginning of a difficult time abroad. A loan spell at Real Betis Balompié did little to improve Molins's fortunes and he returned home this summer. He made his Malmö comeback as a second-half substitute against Kalmar FF on 18 August, scoring 21 minutes after entering the fray. Seven goals followed in a further ten appearances, with two of them, in a 2-0 win at Elfsborg late last month, securing the title.

"I've enjoyed a scoring streak, a run of important goals," said Molins. "I'm so grateful and happy. Rikard believed in me and I believed in myself."

Cup final: IFK Göteborg 1–1 Djurgårdens IF (IFK won 4–2 on penalties)
Pontus Farnerud converted the clinching spot kick to decide the first Swedish Cup final at the Friends Arena in Solna. Victory against their Stockholm-based opponents ended a five-year trophy drought for IFK, who have now won the competition six times in its 72-year existence.

"We're incredibly happy," said IFK coach Mikael Stahre. "We felt during the second half that if we could only take this to extra time, then we'd have a good chance of winning it in those two periods of 15 minutes. Well, we then hit the woodwork twice."

European places*
Malmö FF – UEFA Champions League qualifying
AIK Solna – UEFA Europa League qualifying
IFK Göteborg – UEFA Europa League qualifying

* Subject to final confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Magnus Eriksson (Malmö FF)
Like team-mate Molins, Eriksson resurrected his career at Malmö after trying times in Belgium, in his case with KAA Gent. The 23-year-old provided 11 goals and 14 assists for the table-toppers.

One to watch: Robin Quaison (AIK)
The midfielder made his Sweden debut in January against North Korea and struck his first goal for the Blågult three days later versus Finland – not bad for a 19-year-old. Quaison can score, dribble and deliver defence-splitting passes. Over the season he has become more consistent. His dream is to play for Manchester United FC, a side he scored a stunning goal against in an August friendly. "I dare to do the difficult things that other players don't," is the now 20-year-old's motto.

Surprise package: Djurgårdens IF
No team has landed more Allsvenskan titles this millennium than Djurgården, who finished a mere seventh in 2013. Yet few would have expected such a respectable end to the campaign after they gained one point from their opening seven matches. Fortunes changed dramatically with the appointment of coach Per-Mathias Høgmo. The Norwegian has since taken over his national side, but leaves Djurgården in promising shape.

Leading scorer: Imad Khalili, IFK Norrköping/Helsingborgs IF (15)

Relegated:
Syrianska FC, Östers IF

Promoted: Falkenbergs FF, Örebro SK

Number: 27
The shirt worn by AIK goalkeeper Ivan Turina, who died in his sleep in May. AIK's fans remembered him by chanting his name in the 27th minute of every game for the rest of the season.

Quote:
"It's unbeliveable that a person who was so alive is no longer with us. He was a person that is instantly missed – his laughter and his way of giving us all bear hugs."
AIK coach Andreas Alm following the death of Ivan Turina

Last updated: 13/11/13 11.54CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=swe/news/newsid=2021832.html#season+review+sweden

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