OB Odense midfielder KALILOU TRAORE of Mali attempts to control the ball under pressure from Serbia World Cup midfielder ZDRAVKO KUZMANOIVC (8) of Vfb Stuttgart at TRE-FOR Park in Odense, Denmark. (Ernst van Norde/AP)
UEFA Europa League
1 – OB Odense (DEN) ————- Johansson 78′
2 – Vfb Stuttgart (GER) ——— Kuzmanovic 72′, Harnik 86′
Three goals in the final twenty minutes made for an exciting finish as visiting VFB STUTTGART escaped back across the border with a 2-1 victory over Danish side OB ODENSE in Group H of the UEFA Europa League.
The visitors were clearly in charge from start to finish and outshot OB Odense 17-6 for the game – outstanding work from 33-year-old Northern Ireland international ROY CARROLL, best known for his time spent between the sticks of English Premier League club Manchester United, kept the home side in contention.
Serbia World Cup midfielder ZDRAVKO KUZMANOVIC broke the scoreless deadlock by heading in the cross of midfielder CHRISTIAN GENTNER to give Vfb Stuttgart a long-awaited lead in the 72nd minute.
But, 32-year-old Sweden international striker ANDREAS JOHANSSON, who had a couple of seasons in English football with Wigan Athletic before moving to Denmark with AaB Aalborg in the summer of 2007, slipped in ahead of Vfb Stuttgart’s Ivory Coast World Cup defender ARTHUR BOKA to tap in the low cross of Denmark international defender and club captain CHRIS SORENSEN and equalise for OB Odense within six mintues.
With time winding down in the match, Boka would make amends by stealing the ball in the OB Odense half of the field; Austria international striker MARTIN HANRIK, like Boka a second half substitute, finished the play and won the match for Vfb Stuttgart by chipping the ball from outside the box over a luckless Carroll.
For Hanrik, an off-season purchase from Werder Bremen who spent last season in the 2.Bundesliga on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf, it was his third goal for Vfb Stuttgart in the UEFA Europa League this term — with all three goals being late game-winners.
22-year-old Vfb Stuttgart goakeeper SVEN ULREICH, in his first season replacing the retired Germany World Cup goalkeeper JENS LEHMANN as first choice for the Swabian club, punches the ball clear in a crowd of players (Reuters photo)
OB ODENSE : Carroll – Ruud, Haaland, Troest, Sorensen – Andreasen, Traore (Feldball 90′), Djemba-Djemba, Gislason (Kadrii 70′) – Johansson (Demba-Nyren 80′), Utaka
VFB STUTTGART : Ulreich – Celozzi, Tasci, Delpierre, Molinaro (Boka 60′) – Camoranesi, Bah, Kuzmanovic, Gentner – Marica, Cacau (Harnik 73′)
With the ball in the back of the OB Odense net, Austria international striker MARTIN HARNIK (7) celebrates his 86th minute game-winning goal, his third match-decider in the UEFA Europa League this term, for Vfb Stuttgart at the TRE-FOR Park in Odense, Denmark. (Reuters photo)