Danish side Sonderjyske lost to a late goal – so why do league rules mean they're celebrating?
The Danish Superliga might want to have a rethink about its structure.
On Sunday, Sonderjyske conceded an 89th-minute goal to title-chasing Midtjylland, losing the game and dropping into eighth place.
That's actually handy for them, though. At this point, with the 14 teams having played each other twice, the Superliga splits into three: teams that finish in the top six go off to battle for the title, while those in seventh and below divide into two separate play-off groups to contest both the drop and, strangely, an additional Europa League place. Crucially though, season points totals to date carry over.
By virtue of finishing eighth, Sonderjkyske are now in a group with four teams who finished below them – but only one of which can actually catch them in the games remaining. That means a greater likelihood of Europa League football next season.
Coversely, Hobro – who jumped above them at the weekend – will have to dog it out with two other teams that can topple them for a place in the play-off final and, if that's won, a further final against either the third- or fourth-place team (depending on the result of the domestic cup) for a slot in next season's Europa League. We need a lie down.
The video is below (third goal at 2.50 onwards). We've certainly seen more desperate defending...
One Sonderjske player was asked directly whether his team had thrown the game, but gave only shaky "no comment" in response. (Bearing in mind that Midtjylland are in the hunt for the title, it had repercussions further up the table too.)
On Monday evening, the Football Disciplinary Body opened a case against Sonderjske to investigate the circumstances of the match.
Today, Hobro sporting director Jens Hammer Sørensen huffed: "It's not OK. It all stinks."
(A hat tip to Reddit user Roodonkey for bringing this mad one to attention.)