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Mala

Ground: Thurevallen

Visits: 1

Date: 24th October 2020

Match: Mala - Blentarp  0-1  (Play-off to Division 5)

Attendance: 100

For teams in Division 3 to 6 the season is coming to an end. The regular league season is over and the weekend 24/25 October is the last weekend of play-off games in these leagues. I have seen Mala IF twice this season in Division 5 Skåne Nordöstra and with Mala ending up in the relegation play-offs I was looking forward to visit Thurevallen for the return leg against Blentarp. Blentarp finished 3rd in Division 6 Skåne Mellersta and in the first play-off round the beat Vinslöv. The first leg in the 2nd and final play-off round last weekend ended 1-1 meaning 0-0 today would send Mala to Division 5. Mala is situated just north of Hässleholm and it was only 35 minutes by car for me. Despite being a small village club Mala has actually produced two top players. The brothers Bo and Jörgen Augustsson started their career in Mala and Jörgen played for Sweden in the 1974 World Cup. Bo played in Allsvenskan for both Landskrona and Åtvidaberg and nowadays works as a coach in South Africa.

Since I didn´t know how strict the 50 spectators rule was to be implemented I arrived more than an hour prior to kick-off. Blentarp had around 20 fans present and they were already inside as I made my way through the open gates. Thurevallen in Mala is, for this level, quite a nice ground with good viewing spots, a grass pitch and no running tracks. Most grounds belonging to village clubs are similar to Thurevallen and much more interesting to visit than those boring artificial pitches in the bigger cities. It was soon obvious the attendance for this play-off decider would be much higher than the allowed 50. I counted to just over 100 which is a very good attendance for Mala. The first half was tight and tense and with few chances it was not a surprise it was 0-0 at half-time. Blentarp needed a goal and in the 60th minute the deadlock was finally broken as the visitors made it 0-1. Prior to the goal Mala had two chances where they really should have scored. The last 30 minutes of the game was, at least for a neutral, play-off football at its finest. Desperate attacks by Mala, counterattacks from Blentarp and in stoppage time Mala had a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area. No goal and Blentarp could celebrate promotion to Division 5. It was a bitter afternoon for Mala and their fans but next season they have the local derby against Vankiva to look forward to.

There could be extra play-off games next weekend but with the bridge to Denmark now closed for the foreseeable future due to the increased infection rate this might have been my last game in 2020. I doubt I will be able to go abroad (not counting Denmark!) for football until next summer meaning my trips to local football grounds will continue once the 2021 season begins in March/April. I want to complete 1. Division (level 2) in Denmark as well but I guess there will be plenty of opportunities in May/June next year.

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Welcome to Thurevallen

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Foundation stone

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Mala IF

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South side

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Dug-out

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West End

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North side

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East End

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East End

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Teams entering

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Kick-off

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South side

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View of play

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View of play

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North side

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View of play

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East End

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Promotion

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Pano