Swedish players renewed their credibility this weekend after weeks of relative frustration. While five Swedes there way onto scoresheets, Johan Elmander`s drought continued. The forward has only scored nine goals since arriving at Bolton in June 2008, and faced a good deal of criticism from the British press as a result.
Herman Hreidarsson managed a smile at long last as his Portsmouth side trounced local rivals Southampton 4-1 away from home.
Reading and West Brom must play each other again after a captivating two all draw at the Madjeski stadium. Reading, who where still missing their FA Cup hero Gylfi Sigurdsson, stole the lead after nine seconds of play. The experience of Icelandic duo Ivar Ingimarsson and Brynjar Gunnarsson aided the Berkshire side in this tense battle as both teams were reduced to ten men, before Olsson’s Baggies grabbed an equaliser at the death.
Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham must also square off again to see who will advance. The match finished 1-1 and many Spurs fans will feel aggrieved after Jussi Jaaskelainen saved a poor penalty from Tom Huddlestone which would have put them through. After the match Bolton captain Kevin Davies jumped to the defence of misfiring striker partner Elmander stating “Johan`s work rate is unbelievable. He works his socks off and we are all behind him and we all believe in him because he does a great job for the side and we all appreciate that”. Manager Owen Coyle was also keen to talk up the Swede and proclaimed “I thought he was outstanding with his level of performance”. Elmander will be hoping he can strike it lucky when the Wanderers entertain Wigan Athletic in midweek.
John Carew continued his return from injury, replacing Emile Heskey in Aston Villa`s two all draw at Crystal Palace. The Norwegian saw two shots thwarted by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni. Villa forced a replay with a late goal from a corner , that should not have been given. Carew will be hoping to reinvigorate himself ahead of testing times for the Birmingham club , with a league cup final against Manchester United looming.
Thomas Sorensen kept moneybags Man City at bay and ensured his Stoke side earned a replay after a credible one all draw at Eastlands. Stoke will prove a stern test for Roberto Mancini`s men when they renew adversaries at one of the hardest grounds to visit in England, the Britannia stadium.
Sebastian Larsson featured as Birmingham City grabbed a late winner to beat Derby County 2-1 and advance to the quarter finals of the prestigious cup competition. Despite Larsson producing one of hi finer performances of late, he will still be unhappy at been subbed yet again.
Fulham crushed Notts County 4nil to reach the quarter final stage in what was County`s first match post Sven Goran Eriksson. David Elm continued his fine form of late, providing a flick that assisted Bobby Zamora`s second goal. The Cottagers had two Scandinavians starting and a further three on the bench. Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel was the unlucky man tasked with keeping the score down.
In League one Casper Ankergren`s Leeds United side fought valiantly to rescue a point at Leyton Orient. Having conceded a late goal the Dane`s team battled hard and it paid off as a last minute equaliser came in the form of an own goal.
Leon Andreasen endured a nightmare as Hannover 96 went down 5-1 at home to Werder Bremen. As if the embarrassment wasn’t enough, the Norwegian had to bow his head even further after sticking the ball in his own net.
Swedish striker Marcus Berg found his shooting boots again. He bagged the first goal but Ruud Van Nistelrooy stole the show as Hamburg eased to a 3-1 away win at Stuttgart. `
Fellow Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic also managed to notch a goal but he was unable to prevent his Barcelona side from slipping to their first defeat of the season, as the Catalan giants went down 2-1 at Athletico Madrid.
Ola Toivonen joined his fellow countrymen on the scoresheet. The Swede scored the only goal as PSV earned a hard fought victory over Heracles. Toivonen has been a revelation this season.
Elsewhere in Holland, Swedish defenders Fredrik Stenman and Andreas Granqvist both scored as Groningen grinded out a 2-1 home victory over struggling RKC Waalwijk.
Sami Hyypia and His Leverkusen side ran out 2-1 winners at Wolfsburg, the victory was enough to put the Finn`s side back on top .
John Arne Riise sealed a 4-1 for Roma over Palermo with a fine strike. Riise`s form this season has been a far cry from that of last year and he is a perfect fit in a spirited Roma side. Riise believes that his efforts this season has seen fans of the Giallorossi renew the faith they originally showed in him , “I always give my all and the fans have recognised this “.
Thomas Rogne did not make his Celtic debut against Aberdeen. The Norwegian was expected to debut after a fine performance against Hearts in midweek. Celtic threw away a 4-2 lead in a pulsating tie that finished 4 all. Morten Rasmussen came on as a sub but failed to get on the score sheet.A three nil victory for Rangers on Sunday over Hibernian saw them extend the gap over Celtic at the top to ten points.
Dennis Rommedahl scored the first goal that set Ajax on course for a two nil away win at Heerenveen. Norwegian midfielder Christian Grindheim was sent off for the hosts and the Amsterdam side sealed tthe win late on.
Rasmus Elm proved he too can score goals just like his brother David, who scored in midweek for Fulham. Rasmus scored a stunning free kick from 25 yards out to secure a 2-0 win for reigning Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar over Roda Jc.
Daniel Braaten bagged a late equaliser for Toulouse as they stumbled to a one all draw with Lorient.