Alhassan Yusuf has told SCORENigeria Thursday’s Sweden Cup triumph was double joy for IFK Goteborg and their fans – besides winning the cup competition for the first time in 14 years, they achieved this milestone by stopping long-standing rivals Malmo.
It was IFK Goteborg’s seventh Sevenka Cupen to add to their 18 league titles, while Malmo have won the cup 14 times and the league on 20 occasions.
“It was great to win my first trophy in Europe, massive,” said the turbo-charged midfielder, who cut his football teeth at FC Hearts.
“But winning it at the expense of our arch-rivals Malmo made it a lot more special for both the team and the fans.”
IFK Goteborg fell behind to their rivals in the first half, before they fought back to draw level and take the game to extra time to win 2-1.
“We started badly, but we gradually came back into the game. Unfortunately, they still scored from a set piece,” he reported.
“Our character got us the equalizer.
“And in extra time, even with their experienced and quality players, we showed we were much, much fitter than them to score the winning goal and defend till the end.”
He dedicated his winners’ medal to his grandmother, who passed on in Kano this week.
“It’s for her. May her soul rest in peace,” he offered a prayer for the departed.
The two rivals – two of the most decorated clubs in Sweden – will again do battle on Sunday, when IFK welcome Malmo in continuation of the league.
“I hope winning the cup will give us the new energy to lift us back on track in the league,” ‘Hasse’ said.
“We have been playing well, but it’s the results that have not been forthcoming.
“We hope with this new energy we will have a turn around, so we will make sure we beat them again.”
Malmo are second in the league standings, 10 points clear of 11th-placed Goteborg after 11 rounds of matches.
What next for the Sweden Young Player of the Year 2019?
“Let’s see what comes up,” he said, not giving much away.
Could the cup triumph have been a fitting send-off for the highly-rated midfielder, who is on the radar of many top clubs across Europe?
The answer will likely be in the next few months…