ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish-affiliated Swedish football club Dalkurd FF put their relegation woes behind them with a 2-0 win against Eskilsminne IF in the first group match of the Svenska Cupen on Monday at the Olympiafältet Stadium in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Midfielder Ferhad Ayaz put Dalkurd in the lead early in the match after his third minute strike. Second-half substitute Peshraw Azizi added a second goal late in the match to secure the win.
Ahead of Monday’s match, Dalkurd head coach Paul Olausson said his team were “mentally prepared” and had “taken a step forward” following their relegation from Sweden’s top tier, the Allsvenskan League.
The Svenska Cupen (Sweden Cup) is a knockout competition where teams across Sweden’s lower and top divisions compete for the Gustaf VI Adolf Cup. The winner also gets a spot in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League qualifying stages.
Dalkurd notably came from behind to beat Karlbergs BK 2-1 after extra time in August to qualify for the group stage of the Cup.
There are 32 teams left, seeded into eight groups. The winner of each group will advance to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
The Kurdish-affiliated club’s next match is against Varbergs BoIS on Feb. 24 before they take on Hammarby IF on March 4.
Based in the Swedish city of Borlänge, Dalkurd was founded on Sept. 26, 2004, by nine Kurdish immigrants as a social project. The club has since built academies in both Sweden and the Kurdistan Region.
The team’s colors are symbolic of Kurdistan, with the Kurdish flag included in the crest on their shirts.
Dalkurd had bull-dozed its way up the ranks of Swedish football since its 2005 introduction in Tier Seven, winning five promotions in its first five seasons.
However, after a string of poor results in Sweden’s top division, Dalkurd were relegated on the last day of the season, finishing in 15th place with 24 points (6W-6D-18L). They will play in Sweden’s second division, the Superettan, when the season begins at the end of March.