Bendtner gets hat trick as Denmark beats US 3-2 in friendly
AARHUS, Denmark (AP) — Nicklas Bendtner completed his first international hat trick with an injury-time winner as Denmark beat the United States 3-2 in a friendly on Wednesday.
Bendtner had equalized twice to cancel out Jozy Altidore’s opener in the 19th minute and Aron Johannsson’s strike in the second half before driving home Denmark’s third goal in added time.
“It was a bit frustrating that we had to leave the field empty-handed, especially because we lost in the last minute,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “A tie would have been a fair result.” Denmark had the game’s first chance in the 15th minute when Bendtner narrowly missed after being picked out by Michael Krohn-Dehli.
However, the United States was still making the better start and Altidore put the visitors ahead with his 27th goal in 79 games, a left-foot shot following a long cross.
Denmark leveled in the 33rd when Jakob Poulsen’s cross missed Lasse Vibe — but was pounced on by Bendtner. The Danes controlled much of the game after the equalizer but struggled to find a finishing touch despite enjoying plenty of possession.
At the other end, though Altidore had a hard time getting free of the close marking by defender Simon Kjaer, the United States was still able to restore its lead in the 66th minute.
Michael Bradley passed to Altidore, who got behind Daniel Wass and calmly sent over a cross for Johannsson to score on his old home turf.
The AZ Alkmaar striker started his professional career with AGF in Aarhus in 2010, scoring 23 goals in 65 appearances. The Danish club plays at the NRGi Park stadium in Denmark’s second largest city.
Bendtner came to the Danes’ rescue with an equalizer in the 83rd minute and then powered the winner past goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the first minute of stoppage time, to the joy of the 10,505 fans.
Ahead of the friendly, Klinsmann had ruled out team captain Clint Dempsey, who has a right hamstring strain.
Wednesday’s game was the first of several friendlies for the U.S. ahead of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The team later will play Switzerland, the Netherlands and World Cup holder Germany.
It was Denmark’s first game of the year, before facing Euro 2016 host France in another friendly on Sunday in Saint-Etienne.