Story by Richard Scott
Canadian centre back Derek Cornelius won his first league title with Malmö FF in Sweden on the final weekend of the 2023 Allsvenskan season. Cornelius helped Malmö FF clinch the title with a 1:0 home win over runners up IF Elfsborg on Sunday 12 November. With the win, Malmö FF jumped IF Elfsborg for first place tied on 64 points but with two goals better in goals difference (+35 to +33).
This was Cornelius’ first season in Sweden and he was the first Canadian outfield player since Atiba Hutchinson in 2005 to feature in more than 20 league matches. The Ajax, Ontario footballer is the first Canadian since goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos in 2018 to win the Allsvenskan and lift the championship trophy (Lennart Johanssons Pokal).
Cornelius has represented Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team since 2018 and he was part of the Canada squad that finished first in Concacaf to qualify for the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2022. He was just 15 years old when he debuted in the Canadian youth program in 2013. At the club level, he has played his football in Canada, Germany, Serbia, Greece and Sweden.
Malmö FF have now won three of the past four league titles, but they finished in seventh place in 2022 and improved from 46 to 64 points in 2023. Cornelius featured in 25 of Malmö’s 30 matches in 2023, including the 1:0 home finale against IF Elfsborg. With their 2023 title, Malmö FF also qualified for the second qualifying round of 2024-25 UEFA Champions League.
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