The May 16th Round is one of the most anticipated rounds of the Norwegian football season. Played the day before Norway’s Constitution Day, it is often referred to as “the national day of football” and year in, year out attracts huge, enthusiastic crowds.
However, instead of joy and excitement, this year’s May 16th Round saw scenes of sadness and pain as football fans and players alike paid their respects to the former Stabæk defender Tor Marius Gromstad who was found dead at the age of 22 on Monday morning after going missing thirty-six hours earlier. As a result, Stabæk’s game against Vålerenga was postponed, the fourteen other teams still in action but all visibly upset and shocked by this terrible tragedy that happened to a talented footballer who’s life ended far too early.
The quality of football on the pitch was incredible though, a fitting tribute to Tor Marius Gromstad, and Round Nine saw a major shake up of positions in the top half of the table, the most prominent being Strømgodset’s return to the top after Rosenborg’s first defeat of the season at the hands of Hønefoss, who saw themselves jump from twelfth to sixth after a single 87th minute goal from Christoffer Dahl – who had only come on as a substitute ten minutes earlier – secured their first league win in three games.
Strømsgodset took advantage of Rosenborg’s defeat by beating Tromsø 2-0, 21-year-old Anders Konradsen scoring his first goal of the season to put his side ahead after only two minutes of play. Øyvind Storflor then got Strømgodset’s second and secured their place at the top of the table just before the hour mark, sending Strømgodset two points clear of Rosenborg and one clear of Molde.
Two goals in either half from Davy Angan (his sixth and seventh of the season, respectively, not to mention the second league game in a row that he has scored twice) sent reigning champions Molde up to second place in the table, two points ahead of Rosenborg, after they pulled off a comfortable win at home to Fredrikstad, the away side now without a win in over a month and a half, their last victory being a 5-1 thrashing at home to Stabæk at the start of April. The defeat sends Fredrikstad down from fourteenth to fifteenth into the relegation zone, one point behind Lillestrøm.
After nine attempts, Lillestrøm finally managed to grab their first win of the season, a 2-1 away win against Viking sending them out of the relegation zone and into fourteenth position. Despite their poor overall performances, Icelandic striker Björn Sigurðarson has been fantastic upfront for Lillestrøm, and two goals an hour apart saw his goal tally for the season reach six in nine appearances, one more than he managed last season in twenty games. The young Icelander put the away side ahead after only three minutes, doubling their lead after sixty-five minutes before substitute Bjørn Andersson pulled one back for Viking, but the home side were unable to initiate a comeback, the loss sending them down to eleventh place, just one point in front of Brann.
After a nightmare start to the season, Brann’s fortunes have improved dramatically since the start of May, the side unbeaten in all competitions so far this month, and they managed to showcase that good fortune in perfect style on the perfect day to do so, beating Sogndal 5-0 in a game that saw five different goal scorers for the Bergen side. It took until the second half for Brann to go ahead, but once the floodgates had opened, the red onslaught never stopped. Chukwuma Akabueze got the first after fifty minutes before Erik Mjelde made it 2-0 five minutes later. It was then made 3-0 on the hour mark by Kim Ojo before Kristoffer Barmen made it 4-0 moments later, wrapping up a perfect ten minutes for the home supporters. It took almost half an hour for Brann to find a fifth, but Amin Askar made sure that there was no way back for Sogndal when he made it 5-0 in the 91st minute, the new signing from Fredrikstad scoring his fourth goal of the season already in what has been a magnificent start to his Brann career.
Like Hønefoss, it was also a good May 16th for the other newly promoted side Sandnes Ulf, a 2-2 draw away to Odd Grenland seeing them move up to seventh place, equal on points with both Hønefoss and Vålerenga and just two points behind Tromsø. On a day that saw three out of seven games’ opening goals come in the first five minutes, Torgeir Børven put Odd Grenland ahead after only two, Morten Fevang then making it 2-0 from the penalty spot half an hour later. Kamal Saaliti pulled one back for Sandnes Ulf four minutes before the whistle blew for half time before Aksel Skjølsvik secured the draw for the away side ten minutes after the restart with a penalty kick of his own.
The last game of the day was an action-packed six goal thriller between Haugesund and Aalesund, the former winning 4-2 to move up to fourth, whilst the latter dropped down to thirteenth, equal on points with twelfth place Brann. A first half Nikola Đurđić hat-trick saw the home side go into the break 3-0 ahead, the Serbians first coming after twenty-seven minutes from the penalty spot before he doubled his tally just two minutes later, his hat-trick then being completed moments before the whistle went for half-time. It only took Haugesund six minutes to make it 4-0, former Bodø/Glimt midfielder Michael Haukås scoring his first goal for the club to pretty much secure all three points. However, two goals in five minutes only five minutes after Haukås’ goal saw Aalesund make it 4-2 with half an hour to play, new signing Tremaine Stewart scoring his first goal for Aalesund after fifty-six minutes before Daniel Arnefjord got his third of the season five minutes later. It wasn’t to bed enough though, Haugesund holding on to move up above Tromsø to fourth and remain unbeaten in eight games.
At the end of Round Nine, Strømsgodset lead the way once again with nineteen points after winning six out of nine matches, Molde just one point behind them in second after managing the same. Rosenborg drop from first to third with sixteen points after their defeat to Hønefoss, and they see themselves now equal on points with fourth place Haugesund. Tromsø drop to fifth with fifteen points, two points ahead of sixth, seventh and eighth place Hønefoss, Sandnes Ulf and Vålerenga. Odd Grenland stay in ninth with twelve points, whilst a third defeat in a row sees Sogndal drop to tenth with twelve points, the side being in second place with the same amount of points at the start of the month. Viking drop from tenth to eleventh with eleven points after their loss at home to Lillestrøm, and Brann’s 5-0 thrashing of Sogndal sees them move just one point behind them in twelfth place, equal on points with thirteenth place Aalesund. Lillestrøm move out of the relegation zone and into fourteenth with seven points after their first win of the season, Fredrikstad taking their place in fifteenth with six points after losing their