This week marked the last group of matches before the annual month-long Tippeligaen summer break, ten of the league’s sides in action, all desperate to pick up last-minute important points.
All but one of the week’s games were played on Monday evening, the biggest, and, quite frankly, most surprising, result being Stabæk’s incredible 4-1 win at home to Lillestrøm, the victory marking the first time Stabæk have won all season, as well as it being their first league win since the 2nd of October last year. Even more incredibly, all of the game’s goals came within the first twenty minutes, giving the home fans plenty to cheer about early on. Torstein Aase scored his first goal of the season after only three minutes to put the home side ahead, before Lillestrøm’s Erling Knudtzon got his first of this season as well when he equalised seven minutes later. Stabæk hit back quickly though, Fredrik Brustad scoring two goals in as many minutes five minutes later to make it 3-1 before a superbly placed Vegar Hedenstad free kick furthered Stabæk’s lead to 4-1, wrapping up all three points with over seventy minutes still to play.
In a game that saw Sandnes Ulf’s Zymer Bytyqi become the youngest ever Tippeligaen player at only fifteen years, eight months and fifteen days of age, Haugesund extended their unbeaten record to eleven games when they beat Sandnes Ulf 2-0 at the Sandnes Idrettspark. Goals from the fantastic attacking partnership of Alexander Søderlund and Nikola Đurđić after thirty-two minutes and sixty-eight minutes, respectively, earned the side their third win in their last five games, ensuring that they go into the summer break in third place, just two points behind leaders Molde.
Molde could only manage a 1-1 draw with Hønefoss in their last game before the break, the side entering the break in top place, but only just; Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men have played one more game than second place Strømgodset and have scored only two more goals than their nearest rivals. The draw was the first time that Molde haven’t won in six games, whilst the point was Hønefoss’ second in a row, as well as their second consecutive 1-1 draw. Hønefoss had the chance to go ahead after only ten minutes when Molde defender Even Hovland fouled Joachim Magnussen in the box, but Rune Bolseth was unable to beat Espen Bugge Pettersen from the penalty spot. Davy Angan scored his ninth goal of the season twelve minutes later to put Molde ahead and to become the league’s top goalscorer, but Rune Bolseth made up for penalty miss just before half time, evening up the scores and saving a point for the home side. After a very impressive first twelve games, Hønefoss go into the summer break in sixth place, seven points behind Molde and on equal points with Norwegian giants Rosenborg.
Monday’s final game saw Tromsø win 2-0 against Brann thanks to a brace from Czech striker Zdenek Ondrášek at a heavily snow-covered Alfheim Stadion. Ondrášek scored one goal in each half, the win taking Tromsø above Rosenborg and into fourth place, the side three points ahead after playing one more game, helped in recent weeks by Rosenborg’s poor form as of late, the Trondheim-based club with only one league win in their last five matches, not to mention the fact that they have failed to score in their last 271 minutes of competitive football.
In the last game before the start of the summer break, Fredrikstad finally picked up their first win since their 5-1 thrashing of Stabæk almost exactly two months ago when they beat a poor Viking side 3-0 to move just two points behind nearest rivals Lillestrøm. Despite missing players due to international duty, including, arguably, two of their best players, Tarik Elyounoussi and Etzaz Hussain, it only took thirteen minutes for former Sogndal player Ole Halvorsen to put the home side ahead with his first goal of the season, Simen Rafn then making it 2-0 seven minutes before the whistle blew for half time. Senegalese youngster Mouhamed Gueye ensured the victory after seventy-three minutes when he, like two before him, scored his first goal of the season also, rounding off a fantastic performance from a weakened Fredrikstad side, the victory surely filling the club with confidence and hope that they can pull themselves out of the relegation zone when they return from their summer break.
As we enter the summer break, Molde stand on top of the table with twenty-five points, equal on points with Strømgodset who have played one less game, with Haugesund in third, two points behind them both. Tromsø move up to fourth with twenty-one points, Rosenborg dropping to fifth with eighteen, equal on points with sixth place Hønefoss. The middle of the table remains as tight as ever; seventh place Aalesund, eighth place Vålerenga, ninth place Sandnes Ulf and tenth place Viking all have fourteen points – although Vålerenga have only played ten games so far this season – whilst eleventh place Brann, twelfth place Odd Grenland and thirteenth place Sogndal are all only one point behind them. Despite going three games unbeaten, Lillestrøm’s loss sees them enter the break in fourteenth, one place outside of the relegation zone and just two points in front of fifteenth place Fredrikstad. Stabæk remain bottom of the table but their first win of the season means that they now have four points, and they’ll be looking to continue the positive signs they showed in their win over Lillestrøm when they return to action towards the end of June.