Tippeligaen Weekly Round Up – Round 10

by Ben Cullimore

Strømsgodset 2013With last weekend treating us to 24 goals, this week’s Tippeligaen action would have to be pretty special if it was to surpass the excitement of Round 9. Well, with 25 goals scored, May 16th – always a special day due to the round being played the day before Norway’s Constitution Day – sure did deliver!

Unfortunately, May 16th wouldn’t prove to be as good for Molde as it was last year when they beat Fredrikstad 2-0 to extend their winning streak to three games (they would go on to be unbeaten for seven games during a streak that lasted from the start of May to the end of June, and they won six times during it), as this year they were mercilessly beaten 5-1 by Haugesund in front of a home crowd of almost 9,000. The visitors went ahead after only a minute through Christian Gytkær, and despite Molde equalising just five minutes later thanks to a first league goal from Kristoffer Vatshaug, Haugesund went into the half time break 2-1 ahead as a result of Gytkær scoring his second after 42 minutes. The reigning champions crumbled after the break and Alexander Søderlund made it 3-1 after only two minutes, before Michael Haukås scored his first goal of the season twelve minutes later and Gytkær wrapped up his hat trick from the penalty spot with six minutes left to play. With a third of the season played, Molde remain bottom of the table with only one win out of 10 games and are now 17 points behind league leaders Strømsgodset. Haugesund, on the other hand, move up to fifth place after winning their second consecutive game, and extend their unbeaten run to three games.

Last year’s seventh-place finishers now sit equal on points with both fourth-place Aalesund and sixth-place Viking after neither side were victorious this week. Aalesund lost 2-0 away to Brann to surrender their spot to the Bergensers, whose unbeaten home record continues. The win would prove to be particularly special for eighteen-year-old local lad Bård Finne who is rapidly blossoming into a fantastic young talent, as he put his side ahead on the stroke of half time. Icelandic defender Birkir Sævarsson then doubled their lead seven minutes after the break and scored what would prove to be the final goal of the game.

Viking, meanwhile, were held to a goalless draw by Hønefoss who sit just two points clear of the relegation zone after only managing to win twice in the opening third of the season. They remain equal on points with fourteenth-place Sandnes Ulf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot, after they too were held to a draw when they faced Lillestrøm at Åråsen Stadion. They had to fight for the point, however, as the hosts went 2-0 up one minute into the second half thanks to a 29th minute opener from Pálmi Pálmason and a third goal in three games for Ohi Omoijuanfo. Sandnes Ulf hit back ten minutes later though through Marius Helle, and Tommy Høiland, the club’s leading goalscorer so far this year, saved his side from a fifth defeat with the equalising goal 13 minutes later. Now without a win in their last four games, Sandnes Ulf are on the poorest recent run of any Tippeligaen side.

Odd have also been in poor form recently and have been consistently hanging around, or in, the relegation zone since the start of the season. They remain in second-to-bottom-place for another round after they were beaten 1-0 by Start. Rolf Daniel Vikstøl scored the only goal of the game on the hour mark to leave Odd without a win in their last three outings and move his side up to ninth after a poor run of five games without a win. Despite almost being in the top half of the table, Start are equal on points with Lillestrøm, Sogndal and Vålerenga below them, as well as being only one point behind both Sarpsborg 08 and Tromsø in front of them, after an evenly fought first third of the season has left the middle of the table awfully close.

In the heart of the battle to pull themselves out of the bottom half of the table are Vålerenga who currently sit in twelfth place after they bounced back from two poor defeats to beat Tromsø 2-0 at home. Goals in either half from Morten Berre and André Muri moved them to within a point of their opponents, despite there being three teams separating them.

Sogndal also find themselves in the heart of the bottom half of the table after going three games unbeaten (with two of those being victories), and a win this weekend would have moved them up to seventh place but leaders Strømsgodset rained on their parade and instead extended their own unbeaten run to eight games. 19-year-old Ghanaian Bismark Adjei-Boateng opened the scoring after only three minutes for the leaders and gave them a 1-0 advantage going into the half time break. Stefan Johansen then doubled their lead 10 minutes after the restart before Malick Mane pulled a goal back for Sogndal with his second in as many games, but Adjei-Boateng was on hand to extend Strømsgodset’s lead to two goals again when he doubled his tally almost instantly after the restart.

Strømsgodset’s lead at the top of the table remains only three points after Rosenborg were victorious for the third time in a row. They beat Sarpsborg 08 4-2 at home this week, thanks to a hat trick from Nicki Bille Nielsen to bring his tally for the season up to five. The Dane put the hosts 2-0 up just after the half-hour mark with two goals in two minutes, but Magnus Sylling Olsen and Guðmundur Þórarinsson hit back in the first half of the second period to make the scores level once again. It looked like the game might end at 2-2 as the final whistle approached but Tarik Elyounoussi, ever the game-changer, put Rosenborg back ahead after 84 minutes before winning a penalty four minutes later which Bille Nielsen converted for his hat trick.

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