Tippeligaen Weekly Round Up – Round 19

by Ben Cullimore

Tippeligaen 2012The gap between leaders Rosenborg and second-place Strømsgodset remains just two points after the two sides drew 2-2 when they met in Drammen on Sunday afternoon. The visitors went ahead after half-an-hour through Tore Reginiussen, but Ola Kamara equalised for Strømsgodset just two minutes later, and Øyvind Storflor put the hosts ahead themselves nine minutes into the second half when he scored for the second consecutive league game.

However, Rosenborg fought back and John Chibuike salvaged a point for them with little under 20 minutes left to play to keep them in pole position and in full control going into the final third of the season.

Strømsgodset’s dropping of points meant that Aalesund would be able to close the gap between them to five points if they were victorious at home to Sarpsborg 08. And that’s exactly what they did, comfortably beating the struggling side 3-1, thanks to a first-half goal from Abderrazak Hamdallah, and second-half goals from Jo Nymo Matland and Fredrik Ulvestad.

The win also furthered the gap between them and fourth-place Viking to three points, after the latter were held to a draw for the second week in a row when they drew 1-1 away to seventh-place Odd on Saturday.

Benjamin Sulimani, who has now scored in each of his first three games for the club, put Viking ahead shortly after the hour mark, but Fredrik Semb Berge equalised in the last minute to help Odd avoid only their second defeat in their last eight league games after embarking on a fantastic midseason turnaround that has seen them slowly but surely climb into the top half of the table.

Viking now sit just one point ahead of Haugesund, who won for the second week in a row this weekend when they beat Hønefoss 1-0, thanks to a 12th-minute goal from Danish striker Christian Gytkjær, his first for almost three months.

Brann’s descent towards the middle of the table continued this weekend when their winless streak was extended to five games, thanks to a 1-1 draw against Lillestrøm in the opening game of the round on Friday evening.

The game almost ended in a defeat for the Bergensers, as the visitors went into the final 10 minutes 1-0 up after Bjorn Helge Riise had put them ahead four minutes before half time, but Amin Askar equalised with eight minutes left to play to save them from their third straight defeat and their ninth of the season.

At the bottom of the table, Start, who started the weekend bottom of the table, climbed out of the relegation zone after winning only their fourth league game of the season, and their first since the middle of May.

They did so comfortably, and against the most unlikely of opponents, beating eighth-place Vålerenga 3-1 to condemn them to their first league defeat since their 2-1 loss to Rosenborg at the end of May.

Start now sit in the relegation play-off spot in 14th place, one point ahead of Sarpsborg 08, who drop into the relegation zone as a result of Start’s victory, and two points ahead of Hønefoss, who are now bottom of the table after suffering a fourth straight defeat and failing to win for the eighth consecutive league game.

As for Sarpsborg 08, this weekend’s 3-1 loss to Aalesund was their sixth defeat in a row, and last season’s Adeccoligaen runners-up have now only managed to win once in their last 11 games, picking up just four points in the process. They face a home clash against a Sogndal side that haven’t won since the end of June next weekend, and victory there is vital if they are to avoid slipping further towards the bottom of the table, and further towards life back in the second tier.

Tromsø are another side who are in trouble, and they are now just three points clear of the relegation play-off spot after they were beaten 2-1 away from home by Sandnes Ulf, thanks to a last-minute winning goal from Fredrik Torsteinbø.

The win moves Sandnes Ulf, whose impressive recent turnaround has seen them win four times in their last five games, one place above and one point ahead of last season’s fourth-place finishers, who now haven’t won in the league since the end of June.

Sandnes Ulf are also now just one point behind 11th-place Sogndal, who lost an early 1-0 lead and ended up being beaten 2-1 by Molde on Saturday afternoon, thanks to two goals in three minutes from Joona Toivio and Tommy Høiland, with the latter’s goal being his first for the club since his move from Sandnes Ulf last month.

Molde are now in ninth place after winning for the second week in a row, and trail next weekend’s opponents Odd by just one point.

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