Tippeligaen Weekly Round Up – Round 6

by Ben Cullimore

TippeligaenAnyone who has any interest at all in Norwegian football will be well aware that Tippeligaen is a bipolar league, to say the least. One team may be dominating one week, then losing horribly to the newly promoted minnows the next. This has never been more true than in the case of reigning champions Molde and their awful start to the 2013 season, but the madness hasn’t been confined to just them. Oh no…

Rosenborg, arguably fielding the strongest side in Tippeligaen, started the season with three consecutive victories. Since then, they’ve gone on to fail to win in their last three, thanks to a 1-1 draw with newly promoted Start, a 3-1 defeat to Haugesund and this week’s 1-0 loss at home to Sandnes Ulf, a side who have yet to win, or score more than two goals, at home this season. Steinþor þorsteinsson scored the game’s only goal 23 minutes into the first half, but Aksel Skjølsvik could have doubled the away side’s lead when he missed a 65th minute penalty kick after substitute Fredrik Torsteinbø was brought down in front of goal by Tore Reginiussen, leading to a straight red card for the captain. Pushing for an equaliser, things went from bad to worse for Rosenborg when, with mere moments left to play, they were reduced to nine men after Danish striker Nicki Bille Nielsen received his second yellow card after clashing with Sandnes Ulf goalkeeper Sean McDermott. The hot-blooded Dane proceeded to rip his shirt in two in frustration as he left the field, fittingly summing up Rosenborg’s situation as of late.

It was another disappointing week for reigning champions Molde too, who remain bottom of the table with just one point after they lost for the fifth time already this season, the time 2-1 at home to last season’s second-place finishers, and one of the favourites for this year’s title, Strømsgodset. Lars Vilsvik put the visitors 1-0 ahead against a makeshift defence plagued by injury after 30 minutes, before Mohammed Keita doubled the scoreline nine minutes into the second half. Daniel Chima, who has been forced to take over the role of Molde’s leading striker following the departure of the impressive Davy Claude Angan to Chinese club Hangzhou Greentown, finally scored his first goal of the season with seven minutes left to play, but it was too late and Strømsgodset held on to win their fourth league match of 2013.

The win also moved Strømsgodset equal on points with leaders Aalesund after they lost for the first time this season against former manager Kjetil Rekdal and his Vålerenga side on Saturday afternoon. Mohammed Fellah put Vålerenga ahead just three minutes before the break and Mostafa Abdellaoue made it 2-0 just before the hour mark. Fredrik Ulvestad pulled one back for Aalesund from the penalty spot after 83 minutes but it wasn’t enough as Vålerenga’s lead remained until the final whistle and ended their poor run of three consecutive league defeats.

The win of the weekend went to Viking who emphatically beat Sogndal 4-1 at home to move them up to third in the table, just one point behind both Strømsgodset and Aalesund. Yann Erik de Lanlay and Patrik Ingelsten hit the back of the net early to give the hosts a 2-0 lead after only 10 minutes, but substitute Azar Karadas pulled one back for Sogndal eleven minutes into second half. However, all hopes of a Sogndal comeback were singlehandedly ruined by Trond Olsen when he stuck twice in injury time to record Viking’s biggest league win since they beat Odd by the same scoreline last August.

Odd dropped into the relegation zone after losing 2-0 to Brann on Friday evening thanks to a goal in either half from Erik Huseklepp, moving the Bergen-based side up to fourth in the table. Odd, meanwhile, are now without a win in their last three games and sit three points ahead of bottom-of-the-table Molde and one point behind 14th place Sogndal and 13th place Hønefoss, after the latter drew 1-1 with 11th place Sarpsborg 08 this weekend.

Tromsø ended three games without a win when they won 2-1 at home to a Haugesund side that had previously won their last three in a row before this weekend. They went into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to Remi Johansen’s 20th minute opener, before Zdeněk Ondrášek scored their second after 62 minutes. Danish defender Henrik Kildentoft scored his first goal for Haugesund since his move from Nordsjælland with little over 10 minutes left to play, but it would prove to only be a consolation goal as Tromsø held on to win.

Lillestrøm were also victorious, their third time so far this season, when they came back from behind twice to beat Start 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. Jorge Castro put the newly promoted side ahead after 22 minutes but Pálmi Pálmason responded almost immediately for Lillestrøm when he fired in three minutes later. His fellow Icelander Matthías Vilhjálmsson put Start back ahead four minutes before half time with his second goal of the season, but their lead would be short-lived again, however, as two goals in three minutes from Petter Vaagan Moen and Thorstein Helstad early in the second half put Lillestrøm 3-2 ahead. Start were then reduced to 10 men with quarter of an hour left to play when Babacar Sarr received his second yellow card of the match, all but ending any hopes of a push for another lead.

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