After seven miserable matches in which they were only able to collect a measly two points, Molde finally won for the first time this week. The reigning champions did it in some fashion too, beating Aalesund, who had started the season so strongly, 4-1 in the Møre og Romsdal derby on Thursday evening.
The four goals scored were almost as many as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side had managed in their seven previous matches, and their dismal record of never scoring more than one goal in a league game in 2013 was ended by the 35th minute, thanks to two fantastic free kicks from Joona Toivio and Magnus Wolff Eikrem. The visitors pulled a goal back seven minutes into the second half through leading goalscorer Michael Barrantes, but Molde replied 11 minutes later and wrapped up the win with a double in four minutes from Jo Inge Berget.
The victory ended with a nod to the future as 15-year-old Sander Svendsen (one of two 15-year-olds who made their Tippeligaen debuts this week) was brought on for Molde with three minutes left to play. Despite finally picking up their first three points of the season, Molde still remain bottom of the Tippeligaen table, but there’s no doubt that the win, especially one as comfortable, at least on paper, as this, will have lifted a considerable weight off their shoulders and could well kick-start some sort of comeback after a horrendous start to the season. As for Aalesund, the defeat leaves them in fourth place with fourteen points after their recent slump in form has ruined their fantastic start to 2013.
Taking Aalesund’s second place spot at the end of Round 8 is Brann, thanks to their 2-0 win in the pouring rain at home to 11th place Start. The former have played five games at home this season and won all five – scoring ten goals and only conceding one in the process – whilst they have lost all three of their games away from Brann Stadion, scoring just once. Despite this inconsistency, Thursday evening’s win, which saw Tomasz Sokolowski and Amin Askar score, put the Bergen-based side just two points behind leaders Strømsgodset and one point ahead of both third place Rosenborg and Aalesund. Like Molde, Brann also gave their fans a glimpse at the future when they brought on Håkon Lorentzen at the end of the game for the 15-year-old’s first Tippeligaen appearance.
League leaders Strømsgodset’s four-game winning streak was ended by 14th place Odd when the two sides met at Skagerak Arena in Skien. Herolind Shala opened the scoring for Odd, who have only won twice so far this season, with a minute left to play of the first half, and the visitors were unable to find an equaliser until the 71st minute when Adama Diomandé scored his second goal in as many games.
As for Rosenborg, they ended a poor run of four games without a win with a 2-1 victory at home to a Tromsø side who have yet to find their form this season, leaving them in 9th place with 10 points. Defender Stefan Strandberg opened the scoring after 19 minutes before Tarik Elyounoussi doubled Rosenborg’s lead five minutes before half time when he poked in his fourth goal of the season after embarking on a lightning fast run through the middle of the flat-footed Tromsø defence. Zdeněk Ondrášek reduced the deficit to one goal 10 minutes after the restart but a strong Rosenborg side held on to win their first league match in over a month.
It’s been a fantastic season back in Tippeligaen for Sarpsborg 08 who are one of only two sides (the other being Strømsgodset) who have only lost one game so far. Things got better for them this week as they extended their unbeaten streak to four games and moved up to fifth place, just one point behind Aalesund, after they came back from behind twice to beat second-to-bottom-place Sandnes Ulf 3-2 at Sarpsborg Stadion. Tommy Høiland opened the scoring for the visitors after 22 minutes to give them a 1-0 lead at half time, before Guðmundur Þórarinsson tapped in an equaliser in the 54th minute after Sandnes Ulf’s Irish goalkeeper Sean McDermott fumbled Mohamed Elyounoussi’s shot into the path of the Icelander. Høiland then scored his second of the game and put Sandnes Ulf back in front just three minutes later, but Magnus Olsen equalised once again on the hour mark and former Lyon, Monaco and Auxerre left back Jérémy Berthod scored his first goal in Sarpsborg colours four minutes later to wrap up the win.
In the bottom half of the table, Hønefoss scored a late winner at Ullevaal Stadion to beat Vålerenga 2-1 on Wednesday evening. Mikkel Vendelbo put the visitors ahead just before half time after sloppy defending from Vålerenga allowed him to bundle the ball over the line, but Giancarlo González equalised for the Oslo side when he connected with Jan Lecjaks’ corner after 63 minutes. It looked as if both sides were going to have to settle for a draw before Vålerenga failed to clear an 88th minute Hønefoss corner and the ball found its way to former player Aleksander Solli, allowing the 23-year-old to half-volley the winning goal past a sea of blue shirts and a helpless Gudmund Kongshavn in the hosts’ goalmouth. The defeat condemns Vålerenga to 12th place, equal on points with Hønefoss and Start above them and Sogndal below them, and only one point ahead of 14th place Odd and 15th place Sandnes Ulf, who are in the relegation zone.
Lillestrøm and Sogndal had to share the points when the two sides met at Åråsen Stadion, despite the latter going 2-0 up after 37 minutes. Sogndal’s opener was scored by Hannu Patronen 22 minutes into the game after poor defending let Per Egil Flo’s corner bounce through to the Finnish defender, and their second goal quarter-of-an-hour later was scored by the head of Gustav Valsvik, thanks, again, to poor set-piece defending from the hosts. Lillestrøm found their way back into the game after the restart, however, and 19-year-old Ohi Omoijuanfo started the comeback 20 minutes in when his goal made it 2-1, and the draw was secured nine minutes later when Petter Vaagan Moen scored from the spot after Fredrik Gulbrandsen was controversially adjudged to have been brought down in the penalty area by Ulrik Flo. With tensions running high, Patronen was sent off with six minutes left to play after receiving his second yellow card in 10 minutes for a reckless challenge on Bjorn Helge Riise.
Sixth-place Viking and eighth-place Haugesund were also forced to share a point in their clash at Viking Stadion in Stavanger. Neither side were able to find the back of the net, despite Haugesund’s Christian Gytkær somehow being unable to convert an open goal chance from a mere few feet off the line in the second half. The draw means that the two sides remain just two points apart from one another, with Viking equal on points with Sarpsborg 08 and Haugesund equal with Lillestrøm.