Tippeligaen Weekly Round Up – Round 9

by Ben Cullimore

TippeligaenAfter having their four-game winning streak ended by Odd on Thursday evening when the two sides drew 1-1 at Skagerak Arena in Skien, Tippeligaen leaders Strømsgodset picked up their sixth win of the season on Sunday when they beat Brann 2-0 at home in Drammen. Brann’s away record this season has been dreadful, with the Bergen-based side losing all four of their games away from Brann Stadion this year, and this weekend’s loss, thanks to an unfortunate own-goal from local boy Henrik Gjerstad after 20 minutes and a diving header from Adama Diomandé 21 minutes later, condemns them to fifth place with 15 points after their midweek victory at home to Start moved them up to second.

Molde finally won their first game of the season on Thursday in fine fashion when they beat Aalesund 4-1 in the Møre og Romsdal derby, but the latter bounced back in even more impressive style when they thrashed Lillestrøm a whopping 7-1 at home on Monday evening to reclaim second spot. The disappointment for the visitors started after only two minutes when Isak Scheel put the ball into the back of his own net, and despite Ohi Omoijuanfo scoring his second goal in as many games to even the scoreline just four minutes later, Aalesund’s absolute domination started soon after with both Leke James and Michael Barrantes hitting the post one after another, before the former put the hosts ahead with four minutes of the first half remaining and Fredrik Ulvestad made it 3-1 six minutes later. The Aalesund onslaught continued just before the hour mark when Fredrik Carlsen scored his first league goal since April 2010, and a hat trick from February signing Abderrazak Hamdallah (with his first coming from the penalty spot) wrapped up the perfect win for Aalesund and the biggest home win in Tippeligaen since, ironically, Lillestrøm thrashed Stabæk 6-0 last season.

Tromsø also won in emphatic fashion this weekend when they slaughtered Sarpsborg 08 5-0 in front of 4,000 fans at Alfheim Stadion. They only managed to score once in the first half, however, with the lone goal coming from Magnus Andersen after 26 minutes, but Remi Johansen and Zdeněk Ondrášek both scored to put Tromsø 3-0 up with little over an hour played, before Johansen scored again after 77 minutes and substitute Stefan Nystrøm joined in the fun moments after entering the field of play in the 90th minute to complete an outstanding win for a side who seem to be slowly but surely finding their feet this season. As for Sarpsborg 08, the defeat is only their second in the league this year and leaves them on equal points with Tromsø in eighth place after an impressive start to the season, but manager Brian Deane will have to be careful that the excessive nature of this weekend’s loss doesn’t affect his players too much and hinders what could potentially be a fantastic season for them back in the top tier.

In third place lie Rosenborg who are now unbeaten in their last three games after they beat Hønefoss 2-1 away from home on Monday. Nicki Bille Nielsen opened the scoring shortly after the half-hour mark, before Tarik Elyounoussi, who had provided Bille Nielsen with the cross that he had converted, doubled Rosenborg’s lead with his fifth league goal of the season with two minutes of the first half remain. Mats Kaland pulled one back for Hønefoss five minutes after the restart but they were unable to capitalise on the 24-year-old’s goal and went on to suffer their first league defeat in just under a month, leaving them just one point outside the relegation zone in 11th place at the end of Round 9.

Viking moved up to fourth place – just one point behind both Aalesund and Rosenborg – when they beat Start 2-1 at Sør Arena, condemning the Kristiansand side to their fifth league game without a win after being unbeaten in their first four of the season. It was the hosts who went ahead first, however, when Espen Hoff headed them into the lead after 26 minutes, but Trond Olsen equalised for Viking on the stroke of half time. With it looking like the game might end as a second consecutive draw for the visitors, Babacar Sarr accidentally fired into his own net in the 92nd minute to gift Viking their fifth win of the season and send his side down to 12th place, dangerously near the relegation zone.

At the bottom of the table, 11th place Hønefoss, 12th place Start, 13th place Vålerenga, and 14th Sandnes Ulf all sit on nine points after nine games, with Sandnes Ulf being the only side to pick up any points this weekend. They did so against Molde, drawing 0-0 with the reigning champions who looked as if they might be able to capitalise on their first win of the season during the week against Aalesund but were unable to when the two sides met at Sandnes Idrettspark. Hønefoss, Start and Vålerenga all suffered defeats, and the latter were handed their sixth this season – the most of any side so far – when they lost 1-0 to sixth-place Haugesund, thanks to an 82nd minute Alexander Søderlund goal.

In the relegation zone in 15th place sit Odd with eight points, just two ahead of Molde, after they lost 2-0 away to Sogndal on Sunday. Malick Mane put the hosts ahead two minutes before the break with a beautifully hit curling free kick, and substitute Eirik Skaasheim poked away the ball after a scramble in the box with 10 minutes left to play to double Sogndal’s lead and score his first goal of the season.

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