Although Rosenborg lead the Norwegian Premier League as we hit the half-way mark, the title is far from won.
With 15 rounds gone we are exactly half-way through the 2017 Eliteserien season. Three teams have a realistic chance of scooping the title, while as many as seven more will feel they can reach the medal positions. The Norwegian Premier League is rarely as open as this!
Kristiansund 3 Rosenborg 3
What a game in Kristiansund! Despite the home side coming into the game off the back of a superb 4-1 win at Stabæk, few expected such drama after Rosenborg raced into a 2-0 half-time lead. But after the visitors missed a great chance to extend their lead, Kristiansund were level in the blink of an eye through two Jean Alassane Mendy goals.
With minutes left on the clock, Sondre Sørli kept a cool head when through on goal to fire Kristiansund in front, but Niklas Bendtner finally started doing what he’s paid for and snatched an injury time equaliser from point-blank range.
Brann 0 Vålerenga 0
Bergen’s Brann led the league for a week in June but a draw away at fellow title challengers Sarpsborg saw them relinquish the lead to Rosenborg. A home win against Ronny Delia’s unpredictable Vålerenga would’ve returned Brann to the summit, but Vålerenga stopped Brann – the league’s top scorers – from scoring at home for the first time this season.
Having scored an average of two per game and knocking in 15 goals in their last four home matches, few would’ve expected the Oslo club to come away from Bergen with anything, let alone a clean sheet. Brann started well but the result could’ve been even better for Vålerenga as Moa and Ghayas Zahid had good chances to win it in the second half.
Lillestrøm 2 Strømsgodset 0
Lillestrøm returned to winning ways following a derby defeat at Vålerenga last weekend with a routine 2-0 win against Strømsgodset, who are now looking in real danger of a surprise relegation. The home side wrapped up the game in the first half with a terrific strike from Chigozie Udoji followed up with a simple header from Erling Knudtzon, who reacted quickest when Godset keeper Pettersen parried a long-range effort. The derby defeat aside, Lillestrøm are the form team in the Eliteserien and with two games still to go before the summer break they could well be sitting in the medal places by then.
Sogndal 1 Aalesund 0
After a hugely impressive 5-1 win over Odd the week before, Aalesund travelled to the fjords looking to consolidate fourth place at strugglers Sogndal. The home side took the lead after just two minutes through more than a touch of fortune. The referee awarded a soft free-kick and although Chidiebere Nwakali struck the ball well, visiting keeper Andreas Lie should’ve dealt with it better. Although Aalesund reacted well, Sogndal created the better chances and deserved the three points.
Best of the Rest
Sarpsborg missed the chance to capitalise on Rosenborg and Brann dropping points as they were held to a goalless draw at Odd. Haugesund put seven past Coleraine in the Europa League qualifiers in midweek which was good training for a routine 2-0 win over struggling Tromsø. Fellow strugglers Viking were denied a point at Molde, a very late Thomas Amang goal the decider in a 3-2 home win. Sandefjord continued their slide down the table with a 2-1 home defeat to Stabæk.
So at the mid-way point, Rosenborg lead the table but are just two points ahead of Brann and only three ahead of Sarpsborg. Molde sit 4th while Aalesund, Vålerenga Haugesund, Odd and Stabæk are all within nine points of the leaders.
Yet again the leading pack slip up and the Eliteserien 2017 looks set to the the most closely contested for years!
Photo courtesy of Andrew Halseid-Budd