Lillestrøm women’s soccer
Lillestrøm wins fifth Norwegian Cup in six years and sixth straight Toppserien
Jo Christian Weldingh
After a 2-2 draw against Kolbotn on Oct. 20, Lillestrøm (LSK) Kvinner won their sixth consecutive Toppserien soccer title, equaling Trondheims-Ørn’s Norwegian record with seven league titles in total. One month later, on Nov. 23, after beating rival Vålerenga 5-1 in a one-sided final, they took home their fifth Norwegian Cup in six years. Avaldsnes won the Cup in 2017, beating Vålerenga in the final.
It was the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the league that met in front of 5,000 spectators in Oslo’s Telenor Arena, but the difference between the two would turn out to be a lot bigger than most people predicted.
LSK took charge of the match from the first whistle and did almost exactly what they wanted against a weak Vålerenga defense in the first half. Elise Thorsnes scored LSK’s first goal after 11 minutes and when the referee called half-time, the score was 4-0. Emilie Nautnes scored twice and had two other goals negated.
“It’s amazing! I’m so proud,” team captain Ingrid Moe Wold told NRK at the break.
Vålerenga got an early goal in the second half when Ajara Nchout’s header closed the lead to to 4-1, but their hopes were quickly dashed when, only minutes later, Anja Sønstevold scored LSK’s fifth and final goal of the match.
LSK’s domination in women’s Norwegian soccer has been to such an extent in the last few years that it has had some experts calling it troubling. This year, the team from Lillestrøm, just outside of Oslo, won the league despite being plagued by injuries. In addition, on June 29, standouts Guro Reiten and Ingrid Syrstad Engen signed with Chelsea and Wolfsburg, respectively. Nautnes joined the team on July 31 from Arna-Bjørnar.
Heading into the match, experts discussed the possibility of Vålerenga dethroning LSK as the leading female Norwegian soccer team. LSK has struggled more than usual this season and won the league by just four points, where in previous seasons, the team has won most matches effortlessly. They lost to last place Fart on Nov. 2.
“We are used to winning often and easily,” Sønstevold said in the post-match interview. “We lost a few players this summer and got knocked out of Champions League. We got a rough start this fall. It has been a roller coaster, but we have worked hard both physically and mentally and today, I think we were able to show everyone what we’re capable of.”
“I think the matches have been more evenly played this year, but we have refused to lose,” LSK coach Hege Riise told VG when asked to sum up her impressions of this year’s season.
“We haven’t played as well as before, but we have been able to win either way. I’m happy with the outcome.”
LSK Kvinner have won everything there is to win in Norwegian soccer. Their next step is to assert themselves as one of the top teams in Europe by performing well in Champions League. In 2018, the team made it all the way to the quarter-final where they got knocked out by Barcelona.
This article originally appeared in the December 13, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.