Molde defeats Rosenborg as Tromsø upsets Brann

The top spot in Eliteserien soccer is still up for grabs after a surprising few matches

Eliteserien

Photo: Bjørn S. Delebekk / VG
Vegard Forren celebrates Molde’s only goal in a dominating 1-0 victory over first-place Rosenborg on Sept. 30. Rosenborg maintained its first-place standing in Eliteserien.

Jo Christian Weldingh
Oslo

Molde completely outplayed Rosenborg, Sept. 30, in what was expected to be an evenly played match between the two rival teams at Aker Stadium in Molde. The home team could easily have won the game with three or four goals, but a lucky Rosenborg defense and a good goalkeeper, André Hansen, kept the score at 1-0.

Molde’s goal was scored by Vegard Forren, who was more than happy to speak to the press when the game was over: “Today we showed everyone that, when we’re at our best, we’re just as good as Rosenborg, if not better,” he said with a grin.

With this victory, Molde passed Haugesund on the league table, and is now in third place, trailing Brann by four points and Rosenborg by nine.

“I’m disappointed in what we did in the first half,” newly appointed Rosenborg coach Rini Coolen said after the game. “We should have done a lot better. Molde deserved the win.”

When asked if his team still is the favorite for the league title, he doesn’t hesitate. “Yes,” he answers without pause.

Molde coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær was satisfied. “We were closer to 5-0 than they were to 1-1, if only we had a coach who was able to teach them how to score goals,” he said, poking fun at himself, and also pointing out the fact that he was a notorious goal scorer in his prime at Manchester United. “Rosenborg has an amazing goalkeeper, and we just weren’t able to trick him more than that one time today.”

Forren scored after 40 minutes of play. He headed the ball into the net after a free kick from former Seattle Sounders midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem.

Rosenborg has been heavily criticized for not using enough local players from Trøndelag in their lineups. This night, Forren was the only player from Trøndelag on the pitch.

During the 90 minutes, Molde had 27 shots, Rosenborg only had 7, with 7-1 advantage on target. Former Rosenborg hero and commentator Jahn Ivar “Mini” Jacobsen can’t remember seeing his old team being this outplayed before.

“We were sitting in the office today thinking back, trying to figure out if we’ve ever seen anything like that,” he mused to a Norwegian newspaper the day after the defeat. “Certainly, never in a league match, I would have remembered. This has got to be one of the worst matches Rosenborg has played in the last 20 or 30 years.”

Another Rosenborg legend, Gøran Sørloth, father of Crystal Palace striker and Norwegian national player Alexander Sørloth, agrees. “There’s no use in denying it. Molde won the chance statistic with what, 10-0, and that’s me being nice,” he says. “Molde dominated the match completely.”

Even though they were less than impressed with Rosenborg’s play, Jacobsen and Sørloth don’t think Rosenborg has to worry about losing the league title. “Everyone notices when Rosenborg plays a bad match, because it doesn’t happen too often. Sometimes, it can be good for a team to be reminded that they don’t win matches automatically,” Jacobsen says. “I’m not worried.”

Brann failed to take advantage of Rosenborg’s loss, dropping its Oct. 1 match against Tromsø 2-1 on a 73rd-minute goal by Mikael Ingebrigtsen, after Kent Are-Antonsen gave Tromsø a 1-0 lead in the second minute, and Fredrik Haugen leveled for Brann 79 seconds later. Brann remains four points behind Rosenborg, and their Oct. 28 game is shaping up as a showdown for the league title.

Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, and lives in Oslo. He has a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School.

This article originally appeared in the October 19, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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