With 137 points, Amor Layouni is Eliteserien’s top fantasy option after 21 weeks, but the Tunisian international has left Norway for Egypt in a move which will shake up the title race and fantasy managers’ plans alike.
Rosenborg are Norway’s last remaining representatives on the continent, but got off to a poor start in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Norwegian Cup will get underway again in midweek, with five Eliteserien sides in quarter-final action:
Ranheim vs. Fram
Mjøndalen vs. Haugesund
KFUM vs. Odd
Aalesund vs. Viking
But before that, let’s look ahead to the weekend’s Eliteserien fixtures:
Brann vs. FK Haugesund
Brann struggled to create chances against Kristiansund. After Håkon Opdal was beaten early on, it was a case of keeping the score down. Opdal made some impressive saves, along with blocks from Bismar Acosta and Ruben Kristiansen. Daouda Bamba is halfway through a four match suspension.
Helge Sandvik returned from injury to keep a clean sheet against Mjøndalen and earn three bonus points. Kevin Martin Krygård missed two big chances to win the game for Haugesund.
Lillestrøm vs. Kristiansund BK
Rosenborg ended up beating Lillestrøm fairly comfortably, but it could’ve been different had Thomas Lehne Olsen’s effort at 1-0 been a couple of inches lower. Daniel A. Pedersen scored a consolation goal from close range. Simen Rafn got the assist – all four of the fullback’s attacking returns have come in the last seven games.
Amahl Pellegrino is a man in form, having scored in his first three games for Kristiansund. Sondre Sørli set up Pellegrino’s latest effort, which proved to be the winner against Brann. Torgil Gjertsen and Flamur Kastrati were denied in quick succession; flagged once again, the latter remains dangerous but difficult for fantasy managers to rely on. Christophe Psyche missed out with a knock and is also doubtful here, but KBK still showcased their threat from set pieces as Dan Peter Ulvestad had an effort blocked on the line.
Odd vs. Sarpsborg 08
Odd fell further off the pace after a 2-0 loss to Viking. Sondre Rossbach was unconvincing as Viking opened the scoring, but made a point blank save shortly after. Odd struggled to create any chances for Torgeir Børven and one of their creative sparks, Elba Rashani, will be suspended for this game. Can Odd’s exceptional home form carry them through against a side that is still yet to win on the road?
Sarpsborg beat Vålerenga to secure their first win since beating Odd in GW11 and moved out of the automatic relegation places courtesy of their superior goal difference. Matti Lund Nielsen and Kristoffer Zachariassen missed chances to take the lead, but Jonathan Lindseth scored with a first time shot assisted by Jørgen Strand Larsen.
Ranheim vs. Bodø/Glimt
Ranheim slipped into the relegation places after a 1-0 loss to Strømsgodset and will be without defender Daniel Kvande against the title chasers through suspension. They had chances in the first half but Ola Solbakken’s effort was wild, Michael Karlsen couldn’t get a shot away from close range and Mushaga Bakenga could only force a save. Even Barli may have been at fault for some goals in recent weeks, including in the reverse fixture against Bodø/Glimt, but made nine saves against Godset and could do nothing about their deflected winner.
Had Amor Layouni not been sold to Egyptian side Pyramids FC, the winger would’ve been suspended for this match anyway. Glimt will at least be able to call on Håkon Evjen for the rest of the season, although the youngster will join AZ Alkmaar in January. Evjen scored the opener in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Stabæk, his tenth goal of the season. Ole Amund Sveen created the chance, but didn’t earn an assist as a defender’s touch changed the direction of the ball. B/G surrendered the lead before half time after Patrick Berg gave away a penalty. In a frantic final 10 minutes, Philip Zinckernagel won a penalty and Layouni equalised from the spot with his final contribution for the club. Stabæk retook the lead, only for Jens Hauge, in his usual substitute role, to force the own goal that earned a point. We’ve seen Vålerenga struggle for goals after losing one of Eliteserien’s mercurial talents, will Glimt fare better having sold one of their key players?
Tromsø vs. Strømsgodset
Tromsø may have lost 3-0 on their visit to Molde, but they weren’t without their chances. Morten Gamst Pedersen created chances from set pieces, Jostein Gundersen and Fitim Azemi threatened in the air but were profligate. Loanee Aidan Barlow had his side’s best chance from open play but finished poorly. Having almost held out until half time, Eric Smith was culpable for Molde’s opener with a poor defensive header. A loss here could even see TIL end the week bottom of the table.
Strømsgodset may still be bottom of the table, but they’re now just two points from safety and have form on their side with three wins in the last five games. Moses Mawa got the winner in their win over Ranheim, his first goal since scoring on his debut. Midfielder Mikkel Maigaard was involved again – he’s been crucial to Godset, with a goal, two assists and eight bonus points in his six appearances. Martin Hansen had to be replaced at half time in the last match, so Viljar Myhra seems likely to start here. Can Godset finally get their first away win of the season?
Vålerenga vs. Viking FK
Vålerenga were flat in the loss to Sarpsborg. Bård Finne and Matthias Vilhjalmsson have been poor value during their six game winless run; the cheaper Aron Dønnum has at least picked up six bonus points in that time. Pierre Kanstrup summed up why Vålerenga have fallen away from the hunt for European football, giving the ball away in the build up to Sarpsborg’s goal.
Zlatko Tripic had another good game against Odd, picking up maximum bonus points, but a yellow card means he’s suspended this weekend. Tripic picked up the ball from Kristoffer Løkberg and curled in the opener from outside the box and his cross led to the second goal as Ylldren Ibrahimaj nodded the ball on to Fredrik Torsteinbø. On the other hand, Viking will have Kristian Thorstvedt available again. Iven Austbø kept an eighth clean sheet of the season.
Mjøndalen vs. Rosenborg
Christian Gauseth’s volley was probably Mjøndalen’s best chance in the goalless draw with Haugesund, but the captain picked up an injury in training and is expected to miss a few games.
Rosenborg will also be without their captain as Mike Jensen sees out the suspension he picked up against Vålerenga, while David Akintola still has two matches of his ban to serve. Bjørn Maars Johnsen opened his Rosenborg account with a brace against Lillestrøm. Alexander Søderlund set up the first – is there room for both premium strikers in Trondheim? After Samuel Adegbenro made it 2-0, Birger Meling won the ball and Johnsen’s shot found the top left corner. It was a different story as RBK lost their first Europa League group stage game to Austria’s LASK Linz, with keeper Andre Hansen probably their best performer.
Stabæk vs. Molde
Stabæk showed resolve to become just the third team to take points off Bodø/Glimt at Aspmyra this season. Ola Brynhildsen followed up his dominant display against Strømsgodset with the equaliser against Glimt; he couldn’t miss from Kasper Juncker’s cross. Emil Bohinen converted the penalty which gave Stabæk the lead, but Yaw Amankwah was the culprit at the other end as the home side levelled from the spot. Luc Kassi looks to have recovered his pre-injury form and restored the lead from the edge of the box after collecting the ball from Youssef Toutouh. Even after Bohinen’s 93rd minute own goal, Kosuke Kinoshita had a chance to win the game but blazed a shot off target.
Eirik Hestad has kickstarted his season, with two assists against Tromsø to add to goals in each of the two preceding games. Etzaz Hussain has also returned to the side and hit the bar with a first half shot. Ohi was the main man against Mjøndalen before the international break, but Leke James was back in the starting lineup and on the scoresheet with a gift of a chance against Tromsø. In the second half, Mathis Bolly and Hussain were the beneficiaries of Hestad’s passes. If any fantasy managers were brave enough to sell Magnus Wolff Eikrem over the last four games, they may well have been rewarded.