With just four games to go, Molde are heavy favourites to claim their first Eliteserien title since 2014. Six teams are mathematically still in the race for the remaining two European qualification places, while at the other end of the table just a single point separates the bottom four.
In midweek we saw the lineup of the cup final decided: Viking will face Haugesund in December, after after both sides won their semi-finals 3-0. Let’s recap how they got there, as well as the usual look at this week’s fixtures:
Strømsgodset vs. Rosenborg
After a slow start to his Godset career, Herman Stengel has assists in consecutive games. The midfielder set up Lars-Jørgen Salvesen’s first in a 2-2 draw at Haugesund. Salvesen then headed in from close range after Moses Mawa blasted the ball towards goal.
A statement win against league leaders Molde came too late in the season for Rosenborg. Alexander Søderlund had a busy first half, forcing a save and sending David Akintola through on goal to equalise, before getting sent off for a dangerous tackle. Tore Reginiussen set up defensive partner Even Hovland to hook in. Rosenborg weathered the storm and sealed the win when Bjørn Johnsen tapped in the rebound from Mike Jensen’s saved effort. Johnsen looks a standout option ahead of this Friday kickoff with his attacking competition suspended.
Molde vs. Kristiansund BK
Leke James set up strike partner Ohi to give Molde the lead against Rosenborg for the lead, but the goalscorer went off at half time and is a doubt this week. Fredrik Aursnes clipped the bar from just outside the box before the champions turned things around against the league leaders. With a man advantage in the second half, Martin Ellingsen and Etzaz Hussain came close but couldn’t level. Six points clear of second place with four games to play, Bodø/Glimt look like the only team who can stop Molde now but will have to rely on Molde dropping points before the final day.
Amahl Pellegrino delivered a 19-point haul with a hat-trick against Viking. He opened the scoring with an open goal, converting Torgil Gjertsen’s pass. Pellegrino then scored two near identical goals, finding the bottom right corner twice, both from Liridon Kalludra assists. Sondre Sørli made it 4-2 to Kristiansund from an impossible angle after a Meinhard Olsen assist.
Bodø/Glimt vs. FK Haugesund
Philip Zinckernagel has been involved in four of Glimt’s six goals since Amor Layouni left. He set up Ulrik Saltnes’ goal and was the main attacking threat as his side pushed for the win but drew a third game in a row against Brann. Patrick Berg picked up a fourth yellow card in the league and will be unavailable here.
Niklas Sandberg and Martin Samuelsen continued their good form in both the league and the cup. In the 2-2 draw with Godset, Sandberg converted a penalty after Samuelsen was fouled, then set up Christian Grindheim to head in. Sandberg was on target from the spot again as Haugesund beat Odd 3-0 to reach the cup final. Samuelsen got on the scoresheet along with Sondre Tronstad late on.
Ranheim vs. Stabæk
A bad week for Ranheim as they fell to the foot of the league table and exited the cup. Aleksander Foosnæs scored in the 4-2 loss to Tromsø after Mushaga Bakenga forced a save against his parent club. Vegard Østraat Erlien earned assist as his cross forced a late own goal. Even Barli couldn’t cope with a powerful strike for TIL’s third goal and picked up an injury early in the 3-0 cup loss to Viking and there was more bad news in the form of an injury to Daniel Kvande.
Stabæk’s defensive solidity continues; the 0-0 against Odd was their fourth consecutive clean sheet. Kasper Junker, Sammy Skytte and Ola Brynhildsen came close to scoring, but the defensive options were the fantasy stars again. Yaw Amankwah featured in the bonus points for a third game in a row.
Sarpsborg 08 vs. Tromsø
A 0-0 draw with Mjøndalen was neither the most entertaining nor surprising result, but it keeps Sarpsborg’s fate in their own hands. Magnar Ødegaard couldn’t add to his two goals and two assists, but earned two bonus points with some dangerous deliveries from right back. Gaute Høberg Vetti’s long range shot cannoned off the bar. Amin Askar has only blanked once in his last six appearances but picked up a flag due to a knee injury.
Two veterans led the way as Tromsø won their key relegation clash against Ranheim. Morten Gamst Pedersen earned maximum bonus points and his free kick set up Jooha Pirinen to bundle home the opener. Magnus Andersen delivered his best fantasy performance yet, with a goal and two assists; he set up Onni Valakari’s low finish and Runar Espejord’s solo goal either side of his own strike, set up by a backheel from Robert Taylor’s. Lasse Nilsen was unlucky not to score as his shot hit post and rolled across the face of goal and Jostein Gundersen scored a late own goal. Fitim Azemi has been a big addition for the northerners but is expected to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Viking FK vs. Lillestrøm
Despite a 4-2 loss to Kristiansund, Viking are mathematically safe in their first season back in Eliteserien and still have an outside chance of European qualification through the league. Defender Rolf Daniel Vikstøl was involved in both of Viking’s goals, crossing for Fredrik Torsteinbø to volley in and tapping in from close range himself. Runar Ullaland Hove hit the post as Viking looked to claw themselves level before a late sucker punch. Tommy Høiland’s injury problems continue, he was absent again as Viking cruised into the cup final by beating Ranheim on Wednesday. Kristian Thorstvedt and Ylldren Ibrahimaj scored in the first half, with the third goal variously going down as Benjamin Källman’s and an own goal. Like their semi-final opponents, Viking were forced into an early substitution as Kristoffer Løkberg was forced off with a head injury.
A win would’ve taken either Lillestrøm and Vålerenga comfortably clear of the relegation zone, but neither side could snap out of their winless runs of seven and twelve games respectively. Daniel Gustavsson and Thomas Lehne Olsen were off target for the hosts, while Marko Maric comfortably made the game’s only save. Ifeanyi Matthew collected three bonus points, following on from his assist against Strømsgodset the previous week.
Vålerenga vs. Brann
Herolind Shala hit the post and Mayron George had the only shot on target in Vålerenga’s goalless draw with Lillestrøm. Shala played 90 minutes for the first time since GW17 and picked up two bonus points. Aron Dønnum served his one-match ban and will be available to face Brann.
Brann drew fairly respectably with Bodø/Glimt, but it was their fifth league draw in a row. Daouda Bamba got on the scoresheet on his return to the team, Vito Wormgoor assisting with a header. Taijo Teniste and Veton Berisha are doubts going forward.
Odd vs. Mjøndalen
10 points off the top with just 12 points to play for, Odd’s title challenge finally looks to have run its course, especially as their visit to Stabæk saw them fail to win for a third week running. It was more bad news in the cup on Thursday. Despite Espen Ruud’s return from injury, Odd fell to three second-half goals from Haugesund.
Mjøndalen escaped with a point against Sarpsborg as Julian Faye Lund watched the crossbar save his side from a long range screamer. Sondre Solholm Johansen offers fantasy points at both ends of the pitch; he picked up three bonus points to deliver returns for a sixth game in a row.