RECAP: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
Clay Goodson and Hunter Freeman were on the losing end of another thriller as Start fell to Lillestrom while Graham Dugoni made his Mjondalen debut in a losing effort versus Sogndal.
Lillestrom 3 - 2 Start
The American pairing of Clay Goodson and Hunter Freeman will have the long five hour bus trip back to Kristiansand to rue over another high scoring loss, this time at the hands of Lillestrom at Åråsen Stadion on Sunday.
Goodson started at center back like always and Freeman took his usual spot at right back.
Each yank went the distance in the defeat.
Rolf Daniel Vikstøl gave Start an early advantage with a goal off a Fredrik Stromstad corner kick in just the fifth minute of play.
However Lillestrom would answer in the 32nd minute when Frode Kippe slipped free of Avni Pepa and was left all alone to head in Karim Essediri's free kick into the area.
The defensive error by Pepa signaled the start of a three goal flurry before the end of the half.
Eight minutes later Espen Borufsen pushed Start back ahead with what could go down as the most aesthetically-pleasing goal this year by the Kristiansand club, if not all the Eliteserien.
A ball deflected off a Lillestrom defender on the outside left edge of the box where Borufsen had enough time to gather it in and sent toward goal a beautifully curling shot that fell softly into the top right hand corner of the goal leaving Lillestrom goalkeeper Stefan Magnusson gaping in awe.
The momentum lasted just a few minutes though for the visitors who were whistled for a foul in their own box giving Lillestrom a penalty kick which Khaled Mouelhi converted to level things at two.
Ten minutes into the second half, the hosts would get the gamewinner when Erling Knudtzon played a ball into Anthony Ujah who was marked well by Freeman but still was able to use his strength to free up some space and sent a low skidding shot under Goodson's outstretched leg and past Start goalkeeper Kenneth Hoie.
The defeat leaves Start stuck on 32 points as they drop to ninth in the Eliteserien standings.
Start will hope to do better next week when they return home to face Stromsgodset.
Valerenga 3 - 2 Stabaek
The Oslo derby between Valerenga and Mikkel Diskerud's Stabaek did not disappoint as the hosts emerged with a slim victory at Ullevall Stadion on Sunday.
Diskerud started and went the distance in the defeat however in an odd twist, the dual citizen lined up as left attacking midfielder rather than his customary position on the right.
Fellow Norwegian-American Erik Benjaminsen did not see any action.
Valerenga were obviously pumped up by the boisterous crown in Oslo and came out with their guns blazing scoring in just the third minute.
Morten Gladhaug Berre gathered in a pass from Mostafa Abdellaoue and shot past Stabaek Goalkeeper Jon Knudsen who was able to deflect the ball, only to see it topspin into the back of the net.
The Valerenga goal woke up Stabaek who scored just two minutes later when a throw-in deep in the Valerenga area landed at Marius Hell's feet.
Helle had his back to a defender right at the near post but still found a slashing Pontus Farnerud who arrived just in time to slide his left-shooted shot past Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld.
Five minutes after the break Hoie once again was victimized by another situation where his initial deflection did not impede goal from being scored.
Berre made a dashing run down the left and cut a spectacular ball across the area that seemed to drift forever before an onrushing Bojan Zajic launched a bullet towards goal that Hoie was unable to fully stop.
Seven minutes later Abdellaoue added a third when he slammed home a loose ball inside the area.
Stabaek fought back and cut the lead to one 13 minutes from time when Bjarni Ólafur Eiríksson's pinpoint long ball found Diogo Costa in stride and Costa unleashed a rocket that Troy Perkins' replacement had no prayer of stopping.
Unfortunately for Diskerud that was all they could muster in terms of scoring the rest of the match ending their modest winning streak of two.
Next up for Stabaek is a home date with Odd.
Sogndal 3 - 0 Mjondalen
Graham Dugoni made his debut for Mjondalen but it came in a losing effort as 1. Division leading Sogndal won in resounding fashion at home.
Dugoni started at right back and went the distance for the visitors at Fosshaugane Campus.
Fellow American Joseph Bendik watched this one from the bench as the backup goalkeeper.
Ulrik Flo started the fireworks with a goal in the 12th minute when he rose above the Mjondalen defense and headed in Ole Jorgen Halvorsen's cross.
Mjondalen had a couple chances to equalize in the first half but were unable to come through and paid for it six minutes into the second half.
Henrik Furebotn charged through the middle of the field and never went challenged by the Mjondalen defenders allowing him to uncork a shot that found the netting in the lower left corner of the goal.
Espen Olsen completed the scoring in the 78th minute when Furebotn passed from close range giving Olsen a wide open look at goal which he slammed home to seal the match.
The defeat keeps Mjondalen in the relegation zone with 19 points while Sogndal remain tops with 42 points and look all but certain to clinch promotion to the Eliteserien.
Next week Mjondalen will host Ranheim while Sogndal will take on Connor Tobin's old club of Nybergsund.
Neither striker Kenneth Di Vita Jensen nor goalkeeper Steve Clark saw action for Honefoss who were downed at home to Haugseund 0-2.
Colin Burns sat as the reserve goalkeeper as 1. Division Sarpsborg took another step towards the promotion zone with a 0-3 win at Ranheim.