RECAP: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
Josh Gatt and Molde earned a big win heading into Champions League qualification, while a win for Kyle Helton, Rhett Bernstein and Mjøndalen finds themselves in the thick of the promotion fight.
Vålerenga Oslo 1 - 2 Molde FK
Heading into Molde's first Champions League campaign ever, the defending Norwegian champions gained a vital three points with a win over Vålerenga Saturday.
American winger Josh Gatt started and played the full 90 minutes at right wing for Molde.
Although Vålerenga opened up with the better chances, it was Gatt and Molde that scored first in the 26th minute. Gatt, who just happened to be at the right place at the right time, picked up the rebound from Mattias Mostrøm's shot and put in the back of the net.
Molde pressed for another before halftime but couldn't convert its chances.
That came to bite Molde later. In the 69th minute, Bojan Zajic dribbled through the heart of the Molde defense and found Marcus Pedersen, who curled his shot from the edge from the box into the top right corner of the net.
Both teams went back-and-forth searching for the game-winner, and Molde found it in the 87th minute. Forward Davy Claude Angan received a bad clearance from the Vålerenga defense and charged into the heart of the defense. From 23 yards out, Angan gave the defending champions the three points.
With the win, Molde continues to occupy second place in the Tippeligaen. The team returns to action Wednesday against Ventspils in Champions League qualifying.
Viking Stavanger 2 - 1 Hønefoss BK
After a flurry of action in the last 10 minutes, Viking came out on top of Hønefoss Sunday.
American goalkeeper Steve Clark started and played the full 90 minutes for Hønefoss, while Kenneth di Vita Jensen made the bench but did not play.
Though the first half saw both teams bend but not break defensively, the second half ended that.
In the 47th minute, King Osei Gyan took a shot at Clark, who couldn't handle it. The ball bounced to Trond Olsen, and he scored from point-blank range.
Viking held that lead until the 84th minute, when Viking's Rune Almenning Jarstein pulled down a Hønefoss player in the box off a corner. Hønefoss' leading scorer, Riku Riski, converted the rebound off the penalty.
With Hønefoss minutes away from stealing another point on the road, a late goal sunk the team. In the 92nd minute, Erik Nevland put Veton Berisha in prime position to put the ball past Clark and to secure the win for the home side.
With the loss, Hønefoss dropped to seventh place in the Tippeligaen. The team returns to action next Sunday against Fredrikstad.
Sogndal IL 3 - 1 Stabæk IF
Stabæk couldn't carry any of the momentum from a midweek win when it lost to Sognal Sunday afternoon.
American Sean Cunningham started and played the entire game at center back for Stabæk in the losing effort.
As per usual this season for Stabæk, a bit of bad luck struck early. In the fifth minute, Stéphane Badji took a shot from 23 yards that deflected off a Stabæk defender and to the feet of Ulrik Flo. Flo powered the deflection into the top of the net to give his team the lead.
Stabæk didn't wait long to answer, tying the game in the 14th minute. Off a corner, the ball pinballed in the box before coming to Mads Stokkelien, who shot into the top of the net from seven yards out.
Stabæk kept the game close for the rest of the first half, but two early goals in the second half squashed any chances Stabæk had of getting a point.
In the 53rd minute, Flo received a pass, went around Jørgen Hammer with a touch on the ball and shot the ball past goalkeeper Sayoba Mande. Then, in the 64th minute, Tonny Borchmann squeaked one past Mande and into the right side of the net.
Sogndal controlled the rest of the game, and Stabæk's hopes of avoiding relegation took another hit. With the loss, Stabæk sits nine points behind 14th-place Odd Grenland.
Stabæk returns to action next Sunday against Vålerenga.
Strømmen IF 1 - 2 Bærum SK
After winning its first game of the season last week, Bærum made it two in a row in order to jump out of last place Sunday.
American Sebastian Troupe played the full 90 minutes at right back for Bærum.
With neither side making an impression in the first 25 minutes, Strømmen gave Bærum the momentum, when a Bærum player was held back on a corner. The referee deemed it a penalty, and in the 27th minute, Lars R. Sandbu made Strømmen pay for the mistake.
The game slowed down after the goal and stayed that way until Bærum doubled its lead in the 61st minute. Amahl Pellegrino put a 15-yard shot past Strømmen goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr.
Strømmen didn't let Bærum run away with the game, however. A defensive error in the 73rd minute allowed Armin Sistek to have the ball with nobody, including the goalkeeper, there to stop him. Sistek did not miss, and it was game on from that point.
Strømmen pressed forward, looking to tie the game, but Bærum held for the final 20-plus minutes. With the win, Bærum leapfrogged Alta and out of last place in the Adeccoligaen.
The team returns to action next Sunday against Sandefjord.
Ranheim IL 1 - 2 Mjøndalen IF
Mjøndalen took a huge step in its attempt to earn promotion while hurting another team's chances with its win at Ranheim.
American defender Kyle Helton played the entire game at center back for Mjøndalen and recorded his third yellow card of the season. Fellow American Rhett Bernstein made a substitute appearance in the 82nd minute.
Although Ranheim looked in control from the start, Mjøndalen scored against the run of play in the 10th minute. A long throw from Knut Rønningen found Martin Strange alone at the far post, and Strange didn't waste the chance to put his team up.
Ranheim continued to run at Mjøndalen for the rest of the half with a few Mjøndalen chances interspersed. The first 45 minutes ended with Mjøndalen a goal up.
The second half saw Mjøndalen dictate the game more, forcing Even Barli to make a few saves.
It was a Barli mistake that gave Mjøndalen a two-goal advantage in the 73rd minute. The Ranheim goalkeeper missed what should have been an easy save on Joackim Andreas Olsen's shot, which sailed into the back of the net.
Ranheim pulled itself back into the game in the 81st minute with Emeh Izuchuwu. Only two minutes after being substituted into the game, Izuchuwu took a rebound from the crossbar and fired home.
Ranheim searched and prodded the Mjøndalen defense for another goal, but with a few defensive substitutions, Mjøndalen was able to hold on for the win.
With the win, Mjøndalen jumped into seventh place and current sits three points off the last automatic promotion spot. The team returns to action next Sunday against Notodden.