OBOS LIGAEN ROUNDUP - WEEK 2

The second weekend of OBOS Ligaen action kicked off yesterday as Kongsvinger hosted IK Start in the early kick off. It was sure to be an interesting encounter with both sides keen to get 3 points on the board after frustrating first weeks. Elsewhere, FK Jerv were hoping to get back on track after last week’s draw against Floro whilst Bodo/Glimt looked to assert themselves at the top of the table with 2 wins from 2 games.

(Photo: Digitalsport)

Kongsvinger 0 – 2 IK Start (Antwi, Larsen)

This game was always bound to be an interesting match-up and did not disappoint come full time, with Start winning the game 2-0 thanks to second half goals from the brilliant Dennis Antwi and Simon Larsen.

The game featured two sides playing football the way it should be played. Fast attacking play and high pressing tactics were employed by both Kongsvinger and Start managers and the fans in the stadium clearly appreciated this, with more noise coming from Gjemselund Stadion than usual in the lunchtime kick off.

The average age of the Kongsvinger team (all players used) yesterday was just 23 years old. It has been a staple of the ‘Hansi Way’ from manager Eriksen’s time in Follo that younger players will get more opportunities playing first team football and the lineup yesterday did not stray from this ideology. In contrast, the Start XI was on average 3 years older than Kongsvinger’s at an average age of 26. Tobias Christensen at 16 and Eirik Wichne at 19 brought this average down from 28 years old.

The narrative of the day was that Kongsvinger were simply too naive to play a possession based style of football. According to certain pundits, this way of playing under both Luis Pimenta and now Hans Erik-Eriksen is simply too risky and will not yield positive results. It is a lazy accusation to make as anyone who has watched Kongsvinger these past two seasons will know the side are creating more chances than any other OBOS Ligaen team going forward and only suffering defensively due to poor individual errors.

On the face of it, yesterday only went to prove this theory as Kongsvinger were sunk by two horrible defensive mistakes. In reality, the accusation of ‘Naivety’ that has been leveled at Kongsvinger could not be further from the truth as for much of the first half, Kongsvinger dominated. Guven and Kolstad went close to scoring and arguably the home side should have gone in at the break two goals up.

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Poor finishing also let Kongsvinger down in this game. Guven was not his usual clinical self and the support cast of Castro, Kolstad and Ellingsen had also seemingly misplaced their shooting boots. Start on the other hand were clinical, and capitalised on two nightmare-worthy mistakes from Kongsvinger to win the game.

The first Start goal was a contentious one due to the possibility of a foul occurring in the build up. New Kongsvinger midfielder Jorgen Kolstad hesitated on the ball for a second just outside his own box before Dennis Antwi was on him in a flash, taking the ball and the player out before scoring an easy 1 v 1 against goalkeeper Gorodovoy. Kolstad said after the game that he was disappointed the referee did not spot the foul from Antwi but at the end of the day, had Kolstad not hesitated on the ball there wouldn’t have been a chance for Antwi to steal it.

The second goal was scored by Simon Larsen from the penalty spot after Gorodovoy wiped out Antwi who was clean through on goal. This all came from a poor Kirill Suslov error when his headed back pass was horribly undershot, allowing Antwi to capitalize once more. The striker was brought down in the box and Larsen made no mistake in converting his penalty, 2-0, game over.

On the balance of play a draw would likely have been a fair result here but Start were simply more clinical in their play whilst two individual errors and some wayward shooting cost Kongsvinger one or even three points from this game. The home side’s build up play was beautiful to watch at points but if you can’t score the chances made via this play then it is rendered useless by default.

Naive? Most definitely not. It is clear to see that Kongsvinger will cause many teams issues this season with their sharp passing and movement but they really need to cut out the individual errors in the team that are regularly costing the side valuable points. They have now faced arguably the toughest two teams in the league and will be expecting to pick up more points in their next few games.

FK Jerv 1 – 2 Ranheim (Toft; Reginiussen x2)

Erixon Danso in action for Jerv on his debut yesterday against Ranheim. Photo credit to Jan Skaregrøm.

There was more disappointment for Jerv yesterday as the side were sunk by a brilliant midfield display from Ranheim’s Mads Reginiussen.

The atmosphere around Levermyr was fantastic with attendance soaring after the introduction of a new renovated stand in the ground. The pitch however was less cheer-worthy, with dry patches and bobbles everywhere. The turf was clearly in poor condition and as now seems to be the norm with teams playing at Levermyr the football suffered as a result.

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Ranheim had the better early play, with the visitors dominating the ball in the first half. Jerv’s main attacking outlet came in the form of new winger David Akintola who was eventually named MOTM for his tireless efforts down the right flank.

Some brilliant play between Kristoffer Lokberg and Mads Reginiussen saw Ranheim go 1-0 up just after the 30 minute mark. Lokberg’s little flick between the legs tee’d up Reggie perfectly and the midfielder’s finish was precise sending Ranheim into a one goal lead at half time.

The second half was much the same and Reggie made it two after 50 minutes with a flicked header from a Daniel Kvande corner. The diminutive midfielder got to the ball ahead of Jerv’s Martin Hoel Andersen and flicked it past the hapless Knutsen in goal. Hoel Andersen was substituted a little while after and I am sure Arne Sandsto will be reeling from the midfielder’s poor positioning at the corner to allow Reggie in.

Jacob Toft scored his first Jerv goal after 77 minutes to bring his side back into the game but it was simply just too little too late and Ranheim ran out deserved 2-1 winners.

So what now for Jerv? Having taken just one point from two very winnable games the Grimstad side will surely have to shuffle their pack going into the next game in order to find the team cohesion they have seemingly lost between the end of last season and the start of this. Having Erixon Danso now available will be a big plus, but can Alex Lind score the goals needed to keep his side fighting for a promotion spot in this league?

Asane 1 – 1 Bodo/Glimt (Stephensen; Bjornbakk)

Kjetil Knutsen returns to Myrdal Gress with new side Bodo/Glimt (Digitalsport)

A late Martin Bjornbakk goal broke Asane hearts as Glimt took a point in Bergen, but there were a lot of positives to take from the game for the home side. The game also saw the return of new Bodo/Glimt assistant Kjetil Knutsen and midfielder Vegard Moberg to Myrdal Gress after both men left the side last season.

Asane went into this game against Glimt understandably as massive underdogs. Glimt are widely expected to win the league this season whilst many have predicted Asane to struggle, but it was the team in orange who dominated the game and who will be gutted to have earned just a single point.

The first half was relatively even but good chances for Senai Hagos and Fredrik Heggland could well have seen the home side go in at the break one goal up. Hagos in particular was impressive in the first half and tormented the Glimt defence with his pace.

Jens Petter Hauge was strangely left out of Glimt’s XI yesterday in favor of Joachim Osvold but the 17 year old made his later than expected entrance at half time. It did not have the desired immediate effect though as Asane deservedly went 1-0 up thanks to a Kristoffer Stephensen strike. Some great work from Joachim Soltvedt on the new artificial turf at Myrdal saw him tee up Stephensen who finished well with a flick between the legs.

Later in the half, substitutes Hammersland and Manzon both went close but Asane remained just the one goal up going into the final minutes of the game.

But then, on 94 minutes, a Jose Angel Jurado corner was headed in by Glimt’s defender Martin Bjornbakk. The cliche says that champions always grind out points when they do not deserve them and Glimt did just that yesterday with this late equalizer. Asane will be gutted not to have taken all three points but a point at home against a side as strong as Glimt is still much better than none at all.

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The Best of the Rest

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A less than impressive ‘Will Grigg’s On Fire’ chant sounded around Strommen Stadion as Espen Olsen’s side could only manage a 1-1 draw with Floro despite being ahead for most of the game.

Stian Rasch’s first half goal was cancelled out after 70 minutes as Runar Hove did what he does best and slammed home a header from a Christer Husa corner.

Arendal suffered defeat once again as Ull/Kisa came from behind to win 2-1. The impressive Ibrahimaj gave Arendal the lead in the 2nd half but his goal was cancelled out by strikes from Andreas Aalbu and Kristoffer Odemarksbakken. New signing Adnan Mohammed was impressive, but the absence of Wilhelm Pepa was felt from the home side.

Sandnes beat Levanger 1-0 thanks to a Kjell Rune Sellin goal and remain top of the league and the only side not to have conceded so far this OBOS Ligaen season. Elverum drew 1-1 with Tromsdalen, Mo Jama scored for the away side but a late debut goal from Amor Layouni saw Elverum take a deserved point from the game.

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Fredrikstad take on Mjondalen in the final OBOS Ligaen game of the week tomorrow in what is sure to be a good encounter between two sides aiming for promotion to the Eliteserien this season.