Tippeliga round 23: Vålerenga hand Rosenborg the title

Ten points ahead with a game in hand and still undefeated, let’s face it, there is no way Rosenborg is going to throw this away. But the relegation-battle is shaping up to be pretty damned fierce, and after a very bad run Mad Martin finally got a big win as he continues to cling to his job in spite of it all..

To say that Vålerenga‘s 2-1 win over Molde was a big win for Martin Andresen would be like saying Usain Bolt is a bit fast, like saying Hitler was a bit of a prat or indeed like saying Dag-Eilev Fagermo has a bit of an ego. Calling it an understatement would in itself be an understatement. After seven straight defeats the much maligned manager finally led his team to a win, and that against the team that in the last couple of months has been demonstratively the best in the land. Andresen has now set his sights on copying last season, namely by sweeping a poor league campaign under the carpet with a cup-triumph: “We’ve beat Molde in two out of two games this season, I’m hoping we can take a third victory in the upcoming semifinal,” an understandably happy Martin told Dagbladet after the game. The win puts some desperately needed breathing space between Vålerenga and the relegation-battle, while it effectively ends any lingering hopes Molde may have had of catching Rosenborg at the top.

Mad Martin and Vålerenga’s win should have dominated the various media-outlets over the weekend, but much of their thunder was stolen by the return of space hoppper-shaped manager Tom Nordlie. Brought in at considerable expense to rescue Fredrikstad from relegation, Nordlie now has one less game in which to do so as Tromsø casually swept his men aside and won 2-0. Now, for many in the media jumping up and down on Nordlie is a favorite past time, because A – he’s bouncy and B – his unapologetically forthright ways tends to annoy people. Still, TV2′s man in Tromsø branding him an idiot for failing to get his message across to the players right away was perhaps unnecessarily harsh..

37 year old Vidar Riseth has been tasked with shoring up Strømsgodset‘s leaky defense, but while the old guy when to work at the back it was the youngsters who came through for Godset up front against Odd Grenland. 19 year old Marcus Pedersen scored a fine opener, 2-0 came after some sublime wing-play from 18 year old Mohammed Keita, while 23 year old midfielder Fredrik Nordkvelle added a third. It didn’t matter then that Riseth engaged in a spot of wrestling with Odd’s Hungarian giant Peter Kovacs and Morten Fevag put away the resulting penalty, a possibly season-defining 3-1 win was secured for Ronny Deila’s dangerous devotees.

It was a case of same old same old at Viking stadion, where hosts Viking continued to be significantly less than the sum of their parts and Sandefjord continued to be so much more. The 2-2 draw included incidents like another bad blooper from Viking-goalkeeper and serial-gaffer Thomas Myhre, Viking’s unadventurous right-back Håkon Skogseid scoring with a mis-hit cross and their slumbering striker Peter Ijeh scoring a late equalizer.

Bergen based bullies Brann are very much in the hunt for medals after beating Start 1-0, even though at no point this season have they looked like a particularly impressive team (home games against Lyn don’t count). What they are is a tightly organized and hard working bunch with a couple of quality individual players who can swing tight games in their favor. In short, they look very much like manager Steinar Nilsen’s Tromsø-team of last season. Go figure.

Kjetil Rekdal’s Aalesund have been reasonably comfortable this season, but a recent bad run of results has cemented them firmly in the relegation-mire and 1-1 at home against fellow struggles Bodø/Glimt was rather less than what they needed. “We have to take more points off the teams around us in the table,” muttered a slightly annoyed Redkal, who unfortunately for neutrals will probably be too busy trying to keep his team up to do or say anything entertainingly outrageous during the remainder the season.

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