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Season review: Norway

Published: Tuesday 13 December 2011, 16.50CET
Ole Gunnar Solskjær's FK Molde stole the show with their first Norwegian title, Aalesunds FK took the cup spoils while a young Viking FK winger caught the eye in his first full campaign.
by Eivind Aarre
from Stavanger
Season review: Norway
Molde supporters had plenty of reason to cheer this season ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 13 December 2011, 16.50CET

Season review: Norway

Ole Gunnar Solskjær's FK Molde stole the show with their first Norwegian title, Aalesunds FK took the cup spoils while a young Viking FK winger caught the eye in his first full campaign.

Former Norway and Manchester United FC striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær made the perfect start to life in management, guiding Molde FK – in their centenary – to the Norwegian title at the first attempt.

Champions: Molde FK
With teams such as Rosenborg BK and Vålerenga Fotball underwhelming in 2011, the door was open for Molde to steal the show. Frontrunners for much of the season, they were confirmed as champions with two games left, SK Brann's win at Rosenborg leaving them with an unassailable eight-point lead. They eventually finished five points clear of second-placed Tromsø IL.

Cup final: Aalesunds FK 2-1 SK Brann
Costa Rica midfielder Michael Barrantes was the hero, with two well-taken goals wrapping up a second Norwegian Cup triumph for Aalesund. Pegged back after going ahead, Aalesund responded with the winner eight minutes before half-time. "What a nice way to finish the season," said Barrantes.

European places*
Molde FK – UEFA Champions League qualifying
Tromsø IL – UEFA Europa League qualifying
Rosenborg BK – UEFA Europa League qualifying
Aalesunds FK – UEFA Europa League qualifying

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Rodolph Austin (SK Brann)
Voted by his Tippeliga colleagues as the top flight's outstanding performer, the robust Jamaican midfielder played a key role for Brann.

One to watch: Yann-Erik de Lanlay (Viking FK)
Viking may have had a disappointing campaign – they finished 11th – but De Lanlay excelled in his first full season. Quick on the ball and not afraid to dribble, he has quickly grown into a crowd favourite.

Surprise package: Tromsø IL
Rosenborg, Viking and Vålerenga surprised by failing to mount credible championship challenges, so it was Per-Mathias Høgmo's side who most caught the eye for positive reasons. Tromsø were the only team who convinced as genuine rivals to Molde.

Leading scorer: Mostafa Abdellaoue (Tromsø IL) 17

Number: 9
Number of league games lost by Rosenborg in 2011; in their 60 league outings in 2009 and 2010, they had been beaten just once.

Relegated: IK Start, Sarpsborg FK

Promoted: Sandnes Ulf, Hønefoss

Quote
"Many teams have won the league title once and then collapsed. We have no plans of following that road. We want to develop and win more championships. I want to stay here for several years."
Solskjær takes time to look beyond this term's success.

Last updated: 19/01/12 12.26CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=nor/news/newsid=1733325.html#season+review+norway

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