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Season review: Norway

Published: Tuesday 27 November 2012, 10.21CET
Ex-Manchester United FC striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær oversaw Molde FK's successful league title defence while second-tier strugglers IL Hødd caused a huge Norwegian Cup upset.
by Eivind Aarre
from Stavanger
Season review: Norway
Vegard Forren marshalled Molde's championship-retaining defence ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 27 November 2012, 10.21CET

Season review: Norway

Ex-Manchester United FC striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær oversaw Molde FK's successful league title defence while second-tier strugglers IL Hødd caused a huge Norwegian Cup upset.

Former Manchester United FC and Norway striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær took Molde FK to their first ever championship in 2011 and proved it was no fluke this season by repeating the trick. But while the league went the same way as last year, there was perhaps the biggest shock in the country's football history in the Norwegian Cup.

Champions: Molde FK
Molde clinched the league championship with one game to go, a 1-0 victory over Hønefoss BK enough to seal the title ahead of Strømsgodset IF, their eventual winning margin four points. Rosenborg BK were also in the hunt, but fell away sharply at the tail end of the season.

Cup final: IL Hødd 1-1 Tromsø IL (4-2 on pens)
Hødd, who only avoided relegation from the second tier on the last day, completed a stunning cup run in a closely-fought final. Having already accounted for top-flight FK Haugesund and SK Brann, Hødd led fourth-place finishers Tromsø through Kjell Rune Sellin. Saliou Ciss claimed a late equaliser and Tromsø pushed for the winner but Hødd goalkeeper Ørjan Håskjold Nyland produced brilliant saves in normal time and in the penalty shoot-out to secure their maiden major trophy and a European debut in 2013/14, Andreas Rekdal converting the decisive spot kick.

European places*
Molde FK – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
IL Hødd – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Strømsgodset IF – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Rosenborg BK – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Vegard Forren (Molde FK)
The central defender has been pivotal to Molde's success over the last two seasons. He has also forged a solid partnership with Fulham FC's Brede Hangeland at the heart of the Norway defence.

One to watch: Ørjan Håskjold Nyland (IL Hødd)
Man of the match in the cup final, this 22-year-old keeper is tipped for stardom. His heroics in Hødd's run to the cup final made bigger clubs sit up and take notice and he is also expected to feature in this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Israel.

Surprise package: Strømsgodset IF
Coach Ronny Deila has been allowed to build a strong side over the course of a few seasons. Now the team have a good blend of seasoned campaigners and young talent that played arguably the best football in Norway this season.

Leading scorers: Péter Kovács (Strømsgodset IF) and Zdeněk Ondrášek (Tromsø IL), 14 goals

Number: 3
Rosenborg lost three matches in a row in the run-in (against Molde, Strømsgodset and Fredrikstad FK), defeats that ultimately cost the Trondheim side the title.

Relegated: Fredrikstad FK, Stabæk Fotball

Promoted: IK Start, Sarpsborg 08

Quote
"Our plan for next year is to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League."
Ole Gunnar Solskjær looks ahead to Molde's challenges for 2013.

Last updated: 27/11/12 11.53CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=nor/news/newsid=1899388.html#season+review+norway

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