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Season review: Iceland

Published: Tuesday 25 October 2011, 9.09CET
KR Reykjavík claimed the Icelandic title for the first time since 2003 as they completed a league and cup double in coach Rúnar Kristinsson's first full season in charge.
by Stefán Stefánsson
from Reykjavik
Season review: Iceland
KR Reykjavík celebrate another goal on their way to a league and cup double ©KR Reykjavík
Published: Tuesday 25 October 2011, 9.09CET

Season review: Iceland

KR Reykjavík claimed the Icelandic title for the first time since 2003 as they completed a league and cup double in coach Rúnar Kristinsson's first full season in charge.

The season belonged to KR Reykjavík, who beat FH Hafnarfjördur into second place to capture a first Icelandic title since 2003 – their 25th in total – as part of a league and cup double in coach Rúnar Kristinsson's first full season.

Champions: KR Reykjavík
A fantastic opening to the season, with ten wins in 13 games, gave Reykjavík a flying start and established them at the top of the table. The run faltered after they lost Óskar Örn Hauksson to injury and a sequence of one win in six followed soon after, with KR suffering their first defeat to rivals FH. The pressure was on, but consecutive 3-2 victories in the closing weeks gave them the title by three points. "It's great to bring the trophy home," said former KR player turned coach Kristinsson. "I am very proud, especially of my players, the board and everyone who has worked for the club. All these people have worked very hard together. We have a good squad who give it everything."

Cup final: KR Reykjavík 2-0 Thór Akureyri
A record 12th Icelandic Cup triumph ensured a fine double for the capital club, although it was anything but straightforward as they went down to ten men in the final. After BI Bolungarvik had been dispatched 4-1 in the semis, Thór presented a stiffer test in the showpiece and hit the bar more than once before falling behind when Gunnar Már Gunnarsson turned into his own net. Skúli Jón Fridgeirsson was dismissed for KR, yet the win was sealed by Baldur Sigurdsson with nine minutes remaining. Kristinsson said: "Thór gave us a lot of trouble all game, but in the second half they could not keep up with us."

European places*
KR Reykjavík – UEFA Champions League
Thór Akureyri – UEFA Europa League qualifying round
FH Hafnarfjördur – UEFA Europa League qualifying round
ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar – UEFA Europa League qualifying round

*Subject to UEFA confirmation

Player of the Year: Hannes Halldórsson (KR Reykjavík)
League and cup success plus an Iceland debut were hardly what KR goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson expected when he made the pre-season move from Fram Reykjavík, but his outstanding year justified the plaudits. "I didn't plan anything except to do my best for the club," Halldórsson said after the curtain fell on his campaign. The 27-year-old was part of the Premier League's meanest defence, conceding 22 times in 22 matches and keeping nine clean sheets in domestic competition.

One to watch: Thórarinn Ingi Valdimarsson (ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar)
Part of the unfancied Iceland Under-21 side that made it to the finals of the 2011 UEFA European U21 Championship in Denmark, Thórarinn Valdimarsson also established himself as a key member of the ÍBV team that finished third in the top flight. Scoring five goals as he drove his colleagues forward, the powerful midfielder now intends to improve for club and country. "I am calm about my future," he said. "The next step would be to go professional but first I must concentrate on improving my performances."

Suprise package: Thór Akureyri
Following their promotion from the First Division, Thór's sole aim had been to maintain elite status, yet their dream cup run was still a joy for many in Iceland. After a hectic start to Premier League life – winning two but losing six of out ten games – they won three in a row before a late-season slump scuppered their survival hopes. It was for their cup exploits, though, that Thór will be remembered. Grindavík and ÍBV were seen off en route to the club's first-ever final, and they almost shocked KR in the decider, rattling the woodwork before losing 2-0.

Leading scorer: Gardar Jóhannsson, Stjarnan (15 goals)

Number: 126
The quantity of goals that Vestmannaeyjar forward Tryggvi Gudmundsson has scored in Icelandic league football, drawing him level with all-time record holder Ingi Björn Albertsson. The 37-year-old began his exploits in 1993 and has twice been the league's top marksman, winning four championships, two cups and 42 Iceland caps. Gudmundsson added ten to his total this term, yet failed to take the record outright as he was unable to register in ÍBV's last three matches. "It is all planned," he said. "If I had taken the record, I would have laid on the couch all winter, but now I have something to look forward to."

Relegated: Víkingur Reykjavík, Thór Akureyri

Promoted: ÍA Akranes, UMF Selfoss

Quote
"Oh, I didn't know that – I thought I was the boring one!" Tryggvi Gudmundsson from ÍBV got a shock after being voted the most enjoyable player to watch by a popular radio station.

Last updated: 03/12/12 20.04CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=isl/news/newsid=1703929.html#season+review+iceland

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