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Season review: Iceland

Published: Saturday 5 October 2013, 15.00CET
KR Reykjavík wrested back the Icelandic Premier League title, Fram Reykjavík ended a 23-year wait for silverware and the returning Kristján Gudmundsson impressed at Keflavík.
by Stefán Stefánsson
from Reykjavik
Season review: Iceland
KR celebrate after lifting the title ©KR Reykjavík
Published: Saturday 5 October 2013, 15.00CET

Season review: Iceland

KR Reykjavík wrested back the Icelandic Premier League title, Fram Reykjavík ended a 23-year wait for silverware and the returning Kristján Gudmundsson impressed at Keflavík.

KR Reykjavík's strength in depth ultimately proved telling in the Icelandic Premier League, with the capital side finishing five points clear of FH Hafnarfjördur at the summit. At the other end of the table, Fram Reykjavík only just avoided the drop but nevertheless had enough quality to lift the Icelandic Cup.

Champions: KR Reykjavík
KR opened the campaign with eight wins and a draw from their first nine games. Though they subsequently lost two on the bounce, KR then went on a seven-match winning streak and finally wrapped up the title with two fixtures to spare. "We had a very difficult game against Breidablik [a 3-0 defeat] with four games to go," said coach Rúnar Kristinsson. "That was an off day for us – we've only had two of them all season."

Kristinsson has been a sensation since assuming the reins midway through 2010 – his first job as a senior coach. A year later he landed the domestic double, 2012 brought the Icelandic Cup and this season the championship. "This was much more difficult than two years ago," he added. "The battle at the top is much harder and four teams were in contention so you could not afford to slip up."

Cup final: Fram Reykjavík 3-3 Stjarnan (Fram win 3-1 on penalties)
Coach Ríkhardur Dadason, a former Fram striker, took over from Thorvaldur Örlygsson midway through the campaign, guiding his team to victory against the likes of Breidablik before a dramatic triumph in the final. It marked the end of a 23-year wait for silverware.

European places*
KR Reykjavík – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FH Hafnarfjördur – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Stjarnan – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Fram Reykjavík – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*Subject to final comformation from UEFA

Player of the year: Björn Sverrisson (FH Hafnarfjördur)  
"I did not expect this; I thought a KR player would get the award," said Sverrisson, who helped himself to nine goals in an excellent campaign. "It makes me very proud to have been chosen by other players in the division and perhaps it shows I am doing something right – even if that's only being an annoying player for opponents." The 23-year-old's form also attracted interest from elsewhere and he will be playing his football with Viking FK in Norway next season.

One to watch: Arnór Ingvi Traustason (Keflavík)
Still only 20, this tall midfielder has already been plying his trade in the top flight for three years and is an integral figure for his club. "I expected someone else to win this," said the Under-21 international. "I want to reach the top of my profession. However, even if that doesn't happen, I will happily continue to play for Keflavík."

Surprise package: Keflavík
Just four points after seven games left Keflavík staring at the possibility of relegation, prompting the appointment of Kristján Gudmundsson as coach in place of Zoran Daníel Ljubicic. Gudmundsson previously occupied the hot seat between 2005 and 2009, guiding Keflavík to cup glory in 2006 and close to the title two years later. This time around, he masterminded six wins and two draws to steer his team clear of danger.

"I got a call asking me to help and of course I was ready," he said. "My task was to come in and inspire the players to keep our place in the division. We did it and played some good football with the help of the town's support. Nothing has been decided about me staying on yet."

Leading scorer: Atli Björnsson, FH Hafnarfjördur (13)

Relegated: Víkingur Ólafsvík, ÍA Akranes

Promoted: Fjölnir Reykjavík, Víkingur Reykjavík

Number: 52
KR's points tally marked a record for the Icelandic top flight. "After winning the championship, we set new goals that we used as motivation in order to end the season in style," explained coach Kristinsson.

Quote
"The long walk in the desert is finally over and it will be easier to win next time."
Fram coach Ríkhardur Dadason after his side ended a 23-year trophy wait

Last updated: 07/10/13 21.23CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=isl/news/newsid=2006476.html#season+review+iceland

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