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Season review: Iceland

Published: Thursday 8 October 2009, 13.20CET
FH Hafnarfjördur won the Urvalsdeild title for the fifth successive season, though they had to share the headlines with Stjarnan's survival story and Breidablik's dramatic Icelandic Cup triumph.
by Stefán Stefánsson
from Reykjavik
Season review: Iceland
FH took the title again in Iceland ©FH Hafnarfjördur
Published: Thursday 8 October 2009, 13.20CET

Season review: Iceland

FH Hafnarfjördur won the Urvalsdeild title for the fifth successive season, though they had to share the headlines with Stjarnan's survival story and Breidablik's dramatic Icelandic Cup triumph.

FH Hafnarfjördur won the Urvalsdeild title for the fifth successive season, though in 2009 they had to share the headlines with Stjarnan's survival story and unbridled celebrations for Breidablik, who prevailed for the first time in a dramatic Icelandic Cup final.

Champions: FH Hafnarfjördur
FH lost their first game but hit top gear straight afterwards, winning 13 and drawing one of their next 14 matches as they threatened to steamroll their way to success. Two defeats and a draw in August left KR Rejkyavík scenting blood, however, and the chase was on for a while before FH triumphed with a game to spare. "We weren't that great in August when we had a lot of players injured, but new players came in and proved themselves," said coach Heimir Gudjónsson.

Cup final: Breidablik 2-2 Fram Reykjavík (aet, Breidablik won 5-4 on penalties)
The celebrations in Kopavogur may continue throughout the winter after Breidablik claimed the 50th Icelandic Cup to atone for defeat in their only previous final appearance in 1971. It was 1-1 after 90 minutes, 2-2 after 120, and with both sides converting four of their five penalties, the shoot-out went into sudden death. Paul McShane rattled his effort against the bar to hand Breidablik the trophy. "My boys kept the faith for the whole summer although some things were against us," said Breidablik coach Ólafur Kristjánsson. "They kept their chins up and now we have the cup for the first time." They will make their European debut in 2010/11.

Suprise package: Stjarnan
Promoted last season, almost everyone predicted a short stay in the top division for Stjarnan. But the Gardabaer-based side soon proved their detractors wrong, with 20 points from their first ten games securing safety. Eventually finished seventh in the 12-team league despite amassing just six points from their last 12 fixtures. "We were buried deep in all the graveyards in Iceland but kept our place," said coach Bjarni Jóhansson after consigning Fjölnir and Thróttur to the drop.

Player of the Year: Atli Gudnason (FH Hafnarfjördur)
Eleven goals in 20 league games saw forward Gudnason voted Player of the Year by his peers. The 25-year-old supply teacher said: "I started the season very well which gave me confidence to do better. I kind of expected to be chosen as the best; I play for a good team that won the title and often the best player comes from that side, but it could have been any FH player."

One to watch: Alfred Finnbogason (Breidablik)
With 13 goals in 18 games, 20-year-old Finnbogason's first full season in the top division was an unalloyed triumph. "I have good team-mates and a coach who helped a lot," said the forward after being voted Young Player of the Year by his Urvalsdeild contemporaries. "You cannot win this title on your own. Someone said you reap what you sow, and my title and the cup win is reward for my hard work over more than a year."

Leading scorer: Björgólfur Takefusa, KR Reykjavík (16)

Number: 5
Needing three goals in the final game of the season to join the league's top scorer, FH's Atli Vidar Björnsson, on 14, Takefusa went two better, scoring all five in the 5-2 win against Valur Reykjavík to take the crown for himself.

Quote

"We will continue to build our team up. Like the poet said: 'Rome was not burned in a day'."
KR coach Logi Ólafsson mixes his metaphors as he reflects on a decent season.

Last updated: 06/07/10 14.37CET

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