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Season review: Norway

Published: Wednesday 11 December 2013, 18.56CET
Strømsgodset IF ended a 43-year wait for a second title while the Norwegian Cup brought some consolation for Molde FK, who failed to make it three crowns in a row.
by Eivind Aarre
from Stavanger
Season review: Norway
Strømsgodset won their first title since 1970 ©B. E. Helgerud/godset.no
Published: Wednesday 11 December 2013, 18.56CET

Season review: Norway

Strømsgodset IF ended a 43-year wait for a second title while the Norwegian Cup brought some consolation for Molde FK, who failed to make it three crowns in a row.

With Molde FK's bid for a third successive Premier Division title fading fast, the championship race in Norway turned into a straight battle between Strømsgodset IF and Rosenborg BK, with the Drammen club taking their first crown since 1970.

Champions: Strømsgodset IF
The race went down to the wire, with 'Godset' finally confirmed as champions following a 4-0 home victory over FK Haugesund on the last day, 10 November. Ronny Deila's side have been building slowly over recent seasons, gradually easing in younger players after more experienced men steadied the ship. The coach wants his teams to play attractive, attacking football, saying he would rather win 5-4 than 1-0. "Now I will enjoy this league championship until 1 January," the 38-year-old said. "Then we will have to concentrate on new challenges."

Cup final: Molde FK 4-2 Rosenborg BK
In one of the most entertaining Norwegian Cup finals in years, the lead changed hands several times until Molde edged it late on. They regained the advantage with 82 minutes gone, Magne Hoseth curling in a superb free-kick. The result was then rubber-stamped as substitute Tommy Høiland won the ball inside the box in the 90th minute and prodded over the line. Defeat left Rosenborg without a trophy for the second consecutive campaign.

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

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Stefan Johansen (Strømsgodset IF)*
Johansen is the player who makes the Strømsgodset midfield tick. With his precise passing with both feet and strength in the tackle, most observers feel the 22-year-old will be playing abroad in the years to come. Johansen is also becoming established in the Norway national side under new coach Per-Mathias Høgmo.

*UEFA.com choice

One to watch: Mats Møller Dæhli (Molde FK)
With two quick feet, the 18-year-old midfielder returned home in the summer from a spell with Manchester United FC and impressed enough at Molde to be handed a full Norway debut this autumn. A skilful schemer with more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

Surprise package: Tromsø IL
Tromsø came second in 2011 and fourth in 2012, but endured a truly miserable season this time, culminating in relegation. Despite the departures of coach Per-Mathias Høgmo and certain key players, it was thought there was enough quality left for the 'Gutan' to comfortably keep afloat. Høgmo's former assistant Agnar Christensen took charge yet was dismissed with a few weeks to go; his replacement Steinar Nilsen could not rescue the team. "It is bitterly disappointing to be relegated but this club is ready to bounce straight back," insisted Nilsen.

Leading scorer: Frode Johnsen (Odd Grenland), 16

Relegated: Tromsø IL, Hønefoss BK

Promoted: Bodø/Glimt, Stabæk

Number: 6
The number of points defending champions Molde took from their first ten games. Cup success was some consolation, though Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side could only finish sixth after two successive titles.

Quote
"I'm so incredibly proud we have achieved this. It's been a long season and it's so good to end it with medals around our necks."
Strømsgodset playmaker Johansen after the championship was clinched.

Last updated: 11/12/13 19.32CET

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