By Eivind Aarre
Rosenborg BK clinched the league championship in Norway from Vålerenga IF thanks to a last gasp-goal from Frode Johnsen in a 4-1 win over SFK Lyn.
Last minute strike
Vålerenga and Rosenborg were equal on points and goal difference before Saturday's final round of matches. With a minute of the season to go it looked like the title was heading Vålerenga's way with the Oslo side 3-0 in front against Stabæk IF and Rosenborg only 3-1 ahead with two goals from Johnsen and one from Daniel Braaten. But Johnsen's 90th minute hat-trick strike snatched the title for the Trondheim club.
Equal goal difference
Both sides ended on 48 points with a goal difference of 18 but Rosenborg scored 52 goals to Vålerenga's 40. Rosenborg equalled the European record of 13 consecutive titles held by FC Skonto of Latvia in coach Ola By Rise's last domestic game in charge and will return to the UEFA Champions League in 2005/06.
Erik Hoftun, the Rosenborg captain said: "I have experienced a lot in my time as a player, but this ranks as one of my best." Kjetil Rekdal, Vålerenga coach, said: "We did our best, but we can only congratulate Rosenborg on another title."
Vålerenga only stayed in the top division last season after winning a relegation play-off. They won the last of their four championships in 1984 and were boosted this season by the arrival of striker Steffen Iversen, formerly of English clubs Tottenham Hotspur FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.
SK Brann's 2-2 draw away against Lillestrøm SK meant that they pipped Tromsø IL to third place on goal difference. Tromsø beat Sogndal IL 3-1. Sogndal and Stabæk are relegated to the First Division while FK Bodø/Glimt will have to play a round of qualification matches against Sandefjord or Kongsvinger to secure their place in next year's top division.
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