With Matchday 2 yet to kick off, Valur Reykjavík are celebrating qualifying for next season's European Champion Clubs' Cup after taking the Icelandic title.
A 20-year wait came to an end on Saturday as a 1-0 win against Hanknattleiksfélag Kóparogs earned Valur their 20th title and ended a run of three straight successes for FH Hafnarfjördur. A 1-0 win against Víkingur Reykjavík would have handed FH the title had Valur dropped points, but a rare goal from defender Atli Thórarinsson won the day for Valur. "The boys in the team have been joking that I never score goals, not even in training, but now I have scored two [this season]," Thórarinsson said.
Coach Willum Thór Thórsson had won successive titles with KR Akureyri in 2003 and 2004 before taking over at Valur in 2005, winning the cup in his first season and leading his side to third place in the league. In 2006 they were runners up and he was thrilled to improve on that again. "I think the key is that the players do not fall apart when things are not going our way," he said. "We lost against ÍA [Akranes] and then against Cork [City FC] from Ireland in the UEFA Cup, then we beat FH 4-1 at home and after that we started to close in on the title."
Valur's women's team had already retained the national title and another honour almost came the club's way as 33-year-old Helgi Sigurdsson went into the final round of games at the top of the scorer's charts with 12 goals. However, BK Fram's Jónas Gardarsson, 34, snatched that honour on the final day with two goals in a 2-2 draw against Breidablik taking his total to 13 for the season. Seasoned strikers showed their worth this summer with the third and fourth top scorers - Víkingur's Siniša Kekić and FH's Tryggvi Gudmundsson - aged 38 and 33 respectively.
From next season, the Icelandic top division will be extended from ten teams to 12. Víkingur are the only team to be relegated while first division champions Grindavik, Thróttur Reykjavík and Fjölnir will make up the numbers in 2008.
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