Stjarnan end Valur's Icelandic reign

"This is the beginning of a great era," said Stjarnan captain Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir after they clinched their first Icelandic women's title and earned a European bow for next year.

Stjarnan celebrate winning the title
Stjarnan celebrate winning the title ©Stjarnan

Stjarnan have ended Valur Reykjavík's five-year reign as Icelandic women's champions with two games to spare to claim the title for the first time.

The Gardabaer club beat Afturelding/Fjölnir 3-0 on Tuesday night and are seven points ahead of Valur with two games to go, ensuring a UEFA Women's Champions League debut in 2012/13. Valur, however, did confirm themselves in second with a 5-0 defeat of bottom side Thróttur Reykjavík, having also secured the Icelandic Cup last week with a 2-0 win against KR Reykjavík.

"We have aimed for this title for many years and finally we made it but we have worked hard for it," said Stjarnan captain Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir, whose team triumphed with an Ásgerdur Stefanía Baldursdóttir penalty just after half-time and late strikes from Ashley Bares and Inga Birna Fridjónsdóttir. "We tried not to think about the title, only this game, but were nervous to begin with. Still we were ready to win and managed to cool down and think at half-time."

Jónsdóttir, whose team have recorded 15 wins and just one loss, will make their European debut next season, said: "This is a great feeling, I have played for and supported Stjarnan all my life so it is great to see titles finally coming in and we say this is the beginning of a great era in the town of Gardabaer."

That dream could become real since their coach Thorlákur Árnason has proved himself on an international level by leading Iceland to last month's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship semi-finals. Árnason's squad includes three of those U17 talents, Írunn Aradóttir, Anna María Baldursdóttir and Hugrún Elvarsdóttir, as well as American striker Bares, scorer of 18 goals, six more than anyone else in the league.

Published author Árnason is discussing extending his contract beyond the end of 2012 and said: "I think first and foremost it was the spirit of the players which gave us this title, we had set our goals for it and our plan worked out."

Last year's top two will represent Iceland in this season's UEFA Women's Champions League and will meet in the round of 16 if both win their first knockout games. To do so, Valur must beat Glasgow City FC – visiting Scotland on 28 September and welcoming them back a week later. Meanwhile, debutants Thór/KA, currently fifth in Iceland, face last season's runners-up 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam at home in the opener with both legs a day earlier than their compatriots' fixtures.