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Monday, March 4, 2024

RBK fails to reach top of Euro football

Norwegian football champions Rosenborg (RBK) failed to overcome FC København (FCK) in the second leg of the qualifying round for Europe’s top club football competition, the Champions League, despite taking a 2-1 advantage into the match.

FCK won 1-0 on the night, meaning the aggregate score of the two legs was 2-2. Nevertheless, the Danes go through by virtue of the away goal they scored in the first leg in Trondheim last week, as away goals count more if the score is tied over the two legs.

From the start, Rosenborg seemed overawed by the cauldron of noise inside FCK’s Parken Stadium in Copenhagen. With the home fans booing every time their opponents had possession, there could not have been a greater contrast between RBK’s tired display and the confidence with which FCK set about overturning the one goal deficit from the first leg.

Missed chances
FCK threatened Rosenborg down both wings, especially on the left where Danish legend Jesper Grønkjær and Swedish left back Oscar Wendt combined to great effect. The first of many Købehavn chances came after just three minutes, as Martin Vingaard hit the post. Indeed, they should have scored many more times than they did, and were lucky to not have to rue missed chances like Vingaard’s woeful 20 minute miss from just eight yards out, Grønkjær’s uncharacteristic miss from similar range later on, or a string of good opportunities for enterprising Czech right back Zdeněk Pospěch.

The inevitable goal came after 33 minutes. RBK’s defenders seemed rooted to the spot as FCK’s Finnish defender Sölvi Ottesen was allowed to meet Brazilian Claudemir’s dangerous long throw and plant his header in the corner of the Rosenborg net. The Norwegian side almost conceded again just two minutes later, as more good work down the left from Gronkjær led to another long shot hitting the post.

For the whole first half, Rosenborg was nervous, wasteful and failed to get enough players forward. The only positives were two chances for Swedish forward Rade Prica that forced good saves – the first courtesy of a magical pass from Norwegian legend Steffan Iversen over the top of the FCK defence, and the second an individual effort fashioned out of nothing down the right touchline by Prica himself.

Lacklustre second half
The second half was far less enthralling, with few incidents of note. RBK undoubtedly improved on their first-half display, but failed to carve out good chances to score until the closing few minutes, when midfielder Roar Strand found space in the box to get away a stinging shot that rattled København’s goal frame and, minutes later, Prica forced a save from fellow Swede Johan Wiland in the FCK goal.

But that was all the Norwegian champions could manage, and the Danes were able to secure a vital win. They should again have scored more in the second half, with Brazilian striker César Santin missing an open goal from another Grønkjær cross. But it didn’t matter in the end, and FCK’s euphoria at full time – which saw their Norwegian coach, Ståle Solbakken, run onto the pitch to join the rapturous celebrations of his players – showed just how much the result means to the Danish champions.

Rosenborg will now have to content themselves with the Europa League, the second-tier European club competition (formerly the UEFA Cup). København, meanwhile, will go on to the Champions League proper, where they could meet the likes of Chelsea, AC Milan, or Barcelona.

For the time being, though, they will be delighted to have vanquished their fellow Scandinavians to become what some have called ‘Nordens konger’ – the Nordic kings.

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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