Fans of the underdog will have had much to enjoy over the opening weekend of football in the new Norwegian Premier League season – with a number of smaller clubs embarrassing larger, better-resourced and more famous opponents.
Arguably the biggest upset of all was the 2-1 win by Bergen-based SK Brann over Norwegian champions Rosenborg. The pre-season predictions have been dire for once-mighty Brann, but they defied the odds and the critics by shocking Trondheim’s Rosenborg, which has dominated Norwegian football for decades, with two goals in a stunning first-half performance. Newly signed Nigerian forward Kim Ojo was particularly impressive, with one goal and an assist.
But the surprises didn’t end there – Ole Gunnar Solskjær was hit with a shock opening defeat of his full managerial career, as his team Molde FK lost to newly-promoted Sarpsborg 08. Sarpsborg won 3-0, scoring all three goals in the second half, and will feel they have silenced the naysayers and proved they are capable of making the transition to the top level of Norwegian football.
Lillestrøm SK also delivered an amazing result, thoroughly thrashing hotly-tipped Stabæk 7-0 away from home. Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah scored a fantastic four goals in the game – a feat made even more astounding by the fact that he had been subject to much controversy during the pre-season, when comments he made on Facebook about the departure of one of his friends led to him being suspended for one warm-up match. Ujah is credited by many for helping his fellow foreign footballers adapt to life in Norway, and repaid his club with his sensational form against Stabæk.
Other results saw last year’s runners up Vålerenga, based in Oslo, record an opening 2-0 away win against Viking FK, while cup holders Strømsgodset beat newly-promoted Sogndal 2-1 at home. In addition, Odd Grenland lost 2-0 to Start, and newcomers Fredrikstad FK managed a 2-1 away win over Aalesunds FK.