Luis Berkemeier Pimenta, the Portuguese-Norwegian coach of the Kongsvinger football club, made history Thursday night when his team beat the top-league team Strømsgodset of Drammen. The victory ushers Kongsvinger, from the historic town of the same name northeast of Oslo, into Norway’s national cup final.
“I’m so proud of the boys, so proud,” an ecstatic Pimenta, speaking in Norwegian, told state broadcaster NRK after bursting into sobs of joy when his team won the cup semi-final by a score of 2-1. “They have worked so hard, every day, they’ve had faith in every training session, they have faith that they can beat everyone.”
That may help when Kongsvinger meets one of Norway’s traditionally most powerful clubs, Rosenborg of Trondheim, at the cup final. The festive annual match is always played at the national stadium, Ullevaal in Oslo, with member of the royal family present in the grandstands.
“And to be meeting Rosenborg, what a dream, what a dream!” Pimenta exclaimed. “It’s incredible.”
When the match began, few thought Kongsvinger had a chance against Strømsgodset. That changed after the break. Ørjan Røyane kicked in the decisive goal that won the match for the team that ranked in the second division last year. Fredrik Måni Pinerud scored the earlier goal but all the Kongsvinger players were their fans’ heroes as the crowd went wild. Strømsgodset, which had never lost a cup semi-final before, was disappointed.
“We started out well but didn’t manage to create enough chances,” the Drammen club’s new coach, Tor Ole Skullerud, told NRK. “It’s disappointing. We allowed in two cheap goals, and that’s hard to swallow.”
The national cup final is scheduled for November 20.