MATHEW WAGNER - Monday, March 18, 2013
Josh Gatt and Molde started off their title defense on the wrong foot with a loss at Viking, while Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg picked up three points in their road opener.
Viking Stavanger 2 - 1 Molde FK
Josh Gatt went the distance for Molde in the team's season opener, but defensive lapses cost the two-time defending Norwegian champions any points at Viking on Friday.
Under-20 center back Sean Cunningham did not dress for Molde.
Looking to use its speed and counterattacking capability to its advantage, Molde took the lead in the 10th minute through a Mattias Moström goal. The Swedish midfielder received a chip pass from Magnus Wolff Eikrem that put him in the box, and Moström wiggled through the defense to score from 12 yards out.
Molde's weak link throughout the match was its defense, however, and it showed in the 31st minute.
Jón Daði Böðvarsson got loose along the right wing and sent a low cross inside the six-yard out. An unmarked Veton Berisha tapped in the cross from right in front of the goal line to tie the match.
The start of the second half brought about a role reversal between both teams, and Viking made the most of its counterattacking ability in the 57th minute.
On the left wing, Trond Olsen received a pass from Johan Lædre Bjørdal and cut inside. Ending up near the right-side post, he fired a low, 14-yard shot past Molde goalkeeper Espen Bugge Pettersen.
From there, Viking looked the more dangerous team and held on for the three points. Molde returns to action April 2 against Lillestrøm.
Start Kristiansand 3 - 2 Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark and Hønefoss dug themselves too deep of a hole to climb out of in a loss to Start on Sunday.
Clark went the distance at goalkeeper for Hønefoss, while American forward Kenneth di Vita Jensen made the bench but did not play.
After a rather dull opening 10 minutes, Start struck out of nowhere. In the 13th minute, birthday-boy Jesper Mathisen sent a 30-yard free kick past Clark, who had no chance.
Things went from bad to worse for Hønefoss in the 23rd minute after giving away possession in the midfield. Start's Espen Hoff received a through ball from Alejandro Castro along the right wing, and once Clark charged out to stop Hoff's run, he passed to Matthías Vilhjálmsson, who slid in front of his defender to put the ball into the back of the wide-open net.
Hønefoss' horrid start continued in the 32nd minute, when Kevin Larsen took down Hoff just inside the right edge of the 18-yard box. Hoff stepped up to take the penalty, and although Clark blocked the original shot, the rebound went right back to Hoff for the easy goal.
Start continued to look dangerous for the rest of the half and went into halftime with a three-goal lead.
Early in the second half, Hønefoss used its heading ability to get back into the match, starting in the 54th minute. Despite a clearance off a corner, Hønefoss sent the ball right back into box, where Kristjan Örn Sigurðsson headed the ball back in from the far post. Mats André Kaland met the ball and easily headed in the ball from right in front of the net.
Hønefoss struck again off a corner in the 63rd minute. After the ball bounced off a couple of heads, including a clearing header, Tor Øyvind Hovda headed it back toward goal, and Heiner Mora headed in the ball from right in front of the goal line. The ball never touched the ground over the entire sequence.
This set up an interesting finish, but Hønefoss couldn't find the equalizer, falling to the newly promoted team. Clark and Co. return to action April 2 for their home opener against Strømsgodset.
Odd Grenland Skien 0 - 1 Rosenborg Trondheim
A great goal in the second half gave Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg an opening win against Odd on Sunday.
Diskerud went the distance in central midfield for the Norwegian giants.
The match started out slow, with neither team creating many chances in the first half, but things heated up in the second half.
Although Rosenborg controlled much of the first 15 minutes of the half, Odd almost broke through first, when Frode Johnson hit a ball that smacked into Tore Reginiussen's hand in the 60th minute. Johnson stepped up to take the penalty, but Alexander Lund Hansen managed to make the save.
Then, in the 71st minute, Rosenborg scored. Mike Jensen struck a 25-yard shot that just snuck under the upper right-hand corner of the goal to give the Troll Kids the lead.
From there, Rosenborg held on to pick up the three points. The team returns to action on April 2 for its home opener against Brann.