Royals defender Axel Andresson lifted the 1.Divisjon title with Viking FK on Sunday afternoon on a dramatic final day in the Norwegian second tier!
Nearly 16,000 people were crammed into the SR-Bank Arena to try and cheer the Stavanger-based side on to an immediate return to the Eliteserien, having dropped out of the top tier last season after 29 years. And a 3-1 win against Kongsvinger helped them to reclaim their place at Norway’s top table.
The Norwegian season runs from February to November – with temperatures regularly at sub-zero during the winter months all over Norway, that’s quite understandable! And this weekend was the final round of action.
Andresson’s involvement has gone hand-in-hand with the Viking’s rise to the summit, putting them in pole position going into the final weekend. A 3-0 defeat to Sandnes Ulf in August, which Axel watched on from the bench, was his first taste of a matchday with his loan club and left them out of the automatic promotion places.
But drafted in to start for the next game, his defensive efforts helped Viking to a 3-0 win against Levanger. On next start, away at Notodden, he grabbed his side’s winner in the 88th minute – an important result come the season’s end!
They won a total of six out of eight games going into the final weekend, and sat just a point ahead of Mjøndalen and two ahead of Aalesund with one game to go. So dependent on results, any two from three could go up…
… but the task facing Viking was simple. Win, and go up as champions.
All was going to plan midway through the first period when midfielder Johnny Furdal made a late run into the box to slot in an opener as the ball was cut back to him.
But the script was torn up half an hour into the game when a low cross came in from the right, which Viking goalkeeper Iven Austbø inexplicably let slip through his legs… Andresson was a spectator when Shuaibu Ibrahim arrived to poke in an equaliser for Kongsvinger.
Viking stuck at it though – and benefitted from a red card to Korean midfielder Gang Dongwan. With the extra man, they finally got their noses ahead 10 minutes from time through Tommy Høiland’s 21st goal of the season, before Kosovan international Zymer Bytyqi sealed the deal with a few minutes left.
Cue the celebrations at the referee’s full-time whistle! It was a very necessary victory, too… Mjøndalen and Aalesund both won their games, so anything other than a win would have left Viking with the prospect of the play-off lottery.
Many congratulations to Axel and his Viking teammates on their achievement in claiming the league title.
Take a look at the final day action for Viking below...