Early Goals and Late Comebacks

As I sat down to watch European football powerhouse Iceland take on plucky little France in the Euro quarterfinals, I realized that I’ve been remiss on my match updates, likely disappointing my regular readers (both of them).  So, onward.

After a layoff of almost three weeks, Olafsvik faced their Reykjavik namesakes.  VikingurR striker Gary Martin converted a penalty in the 10th minute and added a goal in open play two minutes later.  Olafsvik was unable to put together a response, leaving it to the national team to take their revenge against Perfidious Albion three days later in the Euro knockouts.

Things looked headed for a repeat three days later as VikingurOl hosted Throttur Reykjavik, and Throttur scored two quick goals before most of the supporters had managed to open up their thermoses of coffee.  Croatian Messi Hrvoje Tokic was able to score off a corner in the 40th minute, and Vikingur headed to halftime down 2-1.

The first half hour of the second half proceeded slowly with Throttur successfully parking the bus and Vikingur unable to break through.  Fan favorite Alfreð Már Hjaltalín entered in the 79th minute and quickly made his presence known, slotting home an equalizer off a Þorsteinn Már Ragnarsson header five minutes after coming on.  As regulation time ticked away, Vikingur stepped up the attack, and in the first minute of stoppage time Aleix Egea headed home a corner to give Olafsvik the dramatic 3-2 win.

VikingurOl now stands in third place, with another long layoff due to 75% of all Icelandic football supporters having to find their way back from France over the next week.


Late Equalizer for Olafsvik

A mistake by FH defender Jonathan Hendrickx was all that Croatian Messi Hrvoje Tokic needed to slot home an equalizer in the 86th minute, as Vikingur Olafsvik came away with a hard-fought draw against last season’s champion.  Hafnarfjörður was the stronger team for most of the game, but a well-organized and stubborn Vikingur defense conceded only a single goal from Steven Lennon in the 28th minute.

Vikingur stays level in fourth place with 11 points, one behind Breidalbik and trailing FH and Stjarnan on goal differential.  They host last-place Fylkir next week, looking to take three points and move up.

One and Done in the Icelandic Cup

The good news was that Vikingur Olafsvik got a draw into the Round of 32 of the Icelandic Cup (I assume due to their winning the 1.Deild in 2015).  The bad news was that their draw was against Stjarnan, sitting top of the table and undefeated this year in the Pepsideild.

Playing on the road, VikingurOl sat back and played a defending/counterattacking game in the first half, and came close to capitalizing in the 28th minute as Pape Mamadou Faye’s shot went off the crossbar after deflecting off a defender, and Alfred Mar Hjaltalin put a shot on frame after the ensuing corner, only to be stymied by the Stjarnan keeper.  Stjarnan returned the favor in the 36th as Veigar Páll Gunnarsson hit the crossbar on a free kick, and two minutes later was denied by VikingurOl keeper Cristian Martinez.  The teams went to half-time scoreless.

Five minutes into the second half, VikingurOl took the lead as Pape Faye fed William Domingues just outside the box, and Domingues neatly slotted the ball home into the far corner.  Stjarnan equalized in the 59th minute as Veigar Páll Gunnarsson fed the ball into the box and Jeppe Hansen went up and nodded it home, but before the celebration was over, Pape Faye took the ball down the left wing, stiffed his defender, and beat the Stjarnan keeper one-on-one to put VikingurOl up 2-1.

VikingurOl staved off increasingly aggressive counterattacks for the next half hour as Stjarnan bombed down the field to try to equalize, but in the 88th minute, Guðjón Baldvinsson went up for a corner and headed it into the net to level the score at 2-2.  Four minutes of stoppage time came and went with no scoring, and the teams wentto extra time.

For most of extra time, VikingurOl was on their back foot, due to injuries to Björn Pálsson and Þorsteinn Már Ragnarsson forcing them to play a man down for 20 minutes.  A final flurry of attacks proved fruitless as Kristinn M. Pétursson and Domingues were both denied in the 120th minute.  So, to the purgatory of penalties.

VikingurOl went first and Domingues converted the kick he wasn’t able to get in open play, and when Olafsvik keeper Martinez guessed right and saved Guðjón Baldvinsson’s shot, it looked promising.  Through three rounds both teams made their kicks and Vikingur was up 3-2 into the fourth round, when Stjarnan keeper Hörður Fannar Björgvinsson stopped Pape Faye, leveling the teams.  After five rounds, the clubs were level at 4, and it was on to sudden death.

In round 6, both teams converted.

In round 7, both teams converted.

In round 8, Alfreð Már Hjaltalín was denied by Hörður Fannar, and Stjarnan’s Jóhann Laxdal beat Martinez to advance Stjarnan to the round of 16.

I learned in my referee class that penalties do not decide a winner, only which team advances after a draw when a decision is needed for the competition.  So some consolation can be taken from the fact that Vikingur played the top team in the Pepsideild to a draw, on the road, over 120 minutes.  And there won’t be any of these pesky distracting midweek games for the rest of the season.  But it would have been nice…

A Late Start to a New Season

Mine, that is – although it appears that it has taken Vikingur Olafsvik a few weeks to get the ship headed downwind as well.

The first five weeks of the season saw Vikingur collect ten points, which is nothing to scoff at, although it was not done in the most inspiring fashion – with a scoreless draw, three one-goal wins, and a 2-0 loss to Thróttur Reykjavík (who is quickly looking to be the class of the league, having given up only one goal in five matches which they’ve won convincingly).  From afar, it has appeared that the story of the season was going to be stingy defense and equally stingy offense.

They say you can’t lose if you don’t concede goals, but by the same token you can’t win if you don’t score, and scoring has been at a premium for Vikingur.  Last week’s Cup match against Thor seems to have sparked something with the Olafsvik side, though.  After falling behind 2-1 in the first half, Vikingur stunned the opposition with two long-range goals in the final ten minutes to win 3-2 and advance to the quarterfinals.  They followed this up with a convincing win over Bi/Bolungarvik in league play, in a 2-1 match that wasn’t really as close as the scoreline indicated.

Today, they turned it up another notch.  In a match that has been described by observers as “very probably the best quality game in VikingOl history,” the Olasvik 11 controlled possession, controlled the match, and cruised to a fairly effortless 2-0 victory.  Goals by William Dominguez da Silva and Alfreð Már Hjaltalín came on either side of halftime, with numerous other opportunities falling to Olafsvik including at least two uncalled penalties.  And the Vikingur defense had little difficulty maintaining their fourth clean sheet of the season against an HK attack that was described by Fotbolti,net commentator Magnús Valur Böðvarsson as about as effective as a plastic knife at KFC.

It’s a good time to be rounding into form, with a Cup quarterfinal match Thursday at Fjolnir, currently sitting third in the Pepsideild, before facing Thor in league play next Sunday with a chance to overtake them and move into second place.

Víkingur Ólafsvík Wins Going Away, 5-1

Encroachment? What Encroachment

Eyþór Helgi Birgisson Converts a Penalty in the 16th Minute.

Photo Credit: Helgi Kristjánsson

After a first half that saw the only scoring on an Eyþór Helgi penalty, and a KV Reykjavik equalizer in the 60th minute, Víkingur Ólafsvík unloaded for four goals in the space of 20 minutes to stay two points ahead of Þróttur in the coveted position of Best Non-Promoted Team in Second-Division Icelandic Football.

Þorsteinn Már Ragnarsson started the run in the 67th minute.  Alejandro Abarca added his own six minutes later, and Toni Espinosa added a brace with two goals in seven minutes.

A very satisfying final appearance in front of the home crowd for Víkingur, who travels to Hafnarfjörður next week to close out the season against Haukar.

Playing out the string

With the Akranes victory on Thursday, Vikingur Olafsvik was locked out of promotion, falling ten points back.  So, with three matches left, it’s a matter of playing out the string to determine who is the best non-promoted club in second-division Icelandic football.

Vikingur Ol picked up a point in Round 20, as Þorsteinn Már Ragnarsson put in an equalizer in the 85th minute against Bi/Bolungarvik to end up with a 1-1 draw.  They now have 33 points, standing two clear of Throttur.

Vikingur hosts KV Reykjavik in their last home match of the season next Saturday, before closing out the season at Haukar.  The last time the clubs met in Reykjavik, KV scored three goals in the first 15 minutes and held on to defeat Vikingur 3-2 in a match that Vikingur otherwise dominated.

A Match Summary in Thirteen Tweets

Following second-division Icelandic football (#2DIF) from New Jersey, one is generally dependent on the availability of local press to cover games and post live text updates.  When I am able to follow a match as it’s happening and tweet out updates, well, there’s not a whole lot of match info to summarize beyond what I’ve already tweeted out.  So, for those of you who may see the blog but not follow the Twitter, here’s the summary of the scoreless draw on August 29 between Vikingur Olafsvik and Leiknir Reykjavik.

Alas, Bolngarvik was unable to help the cause, falling to Akranes 1-0 after a stoppage time #refshow:

Vikingur Olafsvik now sits seven points behind second-place Akranes with only three matches remaining.  Akranes faces 11th-place KV Reykjavik on Thursday and faces two mid-table squads in its last two matches, and can eliminate VikingurOl from the promotion chase with a win or two draws.  VikingurOl plays Bolungarvik, KV, and Haukar, and basically has to win out and hope for some help from KV, Haukar, and Akureyri against IA, or else be reduced to fighting for the position of Best Non-Promoted Club In 1.Deild.

Best. Day. EVAR.

Following a second-division Icelandic football team from New Jersey is, shall we say, a challenge.  I usually head over to fotbolti.net, where the great folks frequently have a writer doing a live commentary on the match (in Icelandic, of course, but Google Translate FTW, as long as you can puzzle out things like “hoof diagram Viking defense and Hilmar Incorporating finishing well over Arnar Darra”).

Imagine my great surprise and delight when I got onto the page about 30 minutes into the game (hey, I was at work) and saw that the game was being streamed live on sporttv.is.  Could it be?  Could I actually get to watch the club, instead of just reading about them?


Unfortunately, I tuned in too late to miss the highlights of the first half – Þorsteinn Már Ragnarsson slotting home a rebound before the first half-minute of the game had passed, and The Pride of Hackettstown, Joey Spivack, driving a long-range missile into the net in the 34th minute to put Vikingur up 2-0.

Overall, Vikingur seemed to have better quality possession throughout the match, keeping the ball in the attacking half and forcing Throttur to try to boom long balls forward and score on a breakaway.  They broke through in the 70th minute with a curling shot from just outside the box, and pulling to within one goal seemed to energize them, as they held possession far better and put pressure on the Vikingur defense.  In the last ten minutes of the match, Vikingur defender Brynjar Kristmundsson had to head a shot off the line, and a second shot skipped off the crossbar and out of danger, or Throttur could have leveled at 2.

In stoppage time, Throttur earned a free kick about 15 yards outside the box, and brought forward everyone including the keeper to try for the equalizer.  Vikingur keeper Arnar Darri Pétursson bravely went up into the crowd and took the service, and quickly released Þorsteinn Már on a counterattack; the Vikingur Ol striker calmly delivered the ball into the back of the Throttur net from 40 yards out to put Vikingur up 3-1 and put the match out of reach.

So, to summarize:

Þorsteinn Már got a brace.

The Pride of Hackettstown Joey Spivack scored his first Vikingur Olafsvik goal.  (He was favoring his right leg when he was subbed out in the 79th minute, but told me later it was just a cramp.)

Vikingur Olafsvik won.

Akranes lost.

Throttur and KA, who both started the day two points ahead of Vikingur, both lost.

Vikingur moved into fourth place, 5 points behind Akranes for promotion.

And I got to actually watch Vikingur Ol live on my computer.  Yes, that is correct: Sitting in New Jersey, I got to watch a video feed of a second-division Icelandic soccer match being broadcast from a stadium in Reykjavik.

I live in the future.

Eyþór Helgi Birgisson Gets 5-Match Ban

Friend of the Blog Eyþór Helgi Birgisson, who got a red card in Vikingur Olafsvik’s last match against Grindavik, was handed a 5-match touchline ban from the Icelandic Football Association for violation of Regulation 16, which prohibits the use of discriminatory language.  Eyþór Helgi will not even be permitted to attend the club’s home matches during the ban.

Sources in attendance at the game claim that, while Eyþór Helgi spoke to the referee after his sending-off, there was nothing discriminatory or prejudicial in his words or actions.  No further information has been forthcoming from the KSI, the club, or Eyþór Helgi.

The five match ban will run concurrently with Eyþór Helgi’s suspension for receiving a red card in the Grindavik match.  He will not be eligible to return to play until the club’s penultimate match of the season, against KV on 13 September.