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…


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.

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.

Stoppage Time Equalizer Drops Vikingur to 2-2 Draw

I haven’t done any match summaries this season, because finding any kind of recaps online has been darned hard.  First world football blogger problems, to be sure.  However, I have now tracked down a source – – and with the help of Google Translate, will do my best to get back into the summaries.

Vikingur Olafsvik came out firmly in control, with good possession and multiple scoring opportunities in the first half hour, but weren’t able to convert.  KA Akureyri keeper Srdjan Rajkovic kept his side in the match, with some outstanding saves on Brynjar Kristmundsson and Friend of the Blog Eyþór Helgi Birgisson.  In the 23d minute, midfielder Bjorn Palsson pulled up with a thigh injury, but returned to the pitch five minutes later.  Finally in the 34th minute Eyþór beat his defender and lofted a ball into the box for striker Kemal Cesa to knock into the goal.  Vikingur had more opportunities in the first half, mostly down the right side through Eyþór, but weren’t able to find the back of the net, and went in to halftime only up 1-0.

Olafsvik stayed strong through the first 15 minutes of the second half, with Eyþór and Cesa continuing to abuse the left side of the Akureyri defense, but were continually denied by Rajkovic.  In the 54th minute, Palsson finally succumbed to his injured thigh and was subbed off for the Pride of Hackettstown, Joey Spivack.  Palsson’s departure seemed to give Akureyri some new life, as they started taking control of the midfield, taking advantage of Spivack’s newness to the squad.  They weren’t able to find the back of the net, though, until the 71st minute, when KA forward Ævar Ingi Jóhannesson’s ball deflected off Tomasz Luba and into the Vikingur net.

Four minutes later, though, Steinar Már Ragnarsson got the ball away from KA mid Edin Beslija and slipped through the Akureyri defense, slotting a shot neatly past Rajkovic to put Olafsvik back in front 2-1, and it looked like Vikingur was headed into a three-way tie for second place in the 1.Dield.  KA pressed higher and higher up the pitch to try to grab an equalizer, and the action was end-to-end, with Gunnar Örvar Stefánsson hitting the crossbar off a corner in the 88th minute, and Vikingur breaking away in the other direction with Cesa being denied yet again after getting through one-on-one against Rajkovic.  Finally, though, in the first minute of stoppage time, Ævar got a sliver of space away from Emir Dokara and found Gunnar in the box, who beat keeper Arnar Darri Pétursson to draw Akureyri level.

It wasn’t over, though, as Eyþór kept pounding down the right flank trying to will his team to the victory; as the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time was winding down, he broke behind the defense but couldn’t find the back of the net, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

The result leaves Vikingur firmly in the middle of the table, in fifth place with 19 points.  They are only two points out of second place, but are well back of the other contenders on goal differential, at -1 compared to +12 for Akranes, +3 for HK Kópavogur, and +10 for KA.

Major tip of the hat to Magnús Þór Jónsson of for the real-time text summary that I used to construct this summary.

Stoppage Time Comeback in Akranes

Stoppage time giveth, and stoppage time taketh away.  Last week against Selfoss, Vikingur Olafsvik conceded a goal in stoppage time and lost 1-0.  This week, as the clock ticked over to the 90th minute, Vikingur trailed Akranes 2-1, and it looked bleak.

Then a penalty was given a minute into stoppage time, Eyþór Helgi Birgisson converted to equalize the game at 2-2, and it looked like Vikingur would escape Akranes with an away point.

But that wasn’t all.  Three minutes later, Fannar Hilmarsson found the back of the net to put Olafsvik up 3-2, for a stunning come-from-behind stoppage time victory.

Vikingur Olafsvik now sits in fourth place in the 1.Dield, with six points.

Vikingur Olafsvik Falls 1-0 in Stoppage Time

Somewhat unsurprisingly, it can be hard to get a lot of detail from which to write a match summary of an Icelandic second-division soccer match from 2600 miles away.

First world problems, I guess.

Vikingur Ol had to travel 100 miles to Akranes for their “home” match against Selfoss, due to the poor condition of the pitch in Olafsvik.   The match was scoreless through 90 minutes, but looking at the match statistics, Vikingur appeared to have dominated: 54%-46% advantage in possession, an 11-1 advantage in shots, a 6-1 edge in corners.  They were unable to find the back of the net, though – and in the first minute of stoppage time, Selfoss forward Elton Livramento broke through to send Vikingur down to defeat.

Vikingur Olafsvik travels back to Akranes on Friday for their match against IA, who is level with Vikingur at three points after two rounds.

Vikingur Falls to Fylkir and Falls to 1.Deild

Vikingur Olafsvik came into today’s match at the Fylkisvöllur needing a win to have a chance at avoiding relegation, and for the first 45 minutes, it looked like it could happen.  Vikingur controlled the play and built up well on the attack, but was unable to finish, while Fylkir was limited to defending and counterattacking.  The teams entered halftime in a tight scoreless draw.

In the second half, however, Fylkir came out aggressively, playing a tight pressing defense, and getting the ball into striker Viðar Örn Kjartansson.  Kjartansson had three good opportunities in the first ten minute of the second half, firing a shot outside the post, banging one off the crossbar, and having a third saved by Hjörleifsson.  In the 62nd minute, Pablo Punyed and Kjartansson connected on a corner, with Kjartansson sliding it in at the far post.  Five minutes later, Kiko Insa brought Kjartansson down in the box, and Emil Berger converted the penalty.

Vikingur threw everyone forward in the last 20 minutes, subbing in forward Magnusson for defender Hjaltalin and bringing in Birgisson’s fresh legs for Palsson.  Two quick opportunities came to naught, as Eldar Masic shot wide and Guðmundur Magnússon’s goal was disallowed due to offside.  After Farid Zato hit the crossbar from 25 meters and Eyþór Helgi Birgisson went over the top of the frame, the two connected to bring Vikingur back within one goal, with Zato passing into the box to the feet of Birgisson, who calmly slotted it home.

There were no more miracles for the men from Olafsvik, though, as time ran out on their attempts to equalize.  With the loss, Vikingur stayed at 17 points as Fylkir moved to 23.  Thor’s 1-0 victory at IA moved them to 21 points, dooming Vikingur to relegation.

Vikingur Olafsvik Sinks Akranes 5-0

Vikingur Olafsvik went into Akranes today desperately needing three points to gain ground on Thor at the edge of the drop zone, and left with five goals, a clean sheet, and a dominating victory.

In the 16th minute Toni Espinosa buried a free kick, and two minutes later Juan Manuel Torres took a cross from Captain Hafsteinsson and fired a laser into the bottom corner.  After some back and forth with no scoring, IA midfielder Arnar Mar Gudjonsson picked up his second yellow card, and the rout was on.

Kiko Insa took a pass from Samu Jimenes in the 43rd minute and slotted it past the Akranes keeper to send Vikingur into half time up 3-0.  Vikingur controlled play in the second half, with Alfred Mar Hjaltalin and Gudmundur Magnusson finding the back of the net to close out the match, sending Vikingur home to Olafsvik with the most lopsided victory scored by any team in the Urvalsdeild this season.

Just Because You Play the Right Way Doesn’t Mean You’ll Win

About a week ago, I noted that Vikingur Olafsvik could not afford to play for draws, even against teams like KR.  With four weeks left, they were trailing Thor by three points, and needed to get some wins to avoid relegation.

Today, they certainly played like a team going for a win.  Emir Dokara fired a shot over the crossbar in the second minute, and six minutes later Samu Jimenez pushed forward from the back line and fed a cross to Alfred Hjatalin, who put the ball on frame but was turned away by the KR keeper.  Throughout the first half, Vikingur continued firing on the KR goal, with shots from Dokara, Eythor Birgisson, Togo national team callup Farid Zato, and Captain Gudmunder Stein Hafsteinsson peppering the KR keeper, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

The barrage continued in the second half, as Birgisson and Hafsteinsson had shots saved, but in the 57th minute, KR midfielder Sigurdarson scored against the run of play to put Vikingur down 1-0.  For the last half-hour the Vikings pushed forward to try to get an equalizer, and things could have gotten ugly fast if not for the stellar goalkeeping of Einar Hjörleifsson, who had five saves in the final 15 minutes.  The whistle blew with KR still up 1-0 on Vikingur.

When the day ended, the bottom of the table was just like it was when the day started, as Thor fell to Stjarnan and IA lost to Keflavik.  Vikingur Olafsvik trails Thor by three points, while IA is six points further back with a game in hand.  A win Sunday at Akranes – losers of five of their last six matches – would give Vikingur a shot at escaping relegation with some help and a strong finish.  But like today, it’ll be a day to go out for a win.

Comeback at the Kaplakrikavöllur

Things started slowly for the first quarter-hour in Hafnarfjörður, but the home side quickly got into gear and it looked like it was going to be a long day for Vikingur.  With possession deep in the Vikingur end, FH broke through in the 27th minute with a header in off a corner.  Vikingur was unable to capitalize on some opportunities late in the first half, with Hafsteinsson heading off the crossbar and Torres’s strike going wide, and halftime saw them down 1-0.

Early in the second half, things got worse for Vikingur, with another FH goal off a corner, to put the visitors down 2-0.  It looked bleak until Hafsteinsson was taken down in the box by FH keeper Róbert Örn Óskarsson, who got sent off and brought Toni Espinosa to the penalty spot.  Espinosa’s shot snuck past backup FH keeper Dadi Larusson, and the match was on, with Vikingur bringing on Björn Pálsson to put more pressure on the attack.

The pressure paid off in the 79th minute, as Kiko Insa scored off a corner from Espinosa.  The last twenty minutes was a wild run up and down the pitch, with both sides getting opportunities but being unable to convert.  Vikingur comes away with the road point against a top-class team, and will enjoy the long break until facing off at home against perennial powerhouse and top-sitting KR.