(Haugesund – Viking 4–2) Kristoffer Løkberg (30) shed tears after the first red card of his career. From the stands he had to see that Haugesund turned to victory in a highly dramatic Rogaland derby.
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Haugesund stopper Søren Reese became the big hero when he fought in 3-2 just over five minutes before the end, before Christos Zafeiris removed all doubt with his 4-2 scoring in overtime.
In doing so, they ensured that the Vikings’ miserable form continued. The gold candidate now has three straight losses, and has not won in the last five.
The framework for the Rogaland derby was powerful, with an almost full stadium and a minute of silence after the tragic shooting in Oslo on Saturday night.
When the match was started by referee Rohit Saggi, it was fast-paced from the start, and even before four minutes had passed, the ball was in goal.
With his long steps Sebastian Sebulonsen stormed past Thore Pedersen before he put the ball low in front of goal. There, 19-year-old Daniel Karlsbakk won the duel with Peter Therkildsen, and sent Viking in the lead with scoring in his first elite league match from the start.
The approximately 1000 visiting Viking supporters were in ecstasy, but it would not be many minutes before Aljoner “Badou” Ndour created balance in the accounts with a brilliant finish down in the opposite corner.
Shortly afterwards, Viking was reduced to ten men. Bilal Njie was given a chance to change things around. Judge Saggi thought it was to deprive an obvious goal chance, and showed Løkberg the red card.
– It’s clear. He takes away from him the opportunity to come alone with the goalkeeper, said Discovery’s expert commentator Lars Bohinen.
– It looks a bit “soft”, but I have not seen it on TV yet, says Viking coach Bjarte Lunde Aarsheim to Discovery + during the break before the TV pictures are shown.
– Yes, it was «soft», he concludes then.
– I will endure being expelled and stand in it. It may be the referee’s fault, but it’s bad of me first, says a weeping Løkberg to Discovery + after the match and continues:
– It is hard to see 1000 visitors who spend time and money, and the boys who have to run with one man less for almost 90 minutes. We can all stand and slaughter the judge. I’m more concerned with making a mistake in advance. When we end up losing in the end, I take full responsibility for it.
After the match, Løkberg was gone and thanked the Viking supporters.
– I have never been expelled before in my entire career, but it was not until I went out there and looked them in the eye, says Løkberg before he takes a longer break.
– I’m going to get over it, but it was damn good.
1 of 2Photo: Jan Kåre Ness / NTB
Even though Viking had to play the last meager 80 minutes with one man less, that did not stop the guests from Oljebyen from taking back the lead.
Once again, Saggi came into focus, when he sentenced penalty to Viking after Karlsbakk’s attempt to post went in Reese’s arm.
– There is no point in speculating now, says FKH coach Jostein Grindhaug to Discovery + during the break when asked what he thought about the penalty.
Samúel Fridjónsson rolled the ball ice cold in goal from the penalty spot.
Just after the break, “Badou” equalized with their second goal of the day, before Reese and Zafeiris ensured Haugesund victory with their goals just before the end.
– It means a lot to get my first goal here, and it means a lot to win. It’s a great feeling to win, I love it. Our fans carried us all the way and are fantastic, says Zafeiris to Discovery +.