Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kjelsås – Frigg (24-07-2010)

I arrived at Oslo airport just after noon, tired but fit enough to make my way to a game after checking in at the hotel and getting some coffee downtown. After a 30 minute tram ride from downtown Oslo (line 11) I arrived at stop ‘Grefsen Stadion’… but there was no stadium to be seen. Fortunately, I could hear the music playing from behind one row of houses and so I could find my way to the small and hidden Grefsen Stadion.

I paid NOK 80 (ca. 10 euro), but unfortunately did not get a ticket. It was roughly 15 minutes before kick-off on this beautiful Saturday afternoon and I went to the small canteen to get me a freshly baked waffle.

Kjelsås-Frigg is a game in the Norwegian 2. divisjon – Avdeling 1 (Second Division – Section 1), which consists mostly of teams from the larger Oslo region. On this beautiful afternoon, roughly 25C/75F with a light breeze, some 110 people attended the game, including some 10 supporters from Frigg Oslo Fotballklubb and three Flemish guys; turned out that one was working for Frigg and he had two mates over. Most of the people sat on the one and only stand, which consisted of a wooden structure with plastic seats which were being slowly but steadily overtaken by grass and weed.

The guests started the game the most aggressive and in the 6th minute they already scored through a header from a corner kick: 0-1. It would take till the 11th minute for the hosts to have their first (very weak) shot at goal. In the 21st minute Kjelsås is very unlucky, as they hit the crossbar with a devastating shot. Two minutes they are even more unlucky, when the (good) referee gives a penalty after a collision between the Kjelsås goalie and defender and a Frigg striker. The penalty is coldly converted: 0-2.

This put Kjelsås in overdrive and they finally start to create some pressure and chances. Already in the 26th minute they score, after a fast free kick is volleyed in: 1-2. After that the game quickly deteriorates, with Frigg uninterested in attacking and Kjelsås unable to attack properly. Despite the Astroturf the passing is poor and the only remarkable aspect of the game is the shouting on the pitch. 1-2 is also the half time score.

The beginning of the second half sees the best and the worst of the home goalie. At various corner kicks he totally misses the ball, but then at several other occasions, with shots from close range, he makes miraculous safes. As Frigg is increasingly interested in keeping the score and wasting time, Kjelsås keeps pressuring for the equalizer, unfortunately mostly fighting more with the ball than the opponent. In one of their few good attacks over 5-6 players Kjelsås finally scores, in the 76th minute: 2-2.

Despite the relative heat, for Norwegians 24C is hot, the last fifteen minutes oif the game are the most entertaining. Almost every minute one of the two teams has at least half a chance to score, and shots go just wide, just over, or are well saved by the respective goalies. But despite all the drama, 2-2 will also be the final score.

Very satisfied I walk back to the tram, which brings me back to my hotel in 30 minutes. This is what groundhopping is all about: a cozy stadium, nice weather, some nice snacks (waffles this time), and some entertaining football (even if it was not really high quality). It’s good to be back in Europe!

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