Considering that the Molde Elite was playing for their life in Eliteserien, the atmosphere in Idrettenshus was intense last night.
The Elite needed to defeat Gjerpen by 7 goals to prevent relegation. A packed house came out to witness the final game of the season. Pre-match crowd excitement was at an all-time high when suddenly the entire arena went dark. A laser show began, with the epic Pirates of the Caribbean song blasting away, promising an intense encounter; the match easily lived up to the hype.
Gjerpen took the first lead and managed to maintain it for over twenty minutes. However, with the score standing at 5/8, a two-minute penalty gave Molde the personnel advantage. They capitalized and evened the score at 8. The Elite’s first lead came in the 29th minute at 12/11, but they didn’t manage to take that lead into the locker room due to two quickly conceded goals that left the score at 12/13 over the break.
The second half is where the real intensity began. Molde led by as much as 4 goals, but the score was once again tied 20/20 in the 46th minute. The two teams then proceeded to trade goals all the way until the 58th minute, when the score was still tied at 27. The Elite were giving their all for the win here, with multiple players sacrificing their body and sustaining injuries for plays both on offense and defense. Miraculous work on offense left Molde defending a 1 goal lead with only 10 seconds remaining. The entire audience was on the edge of their seats. Could they manage one last stop?
A forced turnover had Molde fans rejoicing for about half a second before realizing that the referee was running in. While it was being ruled that Mona Obaidli had been inside of the arc when she touched the ball, the final buzzer went off. The game would come down to one final penalty shot. Unfortunately for Molde, Gjerpen scored on that penalty shot, and celebrated the tie as if they had won the Champion’s League.
The Molde Elite had fought harder than ever before in those closing minutes, even though the win by 7 was impossible by then and relegation was a certainty. Lina Mekvik Rypdal, who had countless saves in goal, commented on this:
«We just wanted to win to prove that we still can, even at this level.»
Even though they didn’t get that win, they showed that they are a team that can hang with the best. Now they have to prove it all over again next year by earning their way back into Eliteserien.