Norway Tippeligaen, 5pm, Thursday
MOLDE once again mixed up their starting line-up in pursuit of a return to form against Start.
Orjan Nyland replaced Ole Soderberg in goal for his first Tippeligaen start, Magne Simonsen came into midfield with Martin Linnes dropping to right-back, while Etzaz Hussain and Magne Hoseth came into midfield for Emmanuel Ekpo and Joshua Gatt.
Striker Daniel Chima Chukwu was also dropped, meaning Jo Inge Berget started up front alone. It’s fair to say that this experiment didn’t work; Chukwu was brought on just after half-time.
Aalesund have a number of selection issues. Striker Leke James returned to the side in place of Tremaine Stewart for the home against Rosenborg on the weekend, scoring one of his team’s two goals. Since the absence of the Demar Phillips, Aalesund’s form has dropped and they will be desperate to get him back pronto.
Molde team news
Suspended: None. Doubtful: Joona Toivio (back), Borre Stenslid (knee), Kristoffer Vatshaug (hamstring). Injured/unavailable: Victor Johansen (ankle), Espen Bugge Pettersen (hamstring).
Aalesund team news
Suspended: None. Doubtful: Tor Hogne Aaroy (calf), Nymo Matland, Tremaine Stewart (ankle). Injured/unavailable: Daniel Arnefjord (knee), Peter Orry Larsen (ankle), Demar Phillips (personal reasons).
Molde needed a goalkeeping error to hand them the equaliser and a draw against Start on Molde. They have now recorded the worst start by a reigning champion in Norwegian history, with just two points from seven.
They go into their local derby with Aalesund bottom of the table. Aalesund will be eager to make things worse for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side so the pressure is really on and they are yet to manage a single point at home this season.
Aalesund were left wondering what happened after giving away a 2-0 lead against Rosenborg on Saturday. It’s now been three games since the club’s last victory and they are perhaps lucky to remain so high up the table after their fantastic start to the season. They will see Molde, who are so low on confidence, as a possible place to get back on winning track.
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