Sarpsborg 08 – match report vs Sandefjord 05/07/20

After five defeats Sarpsborg 08 finally won their first match of this season in the Eliteserien. Away against Sandefjord, who had grabbed four points so far, Sarpsborg managed to go home with a convincing 0-3 win, climbing up to fourteenth place in the Norwegian league.Mikael Stahre’s Sarpsborg played a flat 3-4-3 formation, which most of the time looked more like a 5-4-1 formation, and basically parked the bus. With 64% possession Sandefjord had most of the ball, but didn’t find any gaps in the defense of Sarpsborg only managing to get one shot on target.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Jörgen Strand Larsen

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 06/02/2000
  • Current club: Sarpsborg 08
  • Career: Kvik Halden (Y), Sarpsborg 08, AC Milan (YL)
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Jörgen Strand Larsen played as the sole striker for Sarpsborg with Mohamed Ofkir and Ole Jörgen Halvorsen on the wings. It really was a hard match for the young striker being very isolated from the rest of his team, but he still managed to score a very important goal. The 6’3 striker has to make some steps physically, but isn’t a weak player. His strong hold up play allowed his team to move forward multiple times.

Without the ball Sarpsborg defended very deep in their own half and Strand Larsen was often the only Sarpsborg player not close to his own penalty box. Strand Larsen obviously preferred his favorite right foot, but wasn’t scared to use his left one either picking out some good passes and crosses with it.

Despite being tall Strand Larsen is also a very technical player which makes him more of a threat. When he got the ball at his feet he showed his great first touch, dribbling and composure. This all came together in the 29th minute when he scored his first goal of the Eliteserien season. After a cross from the left wing-back Joachim Thomassen, Strand Larsen took a great first touch between two Sandefjord defenders and slotted the ball in the right corner.

Defensively Strand Larsen did the work he needed to do. When one of the wingers was staying up front Strand Larsen tracked back and took over their role. He sometimes tried to put some pressure on the Sandefjord defenders, but as his team always played a low defensive line this didn’t really do anything.

Rating: B1

Strand Larsen needs to start scoring more goals than he is currently doing, but that isn’t easy with the way Sarpsborg play. He tries to get involved in the play and shows that technically he can play at a higher level than the Eliteserien.

Ismaila Coulibaly

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Malian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 25/12/2000
  • Current club: Sarpsborg 08
  • Career: CS Duguwolofila, Sarpsborg 08
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

The 19 year old Ismaila Coulibaly had a solid match for Sarpsborg. He played next to Anton Salétros as one of the two central midfielders, forming a block in front of the three central defenders. Defensively Coulibaly was quite important for his team, but he also showed some great qualities with the ball at his feet.

Coulibaly looks quite slim and isn’t the tallest player at 6 foot, but his aggression made up a lot for him. With 5 successful tackles and an interception Coulibaly did important defensive work for his team. He always got back in time after attacking and didn’t seem to be out of position at any time.

Coulibaly wasn’t that involved in the build-up play. Most of the time Sarpsborg played a long ball from the defence or they played through the other central midfielder Salétros. With the ball at his feet Coulibaly seemed to be quite comfortable. He seemed very composed and managed to dribble past his opponents a couple of times. He often chose the more simple passes, but he also made some nice first touch passes completing the match with a passing accuracy of 79%. Fifteen minutes into the game Coulibaly opened the scoring with an unbelievable goal. After a corner the young midfielder managed to chip the ball over the Sanefjord goalkeeper with a backheel.

Coulibaly played a good game, but he also made his fair share of errors losing the ball 12 times for his team. Most of these mistakes looked like concentration problems and nonchalance. Especially after his goal, Coulibaly made some weird defensive decisions.

Rating: B1

Coulibaly is only 19 years old and showed that he is a good player for the Eliteserien already. If he keeps improving he can prove himself at a higher level.

Mohamed Ofkir

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian 
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 04/08/1996
  • Current club: Sarpsborg 08
  • Career: Lillestrøm SK, KSC Lokeren, Sandefjord, Sarpsborg 08
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

It is really not easy to play for Sarpsborg, which also showed in Mohamed Ofkir’s performance. Ofkir played as the left winger for Sarpsborg, but had to sit very deep into his own half when Sandefjord had possession. When Sarpsborg had the ball Ofkir barely had any space to move as the left wing-back Thomassen always was there with him on the left side of the field. Ofkir only had 25 touches and one successful dribble before being subbed off in the 69th minute, having lost the ball seven times.

When Ofkir got the ball at his feet, he always tried to cut inside on to his right foot or he played an easy ball back to Thomassen. As he didn’t have space, Ofkir started moving more to the middle, but didn’t get a lot of the ball there either. The only moment that I will remember from him this game is when he tripped over the ball trying to dribble past right back Jonsson.

Rating: D

As I said it isn’t easy being an attacker for Sarpsborg, but Ofkir didn’t really show any promising signs this game.



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