In the lower regions of the Norwegian Eliteserien FK Haugesund and Stromsgodset IF met each other on the third matchday of the season. Both teams lost their first two matches, so a win would be very big for the two sides. Haugesund started in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Stromsgodset 4-3-3 which was a little more flat in midfield. The level of the match was pretty disappointing. Both teams looked weak on the ball with not one of the four wingers on the pitch looking dangerous. In the end, Stromsgodset went home with the three points. The away side was the stronger team in the second half and scored the only goal of the match from a corner kick.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Norwegian/Greek
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 23/02/2003
- Current club: FK Haugesund
- Career: Valerenga IF (Y), Grorud IL, FK Haugesund
- Position: Attacking Midfielder
- Secondary Position: Central Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Watching FK Haugesund was almost frustrating at times as they seemed to lack any plan in this match, but Christos Zafeiris was the only bright light in their team. The 19-year-old played as the attacking midfielder in Haugesund’s side and was by far their best player in my eyes. Zafeiris positioned himself quite deep in possession, often close to Haugesund’s striker, but liked to roam towards both wings as well. When he received the ball on the wing he mostly tried to cut inside, looking for a cross or a shot. Zafeiris is right-footed but has a solid left foot as well, making him a real threat.
Standing at 5’8” you probably don’t expect a lot of him on the physical side of the game but he actually did very well. He showed great upper body strength and did very well in his defensive duels this game. Last season for Grorud IL he mostly played a bit more defensive and he even played as a centre back for the Norwegian U19s, which clearly helped him. He recovered the ball a lot of time pressing Stromsgodset’s half and his opponent struggled to get past him. Zafeiris pressed his opponents with a lot of aggression and urgency, without making any fouls doing so. His work rate and stamina are two other aspects that he really showcased in this game. He tracked back very well in defensive transitions and covered a lot of ground for his side, doing a lot of defensive work as well.
Not everything Christos Zafeiris did on the ball worked out this game but he seemed like the only player who was going to score or create a chance for his side this game. He actually opened the score for his side in the 15th minute with a great finish but it was disallowed since he had to control the ball with his right arm. He put in a few good crosses in as well but they weren’t converted in a goal. Overall his distribution of the ball was fine this game. Aside from one or two sloppy moments, his short passing was great and he also showed great passing range with some nice switches. Technically Zafeiris also looked very strong. He did really well in smaller spaces in the midfield and was easily able to beat his opponent. He dribbled really well with both feet, which combined with his great balance made him really hard to get off the ball.
Rating – A2
I’ve seen Zafeiris a few times last year when he played for Grorud and it surprised me how easily he has adapted to the Eliteserien. If nothing changes FK Haugesund might be in a relegation battle this year. Zafeiris looks like a player with a lot of potential and I definitely see him making a nice move abroad in the future.
- Nationality: Danish
- Age: 21
- Date of birth: 09/05/2000
- Current club: FK Haugesund
- Career: Aalborg BK, Vendsyssel FF, FK Haugesund
- Position: Centre Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Anders Baertelsen played as the right-sided centre back in Haugesunds 4-2-3-1 and did a decent job despite the loss. The Danish defender has an impressive physical presence. Standing at 6’3” with a toned build Baertelsen looks like an absolute unit. His direct opponent for most of the match, Fred Friday, is very strong himself as well which led to some interesting duels. Baertelsen came out on top in most of them but I really missed some aggression from him in his duels. He defended quite patient waiting for the right moment to recover the ball. This worked out quite well for him but I really felt like he underused his strength throughout this match. His pace wasn’t really tested this match but he didn’t look very fast when turning or accelerating.
Baertelsen occasionally stepped out of the defensive line with or without the ball and seemed to read the game quite well. On the ball he didn’t really show anything special. He looked a little clumsy at times so I’m curious how he would perform if he was pressed a lot in a game. This game he did fine the few times Stromsgodset put pressure on him though, looking pretty composed on the ball. His passing was okay this against Stromsgodset. He didn’t really make any mistakes with his shorter passes but his long passing looked quite inconsisten.
Rating – B1
FK Haugesund’s defence wasn’t really tested against Stromsgodset. Baertlesen looked like a fine centre back for his team but I have some doubts about him.