Saltnes ledet an og ga Glimt drømmestart i Europa

© (NTB scanpix) Amahl Pellegrino (midten) jubler sammen med Patrick Berg (t.v.) og Ulrik Saltnes, etter at han økte hjemmelagets ledelse til 3-0 i conferenceligaen mot Zorja Lugansk på Aspmyra stadion. Foto: Mats Torbergsen / NTB Saltnes ledet an og ga Glimt drømmestart i Europa

– Vi ble nesten litt overrumplet og ble litt utålmodige i spillet. Heldigvis fikk vi justert oss inn, og da synes jeg det er klasseforskjell, sa Ulrik Saltnes til Viaplay.

Hjemme mot Zorja Lugansk fra Ukraina, som slo Leicester i fjor, ble det en omgang med stang ut før Glimt-spillerne fikk nervene i sjakk i pausepraten. Etter hvilen rullet Glimt over gjestene fra start. Det kunne ha stått både 3- og 4-0 tidlig i andre omgang.

Saltnes har vært en av de viktigste spillerne i Glimt-laget som har skrevet seg inn i historiebøkene etter seriegullet i fjor. I år er laget den eneste norske representanten i europacupene.

Nettopp Saltnes fikk æren av å score Glimts første mål i et europeisk gruppespill da han headet en corner i mål etter 48 minutter. To minutter senere doblet Ola Solbakken ledelsen før Amahl Pellegrino la på til 3-0 med en frekk chip.

På overtid kom et lite skår i gleden da Artem Hromov scoret for gjestene.

– Må nyte det

– Det er det største jeg har opplevd på en fotballbane, sa Ola Solbakken.

Glimt fikk uansett en god start på gruppespillet i conferenceligaen. Overkjøringen i starten av andre omgang gir håp om en magisk høst for Glimt. De andre lagene i gruppa er Roma og CSKA Sofia. José Mourinhos Roma åpnet med en sterk 5-1-seier.

– Jeg tenker at vi har bevist for oss selv at vi har noe å gjøre i denne konkurransen. Vi må ta kamp for kamp, og det blir seks herlige fester, så vi må bare nyte det, sa hærfører Saltnes.

Nerver og brente sjanser

Det kunne ha blitt en drømmeåpning allerede i kampens første spilleminutt. Amahl Pellegrino stormet i angrep og rundet keeper før det var spilt 30 sekunder.

Han fikk imidlertid en dårlig berøring og fikk verken avsluttet eller sendt ballen til en lagkamerat.

Også Saltnes og kaptein Patrick Berg prøvde seg i første omgang, men sjansene ble brent. Samtidig spilte gjestene seg mer og mer inn i kampen, og til pause var det 6-6 i avslutninger og 0-0 i mål.

Matchvinnere i begge ender

Etter pause stormet Glimt igjen i angrep. Akkurat som i første omgang, kom Pellegrino seg til en stor sjanse umiddelbart etter hvilen. Det endte med en corner, og på den fikk vertene endelig uttelling.

Glimt-stjernen Saltnes steg til værs og headet ballen i mål til stor jubel på Aspmyra. Gultrøyene var tydelig preget av den historiske begivenheten i første omgang, men kom ut med fullt trykk etter pause.

Bare to minutter etter Saltnes mål kom 2-0. Glimt vant ballen, og det gikk lynhurtig i lengderetning. Ballen endte hos Erik Botheim, som spilte fri Ola Solbakken. Han skjøt vakkert opp i vinkelen.

I løpet av to minutter hadde Glimt festet et solid grep om kampen.

Kunne vunnet mer

Zorja presset på for å komme tilbake i kampen, men da sto Nikita Khajkin fram som en matchvinner i Glimt-målet.

Etter en times spill fikk også Pellegrino målet sitt. Han fikk ballen levert av en Zorja-stopper, så opp og chippet ballen frekt over keeper som var på halvdistanse.

Glimt strålte i andreomgangen og kunne ha vunnet langt mer. Saltnes hadde blant annet en avslutning i stolpen. Hromovs 1-3-mål på overtid la ingen demper på festen på Aspmyra. I neste runde venter bortekamp mot CSKA Sofia.

(©NTB)

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