(Qarabag – Molde 0-0, 5-6 after penalties) Etzaz Hussain (27) missed the penalty. Then the teammates did well again. Now Molde is one step away from the Champions League.
The qualifying drama in Cyprus went all the way to penalty shootout after Hussain missed his attempt during the extra innings.
Ohi Omoijaunfo, Fredrik Aursnes, Eirik Hestad, Tobias Christensen, Martin Ellingsen and Kristoffer Haugen took responsibility and scored on six of six penalties.
Andreas Linde stopped Qarabag’s sixth penalty, and thus Molde is ready for the Champions League play-off. There awaits the strong Norwegian Tokmac Nguen and his Ferencváros, who won 2-1 over Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night.
– We put down both blood, sweat and the whole soul as well. It gives a euphoric, wonderful feeling. It is not often that we who play football get to experience this, says Molde coach Erling Moe to VG on the phone from Cyprus.
– It is for the Champions League we want. We will give it a proper try, warns Moe.
Victory in it
against Qarabag means that Molde is secured at least 30 million kroner because they are already guaranteed participation in the Europa League group stage (if they do not reach the Champions League) as well as a solidarity bonus of 50 million kroner in the event of a loss against Ferencváros. When Rosenborg participated in the group game in the Europa League last year, it gave a total of 130 million kroner in income despite the fact that they only took one point.
A victory in the double settlement against the Hungarians will make Molde the first Norwegian team in the Champions League group game since the 2007/08 season when Rosenborg participated.
A place in the most generous European company will also mean at least NOK 150 million in start-up bonuses in addition to significant TV revenues and any bonuses for a win or a draw. In total, Molde can expect as much as NOK 250 million for such an achievement.
– It means a lot to any club. I do not have very good control over the financial part, but of course it provides security. We have solid owners who support, a solid club operation as usual, and this allows us to continue to be ambitious and look ahead. There is nothing better, says Moe.
There was no huge football performance that took place in Cyprus, where the settlement was moved as a result of Molde not being exempted from the quarantine obligation when returning from Azerbaijan, which is not in the Schengen / EEA.
But the chances that came, it was Qarabag who stood for: Dribbling fan Abdellah Zoubir was the big concern for the Molde defense in the first half, but misused the first opportunity before the break.