Now there is only a double settlement between Molde and Champions League group games. If there is a loss there, the consolation prize is a group game in the Europa League.
Etzaz Hussian missed the penalty in the extra innings, but was saved by his teammates, and especially goalkeeper Andreas Linde in the penalty shootout.
– This was a fantastic experience, some of the craziest I have been involved in, exclaims an ecstatic Ole Erik Stavrum, general manager of Molde, to Dagbladet.
He calls the crucial minutes extremely nerve-wracking to follow from the stands in Cyprus.
– How should this be celebrated?
– I’m afraid the hotel bar will be emptied tonight, Stavrum laughs.
Can make big money
The Molde boss can take that bill with a clear conscience.
A group game in the Champions League means just over 150 million in cash for Molde in prizes, plus any bonuses in case of wins or draws, which means that the sum can increase to almost 250 million. In any case, the club is guaranteed around 100 million in income, as they are guaranteed a place in the Europa League, and a guaranteed solidarity bonus if they should break out in the next settlement.
– This victory means two things. We get the opportunity to qualify for a group game in the Champions League, we get big teams visiting Aker Stadium, and cool sporting challenges. Then it is clear that in such a corona year, that piece of money means a lot, it does, but today the sport is most important, Stavrum concludes.
In the next round, Hungarian Ferencvaros awaits. Norwegian Tokmac Nguen is playing, which is in great shape. In the victory over Dynamo Zagreb, he was responsible for the goal-scoring pass on the 1-0 goal, after a brilliant solo performance.
Molde has only participated in the Champions League once before, that was in 1999. The last time a Norwegian team was in the most generous club tournament was with Rosenborg in 2008.
Linde became the hero
Goalkeeper Andreas Linde became the big hero when he saved Qarabag’s sixth penalty.
Before that, six Molde players had been icy cold from the penalty spot, after Molde themselves abused the opportunity to decide in the extra innings.
Missing penalty in the extra innings
Due to the Molde players being released from quarantine as a result of travel to Azerbaijan, the match was moved to a neutral pitch in Cyprus.
In the heat, Quarabag dominated, but very few chances were created, and the match went to extra innings, when it was 0-0 after 90 minutes.
There, Molde took over the initiative, and when Ohi was fouled inside the field, Molde got the chance from the penalty spot.
Etzaz Hussain did attempt a finish, but from an awkward position, sending the ball into the away fans. Hussain got the chance again on the return, but blew the ball over from short range.