In a game that also saw two hat-tricks, Brann ran out 4-3 winners despite generously gifting Lillestrøm a goal after having inadvertently taken a 4-2 lead when trying to pass the ball back to Lillestrøm’s goalkeeper.
The bizarre incident happened five minutes into the second half, after Lillestrøm had kicked the ball out of play to enable treatment for injured front man Fredrik Gulbrandsen.
When Brann’s Erik Mjelde hit a long pass back to Stefan Logi Magnusson in the Lillestrøm goal, the ball took a bounce before looping comedically over the keeper and into the net.
Referee Brage Sandmoen had no option but to allow the goal, sparking a debate among Brann’s players as to whether to let Lillestrøm hit back straight from the restart.
All of the Brann players, bar Polish goalkeeper Piotr Leciejewski, agreed to step aside and allow Lillestrøm to score.
After skipping through a non-existent defence, Björn Bergmann Sigurdarson found he still had Leciejewski to beat, but he managed to evade the keeper’s lunge and complete his hat-trick.
Lillestrøm proved unable to find an equalizer, however, with Chukwuma ”Bentley” Akabueze’s three earlier goals providing the platform for Brann to go on and win the game.
Afterwards, the episode at the start of the second half remained the main topic of conversation.
“There was a Pole who wasn’t in full agreement, but in my view it was relatively straightforward: we had to let them score,” Brann coach Rune Skarsfjord told TV 2.
Lillestrøm manager Magnus Haglund thanked the opposition for the gesture and said he would have urged his players to respond in the same way had the roles been reversed.
“The goal happened, and then the situation was resolved by Brann letting us score. There’s not much more to discuss really. I can’t understand why Leciejewski acted the way he did,” said Haglund.
The Brann keeper tried to justify his reaction after the final whistle.
“I accept the decision that was taken, but I viewed it as a goalkeeping error (by Magnusson). I think it was fair that he (Sigudarson) was allowed a one-on-one, and I tried to save it.”
With eight games played, Brann and Lillestrøm both remain in the bottom four of Norway’s top division, the Eliteserien.
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