Meet The Injured Player Who Played The Final Seconds Against Manchester United
Noah Solskjaer, the teenage son of Ole, making his senior debut for Kristiansund against Manchester United on Tuesday wasn't the only wonderful story to come from the pre-season friendly.
Andreas Hopmark, a 28-year old defender for the Norwegian outfit, played the final seconds of the game after Juan Mata's winning penalty despite currently suffering from a ligament injury.
Back in May, Hopmark twisted his knee during training and tests from the medical team found that his lateral collateral ligament was partially torn.
As he was on his way back to full fitness, Hopmark felt a sharp pain in his knee and it was then revealed he had ruptured his knee for a second time. The injury was set to rule him out of a lucrative friendly fixture against the mighty Man United, managed by Kristiansund's most famous son, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But a quite incredible compromise was made. Being a staunch United fan since birth, he was desperate to play a part in the game just to say he was on the pitch against United and managed to convince the coaches to make his dreams come true in front of 28,000 fans.
He touched the ball just once, the kick-off after United's goal, but it was the stuff of dreams for Hopmark.
Big fan of Kristiansund players practically being wheeled out despite being injured just to face United cos they're massive Reds #FullTimeJay
- Full Time DEVILS (@FullTimeDEVILS) July 30, 2019
30 seconds left in this game, Kristiansund just brought on a player who is injured but us a massive United fan just so he can say he was on the pitch against them
- I'm The Other James In A Man United Jersey (@lperiOfficial) July 30, 2019
"For me to be able to play a few seconds against United was massive," Hopmark told SPORTbible.
"You don't get the opportunity to play for a full Ullevål Stadion often, especially not against one of the biggest clubs in the world.
"Ever since I was injured in May one of my goals has been to play a part in this experience. You never know, this might be my only opportunity to play against United.
"When the opportunity to play United arose it was a joint agreement from all parts of the club that we would do everything for me to be on the pitch. Even if it was just for a few seconds. The club and coaching staff all know what this means to me."
Playing against Manchester United, a club who have won 20 league titles in England was one of the greatest things to happen Kristiansund Ballklubb since they were formed in 2003
Yet for Hopmark, there was so much more significance. He became a United fan because of Solskjaer and here he was, playing against a United side managed by 'OGS' in his hometown. This was the definition of 'come full circle'.
"My interest for United really grew as soon as I realised that a player from my own neighborhood in Kristiansund played for United," Hopmark stated.
"I joined the United fan club, followed everything that happened around the club, bought several supporter artifacts and even travelled to see them play at Old Trafford.
"I exchanged a few quick words with Solskjaer after the game. He always takes time for a chat when we meet. He wished me good luck with the rehab and with the rest of the season. He also invited all of the players in to their dressing room to ensure everyone had the opportunity to meet the players, swap shirts and take pictures. A kind gesture from a great man."
Of course, Hopmark needed to mark the special occasion with a memento and that came courtesy of United's Paul Pogba, who was more than happy to swap shirts with him.
He added: "After the game we got to swap jerseys and chat with the players. When walking of the pitch I had a few words with Paul Pogba and got to take a few pictures.
"As he is a popular man and there was a lot of interest after the game I think it was grand of him to take time to speak to all of us. He is a player I look up to and have great amounts of respect for.
Hopmark's focus in now on getting fit once again. He is currently in the middle of a new rehabilitation program and expects be back in full training by the end of August.