ULLEVAAL STADIUM (Aftenposten): Norway took another step towards the World Cup with a victory over Montenegro.
Ullevaal’s audience made the wave. The players embraced. The final signal was received stomping.
Norway beat Montenegro 2-0 on Monday night.
But the night could have been so much better. Group competitor Turkey was far behind Latvia. But 9 minutes into extra time, from a penalty kick, Burak Yilmaz scored the winning goal for Turkey.
Therefore, there will still be a rat race for the first two places in the group.
“We like it to be serious,” Ståle Solbakken told TV 2 before the game. And this was serious. The all-important victory gives Norway an excellent starting point in Group G qualifying for the World Cup.
That result never happened. Because between Mohamed Elyounoussi’s two goals, Montenegro controlled much of the match. Norway switched to three blocks at the end to stay away.
Best in 20 years
The decisive matches arrive in November. Latvia at home and Holland away.
But the Norwegian men’s team is already heading towards a rarely strong ranking.
Norway stands with 17 points from eight games. This gives a preliminary average of 2.1 points per. match. Norway has not completed a single qualification, neither for the European Championships nor for the World Cup, with a higher average since qualifying for the European Championships in 2000 (see separate data table).
This was the last time Norway participated in a major championship.
Solbakken’s movement paid off, again
However, Norway did not stand out from start to finish on Monday night. Montenegro could have spoiled the party for a packed Ullevaal Stadium (for the first time since reopening).
Had Adam Marušić had a better touch when he played alone with Ørjan Nylan after the break, Montenegro would have tied. Had it not been for one of the home defenders, Stevan Jovetic would have put Montenegro ahead in the 80th minute with his audacious ball from the right wing.
Guests from the Balkans often looked dangerous, especially after the break.
Norway occasionally had trouble creating chances, especially early in the match.
Another dead ball was needed. Marcus Holmgren Pedersen took a corner kick. Stefan Strandberg surprised Mohamed Elyounoussi. He walked easily to the goal.
This was Norway’s second set piece goal in two games after set piece coach Bernardo Cueva joined the support apparatus. Cueva has been given free rein to engineer Norway’s offensive plays.
At the shooting range
Dennis Johnsen was occasionally healthy when he entered to make his national team debut. He screamed at the hands a quarter of an hour before the end, but the judge rejected the complaints.
Norway’s attacking game did not float for the most part. A nervous audience in Ullevaal saw Montenegro prosper.
But the red card from the frustrated Marko Vesovic made Norway’s final minutes easier.
The agreement never came. Instead, Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a new goal, a magnificent shot in the lower right corner.
Norway’s players cheered outside on the grass. Now everything is possible.
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