Thursday, October 18, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 18,2007) - Norway took a massive step towards Euro 2008 with a 2-0 win over Bosnia, who may feel that they deserved something more from a close-fought game.

Norway climbed up to second in Euro 2008 qualifying Group C following a battling win over Bosnia on yesterday.

Erik Hagen and Bjorn Helge Riise scored in either half for the visitors to secure their sixth win in qualifying and move them two points clear of third-placed Turkey.

With a place in the finals well within their sights, the Scandinavians made a dream start in Sarajevo with a goal after just five minutes.

A free-kick from John Arne Riise found an unmarked Hagen in the area, and the big defender headed home from 12 yards.

The hosts could have been back on level terms three minutes later when Zvjezdan Misimovic won a free-kick, but the midfielder curled his 20-yard shot just over the crossbar.

A slippery surface was making things difficult at the Olympic Stadium Asim Ferhatovic Hase in Sarajevo, but Dragan Blatnjak gave Norway a scare in the 23rd minute with a shot from distance which flew narrowly past the left post.

And the visitors had a half-chance of their own soon after with Thorstein Helstad working his way into space before Bosnia's defence managed to clear the danger.

Yet Norway were starting to find gaps in their opponents' back-line and Morten Gamst Pedersen whipped in a cross which just missed the onrushing Helstad, while John Arne Riise also drove a 25-yard strike over the crossbar shortly before the interval.

The hosts were more adventurous after the restart and Misimovic tried his luck from 22 yards with a shot that was blocked by the Norwegian defence.

Samir Merzic kept up the pressure with an 18-yard drive which was cleared by Martin Andresen, while Hagen was the next player to save Norway when he booted away Edin Dzeko's effort.

Bosnia had dominated the second half but were hit hard in the 74th minute when Norway scored their second against the run of play.

Gamst Pedersen supplied the perfect cross for Bjorn Helge Riise, who kept his head to plant the ball beyond Bosnian goalkeeper Adnan Guso.

Bosnia tried to salvage something in the dying stages but Sejad Salihovic and Dzeko both screwed shots wide.

Thus the Scandinavians leapfrog Turkey by two points. The two hopefuls clash in Oslo next month in what could be a winner-takes-all scenario.

Bosnia, meanwhile, are well out of it after another brave, but insufficient performance.


Guso, Berberovic, Merzic, Bajic, Krunic,Blatnjak (Ibisevic 46), Muslimovic (Dzeko 46), Misimovic,Maletic (Muharemovic 78), Nadarevic, Salihovic.

Subs Not Used:
Tripic, Radeljic, Vladavic, Smajic.
Booked: Salihovic, Misimovic, Dzeko.

Opdal, Storbaek, Hangeland, Hagen, John Arne Riise,Bjorn Helge Riise (Bjorkoy 90), Andresen,Grindheim (Rushfeldt 58), Solli, Helstad (Braaten 76), Pedersen.

Subs Not Used: Myhre, Riseth, Kippe, Moen.
Booked: Hagen, Rushfeldt.
Goals: Hagen 5, Bjorn Helge Riise 74.

Ref: Stephane Lannoy (France).

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