WC Qual - UEFA

June 7, 2013



1 - 1


Group E

18:30 +00:00, June 7, 2013

Qemal Stafa

Albania 1-1 Norway

#INSERT type:image caption: Albania players hold their heads in their hands as Norway force an 87th minute leveller END#

Norway put the brakes on Albania's surge towards a first World Cup appearance as Tom Hogli forced a draw in tonight's Group E meeting.

Victory would have seen Albania leapfrog Switzerland to leave Norway struggling in the wrong half of the table, and Valdet Rama's opener certainly gave the Scandinavians food for thought.

But Norway's determination to avoid an embarrassing double defeat to tonight's opponents helped Hogli rescue a point at the death.

Egil Olsen's men arrived in Tirana with the added pressure of avenging a shock 1-0 loss to the Albanians in March.

The hosts sensed that anxiety as Mergim Mavray forced Rune Almenning Jarstein to tip over in a matter of seconds.

Hamdi Salihi, who scored in Oslo, then went close after Joshua King had tested Etrit Berisha's reflexes at the other end.

But four minutes before the break it was Rama who cut inside from the left wing to beat Jarstein at his near post.

Emiljano Vila missed from distance as play resumed and Salihi sent Jarstein sprawling with a header in the 67th minute.

Norway struggled to respond but hush would eventually descend in Tirana three minutes from time.

Hogli was the man best placed to nod home Espen Ruud's corner and the plucky Albanians were left to wonder what might have been.