Norway kept their Euro 2012 qualifying hopes on track in Oslo tonight, although
it needed a late penalty to see off Group H rivals Iceland.
The home side dominated their Nordic neighbours but appeared to be heading for
an evening of disappointment until Mohamed Abdellaoui scored from the spot after
a challenge on substitute John Carew.
The win takes Norway above another regional rival Denmark, with the two teams
set to meet in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Iceland came into the contest with just a single point to their name in the
group, but almost shocked their hosts within the opening two minutes as Rurik
Gislason's 20-yard strike had to be parried away by Rune Almenning Jarstein.
The island nation came even closer to scoring minutes later with a close-range
header from Solvi Jonsson which fell just past the left post.
Norway took their time to settle before Kjetil Waehler threatened after 18
minutes with a header from Jonathan Parr's corner which the defender put wide.
That sparked the home side to life and Henning Hauger, Tom Hogli and Alexander
Tettey all had chances which narrowly missed the mark.
Hogli's cross-shot then had to be tipped around the post by Stefan Magnusson,
with the Iceland goalkeeper getting his hands to another effort from Hauger soon
Norway continued to pile on the pressure after the interval and Magnusson made
another excellent stop to push away Parr's left-footed strike from a few yards
It was proving to be a frustrating night for Egil Olsen's men and luck was once
more against them after 68 minutes when Tettey hit a powerful shot which
cannoned back off the post.
West Ham striker Carew replaced Christian Grindheim after 80 minutes as Olsen
tried to boost his misfiring front line.
And the move paid dividends two minutes from time when Carew won a penalty for
his side after he received a push in the back during a tussle with Magnusson.
Abdellaoui took the kick and added to the goalkeeper's misery with a cool
left-footed strike into the top-right corner.