Norway got off to a better start in this match, but that was expected considering what was at stake for them. The Scandinavian side needed a win to keep their qualifying chances alive and they came close to score the opening goal in the fifth minute. However, a penalty appeal was denied, and play resumed when the call could have gone either way.
Spain did not look comfortable out there, and the first half overall was quite underwhelming since neither side generated too many scoring chances. The clearer opportunity came for Norway on a header from Joshua King, but Kepa produced a stunning save to keep the game scoreless.
The biggest highlight on the reminder of the first half was the injury sustained by Havard Nordtveit, who was replaced by Even Hovland. There is no clarity regarding his injury, although he is widely expected to miss Norway’s upcoming match. The first half ended goalless and it seemed neither team had a clear edge over the other.
Saul’s goal decides the match for Spain
Things changed drastically in the second half and Spain needed less than two minutes to open the score thanks to Saul. The Atletico Madrid star playmaker netted a beautiful goal from outside the box that went into the left post and out of Rune Jarstein’s reach. Out of nowhere, Spain kept their winning streak alive and moved closer to reach a spot in the 2020 EUROS.
Norway didn’t back down after conceding, though. King had at least two clear chances, but failed to find the target in both. But Spain – who could have added more goals via Fabian Ruiz and Santi Cazorla – did a good job limiting the impact of Martin Odegaard and that reduced Norway’s chances of pulling the upset. But the game wasn’t over yet, and Norway had one more thing to say before the final whistle.
King saves the day for Norway
Spain seemed to close things out down the stretch, but Norway evened things up on stoppage time. A penalty call after a foul from Kepa allowed Norway to equalize and King, who was Norway’s biggest threat all game long, slotted the ball into the back of the net with total composure to send the home fans into raptures.
There wasn’t time left and the match ended with a thrilling 1-1 draw. Spain remain at the top of the Qualifiers, but their perfect campaign has come to an end. Meanwhile, Norway remain four points behind the second-placed Sweden. They have their backs against the wall with three games left on the qualifying run.
Norway: Jarstein; Elabdellaoui, Nordtveit (Hovland, 30’), Ajer, Aleesami; Johansen (Sorloth, 63’), Berge, Henriksen (Johnsen, 83’), Selnaes; Odegaard; King
Spain: Kepa; Jesus Navas, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Juan Bernat (Iñigo Martinez, 88’); Fabian Ruiz, Sergio Busquets, Saul; Oyarzabal (Rodri, 78’), Rodrigo, Dani Ceballos (Cazorla, 64’)
Goals: Saul (0-1, 47’), King (1-1, 90+4’)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: King (NOR), Rodrigo, Busquets, Sergio Ramos, Fabian, Kepa (SPA)
Red Cards: None
Stadium: Ullevål Stadion
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