Norway scored two goals in the last ten minutes to walk away with victory against Cyprus after a tightly fought Group E contest in Larnaca.
The hosts had taken a deserved lead through APOEL FC forward Stathis Aloneftis but the Norwegian visitors hit back just before the interval through skipper Brede Hangeland, and late goals from Tarik Elyounoussi and Joshua King earned the Scandinavian side the three points.
Cyprus had controlled the majority of the opening period, missing a good opportunity through George Efrem's header which goalkeeper Rune Jarstein pushed onto the post, before Dimitris Christofi's powerful drive from outside the area flew centimetres wide.
Norway had their moments too – Alexander Toft Söderlund drawing fine saves from Tasos Kissas – before Cyprus broke the deadlock on 42 minutes. Aloneftis was released by Christofi and his attempted cross evaded Jarstein, bounced off the post and fell into net. Norway's response was instant as Kissas only half-cleared a long ball in the box and Hangeland scored from close range.
Chances came and went for both teams after the restart but it was Norway who made their openings count late on. Home captain Elias Charalambous brought down King in the area and Elyounoussi did the rest with nine minutes remaining, sending substitute keeper Antonis Giorgallides the wrong way from the spot. King then settled matters, the Manchester United FC striker racing clear on a quick counterattack, beating Jason Demetriou with a clever sidestep before placing a low drive beyond Giorgallides.
Cyprus will hope to return to form after two losses, against Switzerland at home on 23 March, while Norway entertain Albania a day earlier.
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