A second-half goal from Steffen Iversen was enough to hand Vålerenga IF the advantage at the halfway stage of their UEFA Champions third qualifying round tie with Club Brugge KV.
After nearly an hour of stalemate, Iversen scored to ensure a deserved win for the Norwegian side against the Belgian champions and they will travel for the second leg at the Jan Breydelstadion on 24 August in confident mood after managing not to concede an away goal.
The visiting side's best period in Oslo tonight was the opening phase of play and they came close to scoring when Joos Valgaeren headed a corner just over the home bar. However, Vålerenga were looking equally dangerous from set-pieces and were unlucky when Freddy Dos Santos headed an Ardian Gashi corner just over.
The Norwegian side were growing in confidence and next it was Iversen's turn to head wide of the mark after getting on the end of a fine David Brocken cross. Club Brugge defender Birger Maertens then picked up a yellow card for a crude challenge on Christian Grindheim.
Vålerenga goalkeeper Árni Gautur Arason had to come to his side's rescue when he saved a 20-metre effort from Boško Balaban. Brocken, a Belgian, was having a superb game for Vålerenga and then his cross created another chance for Iversen whose header was safely gathered. As the first half came to an end the home side were well on top and Tore André Flo could have scored but his volley was deflected behind.
Vålerenga started the second half as they had ended the first and dangerous raids from Brocken and Gashi came close to breaking the deadlock. The breakthrough finally came in the 56th minute when Iversen collected a pass from Kjetil Waehler and controlled it before scoring the opener.
On 63 minutes Iversen went close again when he let fly from outside the penalty area but this time he missed the target. The visitors did their best to get back into the match but they were finding it difficult to break down the 2004 Norwegian runners-up, who were looking dangerous on the break.
Waehler struck the crossbar after 67 minutes after collecting a cross from Grindheim as the home team almost extended their lead. Club Brugge's Gert Verheyen picked up a yellow card for a foul on Gashi as frustrations began to boil over for the Belgian side, who will need to rediscover their coolness for the return.
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