Norway moved into a UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying position with a hard-won victory in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Route to finals
Erik Hagen and Bjørn Riise scored the goals which took Norway up to second place in Group C, two points above Turkey who lost at home to Greece tonight. Norway can join the holders in next summer's finals if Åge Hareide's side win at home to Turkey on 17 November, or draw and pick up three points in Malta four days later.
Having sat out Saturday's fixtures when Turkey were held in Moldova, Norway knew their chances had been boosted and within five minutes they were ahead in Sarajevo. A free-kick from John Arne Riise found an unmarked Hagen in the area, and the defender headed in from eleven metres. Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose qualifying bid had been ended by Saturday's 3-2 defeat in Greece, nearly had a swift equaliser but Zvjezdan Misimović's free-kick was just over the bar.
Both teams were having trouble with the slippery surface but Dragan Blatnjak came close on 23 minutes when he shot narrowly wide. Norway too had their moments in attack and Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross eluded the onrushing Thorstein Helstad, while John Arne Riise fired over from distance.
Bosnia-Herzegovina began the second half brightly and Misimović, Samir Merzić and Edin Džeko all troubled the Norway back line. However, against the run of play, the Scandinavians doubled the lead 16 minutes from time when Gamst Pedersen supplied the perfect cross for Bjorn Riise to nod past goalkeeper Adnan Gušo. Sejad Salihović and Džeko both shot wide as the hosts pressed to the end, but Norway had a victory which leaves them dreaming of a celebration in Oslo in one month's time.