• Norway held by Azerbaijan despite hitting post in closing stages
• Group H third-placed Norway remain two points behind Italy and four off leaders Croatia
• Next games: Bulgaria v Norway, Azerbaijan v Croatia (3 September)
Norway missed a chance to make up ground on Croatia and Italy in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group H as they were held 0-0 by Azerbaijan in Oslo.
Robert Prosinečki's Azerbaijan kept Norway at bay in the first half, Alexander Søderlund – starting for the first time in this campaign – going closest as he had a goal ruled out for offside and also heading narrowly off target. There was little joy for Norway in the second half either, as they replaced Søderlund with Magnus Eikrem, his first competitive appearance since October 2013, and he quickly produced an angled shot just above the bar.
Adama Diomande was also sent on by coach Per-Mathias Høgmo and he was excellently denied at his feet by Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev. Norway came closest with four minutes left when Even Hovland nodded substitute Pål André Helland's cross against the post and Agayev saved from Diomande again at the death.
Ultimately there was no way through for the Norwegians, who were also frustrated 0-0 at the Ullevaal stadium by Sweden in a friendly on Tuesday. Norway are now only two points ahead of fourth-placed Bulgaria; with victory, Høgmo's side could have moved level with Italy, who drew in Croatia. Azerbaijan ended a run of five consecutive away defeats but remain in fifth.