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Norway and Ireland prevail in Malta

Published: Thursday 30 September 2010, 20.35CET
Oyvind Nilsen praised Norway for winning Group 4 after a 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland, whose newly appointed coach John Morling was also pleased to see his team progress.
by Domenic Aquilina
from Ta' Qali
Norway and Ireland prevail in Malta
Norway celebrate Jonas Grønner's winner against the Republic of Ireland ©Domenic Aquilina
Published: Thursday 30 September 2010, 20.35CET

Norway and Ireland prevail in Malta

Oyvind Nilsen praised Norway for winning Group 4 after a 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland, whose newly appointed coach John Morling was also pleased to see his team progress.

Norway secured first place in UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 4 with a 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland but both sides were already through in Malta.

Jonas Grønner's 19th-minute goal was decisive in the final game between the teams who will be in the elite round draw on 30 November. In the other concluding match Albania drew 1-1 with Malta to finish third.

Oyvind Nilsen's Norway side did not concede a goal in the mini-tournament, beating Albania 2-0 through two Veton Berisha goals and defeating Malta 3-0, substitutes Sharesh Ahmadi and Tony Hieu Vo scoring either side of a Kjetil Kalve effort in the second half.

"I am very happy with our qualification and with the result," Nilsen told UEFA.com after defeating Ireland. "We played much better today than in our previous matches. We created chances and I think we won deservedly and fairly. Even though we finished first, I still think my team did not perform as it should in the first two matches. Our moves were not good enough, our passing was not good enough.

"I had high hopes that against the Republic of Ireland all this would change and it did. Our opponents also played their part. It was very difficult to play against Albania because they were very well organised in defence. Malta were more adventurous against us but overall I am very happy."

John Morling had only taken control of the Ireland team on the eve of their trip to Malta following the departure of the long-serving Seán McCaffrey, who led them to the 2008 finals. His side responded well, defeating Malta 3-1 with goals from James Murphy, Michael Drennan and Kealan Dillon and beating Albania 2-0, Philip Roberts and Murphy striking in the first ten minutes.

"I am very happy with the qualification of my team," Morling said. "I had hoped we could have continued and made it three good results from as many matches against Norway, who I must say have done really well in this tournament. We give our young lads as much education as possible, and we want to go as far as we can. Now I want to see my boys respond to tougher tests ahead."

Malta had needed a win to pip Albania to third place but although Daniel Zerafa cancelled out Arben Muskaj's early freak goal, the hosts were denied. Coach Vince Carbonaro said: "I am happy with the overall performance of my team. You can lose but at least you can do your best to score a goal per match. Scoring two goals in three matches is a very positive sign that we can build the future of these young lads."

Last updated: 30/09/10 22.18CET

http://www.uefa.com/under17/news/newsid=1541114.html#norway+ireland+prevail+malta

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