By Ulf-Inge Bjaaland in Drammen
It was a case of so near yet so far for Norway after they missed out by a single goal on completing a remarkable comeback against Serbia and Montenegro in Drammen.
Norway's 3-0 victory was not enough to overturn the 5-1 deficit from the first leg and meant it was Vladimir Petrovic's Serbo-Montenegrin side who progressed to next May's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.
The home team, showing four changes from Friday's first leg, dominated the match. Rosenborg BK striker Azar Karadaqz - one of three forwards in an adventurous 4-3-3 formation - gave Norway the lead with a ninth-minute penalty after Morten Gamst Pedersen was brought down in the box.
Trond Fredrik Ludvigsen and Gamst Pedersen missed chances to increase the lead before the half-hour as Norway controlled possession, and their superiority got its reward a minute before the break when Gamst Pedersen headed in a cross from Bertelsen.
Muri heads third
Serbia and Montenegro had looked sharp on the counterattack at times in the first half. By the 48th minute, however, they were in serious trouble as Andre Muri headed Norway's third goal from a corner. Gamst Pedersen's appeals for a penalty after going down under a challenge from goalkeeper Dejan Bogunovic went unheard on 66 minutes but Norway kept on pushing.
Karadaz was winning everything in the air and by the closing stages there were nine Serbo-Montenegrin players back defending their own box. Trond Ludvigsen went closest with seven minutes remaining, breaking through and clipping the ball beyond Bogunovic but also past the post. However, the fourth goal would not come. Instead Serbia and Montengero were celebrating at the time, doubtless mighty relieved to have emerged 5-4 aggregate winners.