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Nordtveit strike sees Norway past Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan 0-1 Norway
Håvard Nordtveit's goal maintained the visitors' momentum in Group H as they secured all three points in Baku.

Highlights: Azerbaijan v Norway

• Håvard Nordtveit heads only goal of game to earn Norway victory
• Per-Mathias Høgmo's men make it three successive Group H wins
Azerbaijan without a point after four games in the section
Norway maintain perfect record from three meetings with hosts
Next games: Azerbaijan v Malta, Croatia v Norway (28 March)

Håvard Nordtveit headed the only goal in Baku as Norway won their third successive Group H game at winless Azerbaijan.

Having won their last two outings in the section – as well as both previous encounters with the hosts – it was no surprise to see the Scandinavian side on top in the opening period. The first chance fell to Håvard Nielsen, who chased down a long ball and beat outrushing keeper Salahat Agayev to it, only for his header to dribble wide. Tarik Elyounoussi then turned an excellent chance off target at the near post and Nielsen had a great opening from close range turned off his toe.

The pressure paid on 25 minutes as Nordtveit got to the front post to meet Stefan Johansen's corner from the right and thump a header into the net. Elyounoussi curled wide and also headed over as Norway looked to stretch their advantage, but the home side could have gone in level at the interval had Cavid Imamverdiyev got a back-post touch on Rauf Aliyev's flicked header.

Elyounoussi missed a great chance to put the game out of reach of Azerbaijan shortly after the restart as he was denied by Agayev when clean through, and Nielsen's volleyed follow-up was swiped off the line. Aliyev went close to equalising with an effort curled just wide from outside the area, but the hosts failed to find the target, meaning they are still yet to score against Norway in three meetings.

Johansen blasted a fraction past the post from a tight angle in the closing moments, yet it mattered little as Per-Mathias Høgmo's men kept in touch with Croatia and Italy at the head of the group.