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Abdellaoue fires Norway to Iceland victory

Iceland 1-2 Norway
The visitors took all three Group H points thanks to Mohammed Abdellaoue's strike 15 minutes from time in Reykjavik.

Egil Olsen's Norway were narrow winners in Reykjavik
Egil Olsen's Norway were narrow winners in Reykjavik ©Getty Images

Mohammed Abdellaoue scored the winner a quarter of an hour from time as Norway began UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group H with victory in Iceland.

Heidar Helguson's 38th-minute effort ensured the hosts were in the ascendancy at the end of a closely contested first half, but it was not long before Norway restored parity through Brede Hangeland's header just before the hour. Abdellaoue, who had caused problems for the Iceland rearguard all night, then struck the decisive blow for Egil Olsen's men after being set up by Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Still smarting from a friendly draw with Liechtenstein last month, Iceland were eager to make amends and broke the deadlock seven minutes before the break, Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson – who signed for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim this week – teeing up Helguson to back-heel past Jon Knudsen from close range.

Gunnleifur Gunnleifsson preserved Iceland's lead by saving efforts from Abdellaoue either side of half-time, yet he was powerless to prevent Hangeland heading in Erik Huseklepp's 58th-minute corner. Iceland attempted a response but were caught out again 15 minutes from time when Abdellaoue finished clinically from midway inside the penalty area.