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Norway snuff out Slovakia's hopes

Slovakia 1-4 Norway
Slovakia's hopes of qualifying were dashed with a result that took Norway off the bottom of Group 7.

Mohammed Fellah of Norway (left) competes with Róbert Pich of Slovakia
Mohammed Fellah of Norway (left) competes with Róbert Pich of Slovakia ©Patrik Levický

Slovakia's hopes of reaching the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals were dashed with a home defeat by Norway.

The 2-2 draw between third-placed Serbia and leaders Croatia on Saturday had ensured Slovakia would finish second in Group 7 but only the four best runners-up would progress to the play-offs. Had Slovakia won, they would have been one of that quartet but their loss leaves them out, while also meaning Norway avoided finishing bottom.

Things began to go wrong for Slovakia in the 20th minute when Fredrik Carlsen volleyed on a cross to Mohammed Fellah, whose shot was diverted past Martin Dúbravka by Tomáš Košút. Slovakia were down to ten men early in the second half when Michal Ďuriš received his second yellow card and five minutes later Magnus Lekven sent Fellah clear to double the lead.

With 14 minutes left Slovakia pulled one back, Jakub Sylvestr heading in Pavol Poliaček's cross from the right. But their hopes were finally dashed with two goals by Tarik Elyounoussi in the space of 60 seconds, the first from the edge of the box and the second a header from substitute Christer Kleiven's cross. The win took Norway into fourth ahead of Cyprus, beaten 3-1 by Serbia.