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Norway hold off FYROM to gain first win

Norway 2-1 FYROM
Alexander Groven and Mushaga Bakenga got the goals for the hosts as Tor Ole Skullerud's side picked up their first points in Group 8.

Mushaga Bakenga (left) got Norway's second from the spot
Mushaga Bakenga (left) got Norway's second from the spot ©Alvin Holm, Moss FK

Norway bounced back from Thursday's heavy defeat to Portugal to get their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign off the ground with a win against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The 2013 semi-finalists got off to a grim start with a 5-1 loss to Portugal in Barcelos, but first half goals from Alexander Groven and Mushaga Bakenga were enough to see them past the visitors, who played for over an hour with ten men.

The hosts got off to a flying start as left-back Groven met a pull back from Fredrik Ulvestad to drill in a sweet opener. Things got even better for the Norwegians when Aleksandar Damchevski brought down Bakenga in the area – the defender was shown a red card, and the forward picked himself up to slot in the penalty on 24 minutes.

Norway dominated the ten men and substitute Gustav Wikheim struck the woodwork, but Boban Babunski's side sniffed a comeback when Boban Nikolov's free-kick squeezed into the net on 72 minutes. However, FYROM could not find the equaliser as the hosts closed things out with a minimum of fuss.