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By Andy Hall at the Ciudad del Fútbol
Norway consolidated second place behind Denmark in UEFA European Women's Championship Group 2 by comfortably defeating Spain 2-0 in Madrid.
Both sides began in determined fashion although it was the home team who controlled proceedings during the opening exchanges. Fast-paced striker Laura Del Río proved a nuisance during this period, breaking through in the 18th minute only to direct her shot into the side-netting.
But after weathering the early scares, the away side stamped their authority on the encounter and threatened Eli Capa's goal with each attacking incursion. Ariane Pettersen forced the Spain goalkeeper to block a low drive in the 23rd minute and Unni Lehn headed over the bar moments later. Dagny Mellgren, however, made no mistake close to the half-hour, slotting in from close range to open the scoring.
After the interval the midfield contest raged with Itziar Gurrutxaga and Montse Tomé linking well to keep the Norwegian side at bay. Spain at one stage looked certain to level when Del Río charged her way into the box to find there was only Bente Norby to beat, but she inexplicably struck her effort straight at the opposition shot-stopper.
The home side suffered a further setback when they were made to pay for their profligacy. Ingrid Fosse Sæthre doubled the lead in the closing stages, skipping around Eli Capa to sidefoot into an empty net. Spain expect to get back on track when they face Belgium on 29 February while Norway will hope to produce a similarly impressive display against the same opponents on 7 March.
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