Northern Ireland have not won a UEFA Nations League title since Stuart Dallas’ own goal in Oslo gave Norway a 1-0 victory.
Twice in the first half, stand-in goalkeeper Trevor Carson denied Earling Holland. Josh Magenis missed a great chance to break the deadlock when Andre Hansen saved his close range shot.
In the 67th minute, Ian Barrackloff’s team was restored by a set piece, and Martin Odegard’s substitute Dallas found the net with his hand.
In this year’s Nations League match, Northern Ireland are one point behind in their four games, with Norway moving into second place with nine points, along with leaders Austria, who won 1-0 in Romania.
Norway: Andre Hansen (6), Elabdellooui (7), Strandberg (7), Azar (6), Melling (6), Odegard (8), Berge (6), Norman (6), Elijah Ounouci (6) ), King (7), Holland (6).
Subs: Linus (n / a), Midtjo (6), Henriksen (n / a), Sorlot (6).
Northern Ireland: Carson (7), Ballard (9), J. Evans (7), Flanagan (7), Smith (7), Thompson (6), C. Evans (6), Saville (6), Ferguson (6), Magnes (6) ), Washington (6).
Subs: McLaughlin (6), McNair (6), Davis (n / a), Dallas (5), White (n / a).
Player of the match: Ballard.
Northern Ireland has no green
It was their seventh of eight defeats to Northern Ireland in this match, knocking them out of League B1. Ian Barracklow will take some encouragement from how some teams stand on the team that won 5-1 in Belfast last month.
As the focus is already on the Euro 2020 qualifying play-off final against Slovakia next month, this was more important than the result here, with good hints from Daniel Ballard, Tom Flanagan and Michael Smith.
Norway ended their hopes with a disappointing home defeat to Serbia when Northern Ireland beat Bosnia and Herzegovina on penalties in last week’s qualifying play – off semi-final.
Earling Holland scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Romania, leaving them out of their system and threatening to take their place here. The clock had only 90 seconds when Holland roamed the area and fired at the target.
Trevor Carson, who only joined the team when Bailey Peacock-Farrell were injured in the warm-up match, had enough to slow the ball down before Flanagan slipped off the line.
This may be the beginning of a Norwegian attack similar to the one seen in Windsor Park last month, but Northern Ireland soon came to the fore, emphasizing the importance of a rather strong start.
Within a week Johnny Evans had started his third match international but Northern Ireland manager Ian Barrackloff made 10 changes in the Nations League match against Northern. They made a late change when Trevor Carson arrived due to an injury to Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the warm-up match.
Norway included Erling Holland, who scored two runs in a 5-1 victory at Windsor Park last month. He scored a hat-trick against Romania on Sunday. The 20-year-old striker started with Bournemouth’s Josh King, who was at Sheffield United’s Sanderberg midfield.
Connor Washington, who was notable throughout the first half, tried to fire Corey Evans from a corner after Andre Hanson.
After a counterattack, Josh Magenis cut from the break to fire the goalkeeper, conceding the best chance of the half in the 19th minute.
Washington worked hard to get Odeguard out before the Strike partner slipped and fell, but the goalkeeper could not lift it over the top.
The game was confirmed after an early rush, but Norway threatened again in the half-time shock as Holland was released from Ballard but could not lead a header past Carson.
Johnny Evans, the only player to keep his place from Bosnia’s victory and Austria’s defeat, looked to have fallen behind in the first half and was handed over to the captain’s brother, Corey.
Within six minutes Carson was busy again, Odeguard nurtured Josh King, and a low shot forced the Motherwell goalkeeper to drop quickly to the left. Just hours before Stefan Strandberg’s entry into a corner on a distant post, Norway threatened once again, but his shot could not be stopped.
Paddy sent McNair to the Dallas in the hour, but the Leeds player was unlucky to be out for a goal as Odeguard’s corner hit his hand and went into the far corner beyond Carson.
Northern Ireland struggled to gather a response, with Corey Evans having the best chance of being shot from the edge of the area, which went wide, but would look to pick up positives before the clash with Slovakia on 12 November.
Despite the defeat, Barrackoff became positive
Northern Ireland Boss Ian Barracklow said Sky Sports: “I’m been happy with the performance over the last seven or eight days, because we’ve made so many changes and made so many trips, and we’ve played another system that worked for a couple of days.
“We threw away one or two kids and it didn’t help to lose your goalkeeper 20 minutes before the kick-off, but the boys started really positive and created three or four chances. They had a kid earlier and our counter-attack was better and more attractive.
“It’s more frustrating to lose a game from such a goal, but we’re still in it. I thought the boys deserved something from the game, but it’s not so. We go into November knowing that the boys can still take a lot of positives and play in two or three different ways. It gave me a lot to think about [ahead of the Slovakia play-off]. “
Analysis: Lessons Learned from Beating Belfast
Former Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes told Sky Sports:
“I thought we were in good shape from the normal game. 5-4-1 worked with extra bodies in our favor tonight. In the first game at Windsor Park our full pins were a little bit exploited, but we did it very well this evening.
“We had a lot of dead bodies around the ball. The delivery given by Odeguard from the set pieces tonight was excellent. If they were going to nick something, it always seemed to be out of it, and it proved to be so.
“Putting it in a fast area, defensively it was a bit of a mess on our part. You always talk about getting the first contact in the corners, which leads to distraction. This is Stuart Dallas’ own goal and he can do very little about it.
Carson: I was ready for a last-minute change
Trevor Carson said Sky Sports: “It was all Bailey’s last minute [Peacock-Farrell] It was a kidnapping. I knew there was a chance, so I was preparing for the bad things all day. No matter how much experience I had in the game, the news came at the last minute, so it was important that I was ready.
“It would have been a long night if they had scored earlier, but Save gave me confidence, and the boys were from different classes. We were hard to break, it’s unfortunate to lose a goal the way we did. I have no more vision for the goal.
“Overall, the boys worked very hard. If you take a whole week, we’ve surpassed the big ones in Bosnia. Next month is another chance to get into the Euros. Tonight is a squad game. You never know what’s around, it’s important that we have a competing squad.
Northern Ireland Unnecessary Record – Opta Statistics
- Northern Ireland remain the winners of eight UEFA Nations League matches, losing seven (D1) – only Iceland and San Marino (two and eight).
- Norway have lost just two of their last 19 international home games, 12 wins and five draws.
- Northern Ireland have not won any of their last nine matches (D3L6), scoring just five goals in this race.
- Northern Ireland applied four shots on goal against Norway, the most consecutive goalless draw against Switzerland (five) since November 2017. However, all four were on target in the first 19 minutes of the match.
- Stuart Dallas became the first player since Chris Brunt to score his own goal for Northern Ireland in October 2017 – arriving in Norway for the World Cup qualifier.
Northern Ireland host Slovakia live in the European qualifying play-off final on November 12 Sky Sports; The kick off is at 7.45pm. Ian Barclays resumes three-day Nations League campaign in Austria Sky Sports.
Norway is set to host the League of Nations games next month, with a visit to Romania on November 15 ahead of a trip to Austria three days later. Both games will start at 7.45pm, live Sky Sports.