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11:12:04 PM
Scotland 0-0 Norway

By Clive Lindsay

Chris Iwelumo misses from inside the six yard box
Iwelumo was making his full debut for Scotland at the age of 30

Chris Iwelumo missed an open goal on his international debut as Scotland suffered a blow to their World Cup hopes with a draw against Norway.

The 30-year-old Wolves striker placed the ball wide from just three yards moments after coming off the bench with the goalkeeper stranded.

Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon had saved well from Bjorn Helge Riise and John Carew as Norway threatened.

And, despite more possession, the Scots did not do enough to deserve a win.

It leaves Scotland on top of Europe's Group Nine qualifying group but with just four points from their first three games ahead of group favourites Netherlands playing Iceland in the evening.

Scotland manager George Burley had promised continuity following the 2-1 victory in Iceland and made only two enforced changes.

With veteran David Weir replacing the suspended Stephen McManus and James Morrison on the wing in place of the injured Kris Commons, it meant a flexible 4-5-1 system.

That could become 4-3-3 when Scotland were on the attack and that's how it was in the early stages as Burley's side took the game to their opponents.

Some neat passing gave Morrison a sight at goal, but the West Brom winger's drive from the edge of the box failed to give an early test to Jon Knudsen, the Stabaek goalkeeper given his debut at the age of 33 in place of Rune Jarstein, who had shouldered the blame for Norway's 2-2 draw with Iceland.

But their two-goal hero from that game, Steffen Iversen, had recovered from injury to spearhead an attack that was dangerous on the break.

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker threaded the ball through for John Carew and only with the combined attentions of Gary Naysmith and Gary Caldwell did the Scots manage to bundle the ball wide of their own post.

John Carew is thwarted by Gary Caldwell
Carew was a constant threat to the Scotland defence

The Scots were fortunate to survive after another break by Carew when the Aston Villa striker beat Caldwell for speed.

When Gordon beat away the powerful 18-yard drive, Bjorn Helge Riise should have done better than blast wildly over from the edge of the box.

Scotland upped the pressure but without seriously threatening Norway's rookie goalkeeper and James McFadden became an increasingly isolated figure on his own up front.

McFadden did create Scotland's best opening on the stroke of half-time, the Birmingham City man's deep cross being headed over from a difficult angle by Morrison.

Scotland's midfield was conspicuous by its absence and there was further danger after the break when Carew forced a couple of saves from Gordon and Kjetil Waehler headed into the side netting.

Burley heeded those warning signals and replaced Morrison and McFadden with Chris Iwelumo and Steven Fletcher.

Norway brought on the more offensive Daniel Braathen for Bjorn Helge Riise but were immediately on the defensive with Barry Robson forcing a save from Knudsen with a stinging volley from the edge of the box.

Scotland were now playing two up front and Iwelumo missed an absolute sitter when a low Naysmith cross found the striker unmarked three yards out - but he somehow side-footed the ball wide.

Shaun Maloney fired a drive just wide of the far post from 20 yards and had another effort deflected wide from 10 yards as Scotland piled on the pressure.

However, it was Norway who finished the stronger, Waehler striking the post with another back-post header, Gordon parrying a close-range effort from Iversen and Carew firing just over the crossbar.

Scotland: Gordon, Broadfoot, Weir, Caldwell, Naysmith, Brown, Darren Fletcher, Robson, Morrison (Steven Fletcher 56), McFadden (Iwelumo 57), Maloney.
Subs Not Used: McGregor, Alexander, Boyd, Hartley, Berra.

Norway: Knudsen, Hoiland, Waehler, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Bjorn Helge Riise (Braaten 56), Stromstad (Pedersen 76), Grindheim, Winsnes, Iversen, Carew.
Subs Not Used: Jarstein, Skjonsberg, Elyounossi, Haestad, Haland.

Booked: Hoiland, Iversen.

Att: 51,300

Ref: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)

Category: Scotland National Team | Views: 1148 | Added by: itwp | Rating: 0.0/0
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