Albania dent Norway hopes
Salihi scored only goal of Group E contest before Lila sent-off
Last Updated: March 22, 2013 9:17pm
Hamdi Salihi: Notched winner for Albania
Norway's World Cup qualification hopes suffered a blow with a narrow 1-0 home defeat to Albania in Oslo.
Hamdi Salihi's 67th-minute strike put Albania ahead in the Group E contest, before the visitors were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages after Andi Lila picked up two bookings in quick succession.
Despite their numerical advantage, Norway, who started the day second in the group, were unable to salvage anything from the game and dropped down two places to fourth with the defeat.
Albania stay third in the group and Iceland are up to second - with both teams two points better off than the Norwegians - after their victory in Slovenia.
Salihi produced the game's first attempt on goal with a shot in the third minute that was comfortably saved by Rune Jarstein, and Tarik Elyounoussi headed wide at the other end.
Migjen Basha then fired the wrong side of Jarstein's post before Elyounoussi saw an effort blocked by Armend Dallku.
Seconds later John Arne Riise sent the ball over the bar left-footed from Elyounoussi's corner.
Salihi was off-target with two further shots, but following an Elyounoussi effort that went too high just before the hour mark, the Albania striker broke the deadlock with a right-footed finish into the top corner having been teed up by Ervin Bulku.
After Salihi struck another attempt over, Norway pushed for the equaliser, with Tom Hogli shooting wide and Mohamed Abdellaoui bringing a fantastic parry out of Etrit Berisha.
Lila was then shown a yellow card in the 84th minute for time-wasting and another three minutes later for a foul on Abdellaoui.
Riise could only send the resulting free-kick into the wall and Albania held on for all three points.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 22nd Mar - Group F
Israel3 - 3Portugal
Luxembourg0 - 0Azerbaijan
Fri 22nd Mar - Group B
Bulgaria6 - 0Malta
Czech Rep0 - 3Denmark
Fri 22nd Mar - Group A
Croatia2 - 0Serbia
Macedonia0 - 2Belgium
Scotland1 - 2Wales
Fri 22nd Mar - Group E
Slovenia1 - 2Iceland
Norway0 - 1Albania
Fri 22nd Mar - Group C
Kazakhstan0 - 3Germany
Austria6 - 0Faroe Islands
Sweden0 - 0Rep Ireland
Fri 22nd Mar - Group D
Andorra0 - 2Turkey
Hungary2 - 2Romania
Netherlands3 - 0Estonia
Fri 22nd Mar - Group G
Liechtenstein1 - 1Latvia
Slovakia1 - 1Lithuania
Bosnia3 - 1Greece
Fri 22nd Mar - Group H
Moldova0 - 1Montenegro
Poland1 - 3Ukraine
San Marino0 - 8England
Fri 22nd Mar - Group I
Spain1 - 1Finland
France3 - 1Georgia
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I