Norway peg back Albania
Last Updated: June 7, 2013 9:57pm
Edgar Cani competes with Norway's Markus Henriksen
Norway put the brakes on Albania's surge towards a first World Cup appearance as Tom Hogli forced a draw in Friday night's Group E meeting.
Victory would have seen Albania leapfrog Switzerland to leave Norway struggling in the wrong half of the table, and Valdet Rama's opener certainly gave the Scandinavians food for thought.
But Norway's determination to avoid an embarrassing double defeat to Friday night's opponents helped Hogli rescue a point at the death.
Egil Olsen's men arrived in Tirana with the added pressure of avenging a shock 1-0 loss to the Albanians in March.
The hosts sensed that anxiety as Mergim Mavray forced Rune Almenning Jarstein to tip over in a matter of seconds.
Hamdi Salihi, who scored in Oslo, then went close after Joshua King had tested Etrit Berisha's reflexes at the other end.
But four minutes before the break it was Rama who cut inside from the left wing to beat Jarstein at his near post.
Emiljano Vila missed from distance as play resumed and Salihi sent Jarstein sprawling with a header in the 67th minute.
Norway struggled to respond but hush would eventually descend in Tirana three minutes from time.
Hogli was the man best placed to nod home Espen Ruud's corner and the plucky Albanians were left to wonder what might have been.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 7th Jun - Group B
Armenia0 - 1Malta
Czech Rep0 - 0Italy
Fri 7th Jun - Group F
Azerbaijan1 - 1Luxembourg
Portugal1 - 0Russia
Fri 7th Jun - Group I
Finland1 - 0Belarus
Fri 7th Jun - Group G
Latvia0 - 5Bosnia
Liechtenstein1 - 1Slovakia
Lithuania0 - 1Greece
Fri 7th Jun - Group A
Croatia0 - 1Scotland
Belgium2 - 1Serbia
Fri 7th Jun - Group H
Moldova1 - 1Poland
Montenegro0 - 4Ukraine
Fri 7th Jun - Group E
Albania1 - 1Norway
Iceland2 - 4Slovenia
Fri 7th Jun - Group C
Rep Ireland3 - 0Faroe Islands
Austria2 - 1Sweden
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