Hasanov strike hurts Norway challenge
17 april 2010 14:23
A late Orkhan Hasanov goal gave Azerbaijan a welcome draw against Norway in UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round Group 4 – a result which severely dents their opponents' prospects of reaching this summer's final tournament.
Azerbaijan knew a defeat by mini-tournament hosts Turkey on Matchday 1 had left them unlikely to qualify, but Norway had hope after having drawn with Spain. Both sides created early openings, Azerbaijan goalkeeper Salahat Aghayev making a fine stop from Omar Elabdellaoui and Hasanov shooting wide when well placed at the other end, but it was Norway who found the opening goal eight minutes before half-time. A long kick from goalkeeper Arild Østbø started the move, Aghayev failing to clear under pressure from Thomas Lehne Olsen leaving the Norway midfielder to shoot in.
Azerbaijan might have been level before the break, captain Mirhuseyn Seyidov being crowded out, and both sides continued to create chances in the second period, Norway's Jørgen Skjelvik and Araz Abdullayev of Azerbaijan both missing the target from promising positions. With nine minutes left, however, Bernhard Lippert's team did make one chance count, Hasanov profiting from a brilliant Amit Guluzade pass to beat Østbø. Norway must therefore defeat Turkey in their final game on Monday and hope Azerbaijan beat and hold section leaders Spain.