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BBC's John Murray
"The Yugoslavs used every trick in the book to hang on to their lead - it was a difficult match to referee "
 real 28k

Sunday, 18 June, 2000, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
Yugoslavs ease past Norway

Milosevic's slightly fortunate goal rocked Norway
Norway 0-1 Yugoslavia
(Liege - Att: 24,000)

An eighth minute goal from Real Zaragoza striker Savo Milosevic was all that separated Yugoslavia and Norway after a bad-tempered Group C clash in Liege on Sunday.

Although there was a degree of good fortune about the goal, Yugoslavia looked more like the talented - if cynical - team that recovered a three-goal deficit in their first game against Slovenia than the lethargic eleven that conceded those goals.

Despite creating very little all game, Norway spurned a golden opportunity to earn a point when substitute John Carew weakly side-footed wide in the last minute of regular time.

After an entertaining first half, the match detiorated as Norway huffed and puffed in their one-dimensional way and Yugoslavia seemed content to sit on their one-goal advantage.

Play-acting


Flo and Djorovic
Flo and Djorovic tussle for the ball
Yugoslavia, in fact, seemed more interested in winning free-kicks as they showed little inclination in staying upright whenever a Norwegian player came close.

The second half's biggest talking point was the incredible sending-off of young striker Mateja Kezman only one minute after coming on as a substitute for Predrag Mijatovic.

Kezman can rightly feel hard done by with a red card for what looked an innocuous challenge, but there was an element of poetic justice to it after Yugoslavia's constant play-acting.

Milosevic, a player Aston Villa fans will remember if not necessarily miss, claimed his third goal of the tournament - making him joint top scorer with Slovenia's Zlatko Zahovic - with the faintest of touches to a well-delivered free-kick from Ljubinko Drulovic's left boot.

Norway almost hit back after 12 minutes when Erik Mykland's pass set up Chelsea's Tore Andre Flo for a right-foot effort that Yugoslav goalkeeper Ivica Kralj did well to keep out.


Iversen and Jokanovic
Iversen and Jokanovic contest another high ball
That chance, however, was as good as it got for Norway in a half that Yugoslavia dominated.

Midfield mastery

With veteran midfielders Vladimir Jugovic and Dragan Stojkovic in complete control in midfield, Norway chased Yugoslav shadows for most of the opening 45 minutes, particularly those of strikers Milosevic and Predrag Mijatovic.

Apart from Flo's one early chance, Norway made little impact, and their all-too predictable tactic of pumping long balls at Flo was easily dealt with by the solid Yugoslav rearguard.

Norway's cause was not helped by injuries to key players. On 35 minutes Liverpool full-back Vegard Heggem limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by club colleague Stig Inge Bjornebye.

After 71 minutes, the Scandinavians were forced to replace Steffen Iversen with Carew after the Spurs striker was injured in a heavy collision with Yugoslav goalkeeper Kralj.


Norway: Myhre, Bergdolmo, Bragstad, Mykland, Flo, Skammelsrud, Heggem (Bjornebye, 35 mins), Eggen, Iversen (Carew, 71 mins), E. Bakke (Strand, 76 mins), Solskjaer.

Yugoslavia: Kralj, Djorovic, Jokanovic (Govedarica, 89 mins), Djukic, Jugovic, Mijatovic (Kezman, 87 mins), Milosevic, Stojkovic (Nadj, 84 mins), Komljenovic, Saveljic, Drulovic.

Ref: H Dallas (Scotland).

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See also:

15 Jun 00 | Norway
Norway plotting team strategy
16 Jun 00 | Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia all fit for Norway
18 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Norway v Yugoslavia clockwatch
18 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Norway v Yugoslavia in pictures
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