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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Giggs off as Wales are beaten in Oslo
Wales manager Mark Hughes
Hughes was frustrated by his side's defending
Wales' inability to hold on to leads again cost them dear as two second-half goals from Norway gave them a deserved win in Oslo.

A magnificent Robbie Savage volley gave Wales the lead after only nine minutes, and then Craig Bellamy gave the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead after Ronnie Johnsen had equalised for Norway.

The home side had struggled to score in their previous Group 5 qualifying matches, but they capitalised on some indecisive Welsh defending to score three and record their first victory.

And to rub salt into the Welsh sound, captain Ryan Giggs was sent off after collecting his second yellow card of the match with five minutes to go.

The match started so promising for Wales when a wonder goal from Savage gave Welsh supporters heart.

After a period of possession in midfield, Wales created space for left-back Steve Jenkins to break down the left.

His left foot cross was cleared by the Norwegian defence, but the ball dropped perfectly for Savage to unleash a unstoppable 25-yard volley to give Wales a dream start after only nine minutes.

Norway threatened to hit back straight away though as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer twice threatened the Welsh goal.

And indeed the home fans only had to wait a little longer for the equaliser, but it came from the unlikely foot of Ronny Johnsen.

The defender had stayed up from an earlier corner and although Paul Jones made a superb save at the feet of Solskjaer after a right wing cross, the ball dropped for Johnsen at the far post and he fired into the top of the net.

Wales were firmly on the back foot from this point onwards as the defence showed worrying signs of a lack of communication.

But to the astonishment of the home crowd, it was Wales who scored again.

Ryan Giggs' low volley from outside the box was only parried by Thomas Myhre down to his left, and Craig Bellamy was first to the rebound to steer it home.

The aerial presence of Valencia's John Carew, a fifth minute substitute for Stefan Iversen, began to cause the Welsh defence problems.

But Norway failed to capitalise on his dominance with any meaningful attempts at goal.

Minutes before the half-time whistle, Bellamy almost put Wales further ahead, but his 20-yard shot flew just over the bar.

Early in the second-half, Solskjaer missed a great opportunity to bring Norway back level and Roar Strand also went close ten minutes later.

Norway enjoyed a complete monopoly over possession and it was no real surprise when Carew brought the scores level on 65 minutes.

Wales failed to clear the ball from the box allowing Oyvind Leonhardsen to hook it back across goal and Carew was all on his own a yard out at the far post to tap the ball in.

Carew almost put his side ahead with a fierce header on 78 minutes put Carl Robinson cleared the ball off the line.

But the winning goal shortly followed when the unmarked Frode Johnsen scored with a header from a corner.

To rub salt into the wound, Wales captain Ryan Giggs was sent off with five minutes to go after collecting his second yellow card of the game.


Norway: T Myhre; C Basma, H Berg, R Johnsen, Arne Riise, J D Sorensen, R Strand, P Rudi, O Leonhardsen, O Gunnar Solskjaer, S Iversen.
Subs: Baardsen, Bergdolmo, Hoftun, Frode Johnsen, Pal Strand, Carew, Hestad.

Wales: P Jones, M Delaney, R Page, K Symons, S Jenkins, C Robinson, R Savage, C Bellamy, J Hartson, S Davies, R Giggs (capt).
Subs: I Roberts, J Robinson, N Blake, M Jones, D Barnard, J Koumas, D Ward.

Referee: F Stuchlik (Austria)

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