Soccer  

Republic of Ireland 1-2 Norway: Visitors strike late to snatch friendly win

Omoijuanfo celebrates
Omoijuanfo scored the winner with a left-footed finish after the Republic failed to clear a ball into the box

The Republic of Ireland’s final home match of 2022 ended in disappointment as Ohi Omoijuanfo’s late goal gave Norway a narrow friendly win in Dublin.

Norway, who were without Manchester City striker Erling Haaland, took the lead when Leo Ostigard brilliantly headed past Gavin Bazunu.

The Republic thought they had salvaged a draw through Alan Browne’s fine strike from distance.

However, Omoijuanfo struck five minutes from time to give Norway the win.

Stephen Kenny’s Republic side round out 2022 with Sunday’s friendly away to Malta.

This week’s friendlies against the Norwegians and Malta offer Kenny a chance to assess his squad before the start of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign in March.

He opted to make four changes from September’s Nations League win over Armenia, recalling Josh Cullen, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda and Browne to his side, and may be tempted to dip deeper into his squad for Sunday’s trip to Malta.

Drab first half

While O’Dowda looked bright at left wing-back and Robinson fired over early on, the Republic lacked a cutting edge with Norway keeper Orjan Nyland largely untroubled during the first half.

The Republic were unable to fashion a chance from any of their three corners in the opening 45 minutes, but Norway showed their own threat from set-pieces when Ostigard shook off John Egan and powerfully headed Odegaard’s corner past Gavin Bazunu.

Having not had much to shout about in the first half, the Republic fans came alive after the break as the hosts’ urgency for an equaliser produced a string of chances.

Alan Browne celebrates his leveller
The Republic thought they had earned a draw thanks to Alan Browne’s fine strike

Egan poked a Robinson cross just wide moments before Norway defender Morten Thorsby nearly turned a Michael Obafemi pass into his own net.

From the resulting corner, Nyland produced a sharp save to deny Browne after Norway had only half-cleared the set-piece, before O’Dowda headed straight at the away side’s keeper after being picked out by Josh Cullen’s superb diagonal pass.

However, the Republic got their goal when Browne hammered a superb drive into the bottom corner to cap the home side’s best spell in the match.

With the crowd coming alive in the second half, there was a sense that the Irish would press for the winner after gaining the momentum.

However, it was Norway who were celebrating in the closing stages when substitute striker Omoijuanfo pounced to fire underneath Bazunu after Nathan Collins had failed to clear a cross into the box.

‘Really poor to concede from two set-pieces’

Goalscorer Alan Browne was disappointed that the Republic conceded from two set-pieces on a night when they were hoping to give the Dublin crowd a positive result.

“I think they nullified us very well, they were really compact,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s really poor from our point of view, to concede from two set-pieces is really not like us. We need to look at that and improve on that.

“We found it hard to break them down, there was no real zip to our game, we were a bit flat. The second half was definitely better but there is a lot more room for improvement.

“We wanted to put on a performance for the fans and get the win but ultimately we did neither. I did think we were the better team in the second half but it is utterly disappointing to concede another set-piece.

“It was just a stroke of luck in the box [for the Norway winner], it fell nicely for him. It was unfortunate for us but we need to learn from that and improve on it.”

Line-ups

R. of Ireland

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Bazunu
  • 3Doherty
  • 12Collins
  • 5Egan
  • 4O’Shea
  • 17O’DowdaSubstituted forBradyat 75′minutes
  • 15MolumbySubstituted forHendrickat 82′minutes
  • 6Cullen
  • 8BrowneSubstituted forFergusonat 89′minutes
  • 7Robinson
  • 9ObafemiSubstituted forOgbeneat 75′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Coleman
  • 10Brady
  • 11McClean
  • 13Hendrick
  • 14Smallbone
  • 16Kelleher
  • 18McGrath
  • 19Sykes
  • 20Ogbene
  • 21Scales
  • 22Lenihan
  • 23Travers
  • 24Ferguson

Norway

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Nyland
  • 22PedersenSubstituted forRyersonat 65′minutes
  • 4Strandberg
  • 15Østigård
  • 17BjørkanSubstituted forMelingat 66′minutes
  • 6BergSubstituted forGregersenat 90+3′minutes
  • 16SolbakkenSubstituted forZachariassenat 63′minutes
  • 10Ødegaard
  • 2ThorsbySubstituted forBrynhildsenat 74′minutes
  • 11Elyounoussi
  • 23Strand LarsenSubstituted forOmoijuanfoat 74′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Gregersen
  • 5Meling
  • 7Brynhildsen
  • 8Zachariassen
  • 9Omoijuanfo
  • 12Hedenstad Christiansen
  • 13Selvik
  • 14Ryerson
  • 18Mannsverk
  • 20Dæhli
  • 21Lode
  • 24Vetlesen

Live Text