Belarus beat Norway in away friendly ahead of FIFA WC qualifier against France


Belarus beat Norway in away friendly ahead of FIFA WC qualifier against France

The beginning of the meeting at Ullevaal in Oslo was quite equal, with rivals creating only a few chances. Gradually, however, the Norwegians, as befits the hosts, began to play a more active game and created several dangerous chances at the goal of Andrei Gorbunov, but the Belarusian goalkeeper coolly eliminated all threats. 

Closer to the break the guests moved the game from their goal and created two brilliant chances within three minutes. 

On 38 minutes, a great strike from close range by Timofei Kalachev was repelled by the Norwegian goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland. Then Aleksandr Martynovich's header sailed just over the bar after a corner. 

During the break, the coaches made several substitutions, which immediately revived the game of both teams. 

Jo Inge Berget had a good chance for the Vikings but goalkeeper Gorbunov saved the team. 

And soon Belarusians succeeded in a sharp 57th minute counterattack, with substitute Sergei Krivets sending the ball into the net with a spectacular volley from a close angle. Mikhail Gordeychuk picked up an assist point. 

After conceding a goal, the hosts rushed forward to reply but Gorbunov was several times on top again. As a result, the Belarusians looked pretty confident and achieved a well-deserved victory.

The friendly match against Norway was the Belarusians' last test before the start of the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign. After the game in Oslo head coach Alexander Khatskevich of Belarus said that the victory would give confidence ahead of the match against France on 6 September at Borisov-Arena.

"In the second half, especially the first 20 minutes, were just excellent: we controlled the ball well, creating pressure on the opponents' goal, which resulted in a goal. Then we defended by positions simulating the upcoming encounter against the French team," said Khatskevich.

In qualifying group A, Belarus and France will be also opposed by the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.