Erling Haaland and Alexander Sorloth scored twice as Norway thrashed Northern Ireland 5-1 in Nations League Group B1 at Windsor Park on Monday night.
Celtic’s Mohamed Elyounoussi fired the visitors ahead after just two minutes, only for Paddy McNair to draw the hosts level only four minutes later with his fourth goal in eight games for his country.But thereafter it was all Norway as both Haaland (7 and 58) and Sorloth (19 and 47) scored twice to inflict a wretched home debut on Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough, whose side drop to the bottom of the group after two games, while third-placed Norway are level with Austria.How Norway’s front two destroyed their hosts
Lars Lagerback had called for a reaction from his players after Norway suffered a surprise home defeat to Austria on Friday night and the Swede certainly got one in Belfast as the visitors ran riot.
The visitors made a dream start when Elyounoussi expertly collected skipper Stefan Johansen’s lofted ball over the top on his chest, before firing low past an exposed Bailey Peacock-Farrell.However, in an exciting opening, the home side were soon level as Conor Washington got free of the Norway back line and despite Rune Jarstein parrying his shot, there was McNair to convert into a gaping goal to bring his team level, albeit briefly.
Straight from the restart, Sorloth neatly headed the ball down for the waiting Haaland on the edge of the box, although the red-hot striker still had much to do to find the net with a delicious curler.Soon it was four goals in the opening 19 minutes as the unmarked Sorloth was at the far post to side-foot home Haitam Aleesami’s inviting cross from the left, forcing Baraclough to move McNair back into defence from his first-half role as a No 10.
But that tactical switch had little effect, with Norway taking all of two minutes to add a fourth after half-time, with the visitors’ deadly attacking duo once again both involved as Haaland raced clear of a flat-footed Northern Ireland back five, before squaring for the unmarked Sorloth to score into the empty goal.It was that man Haaland – who only recorded his first international goal in defeat to Austria on Friday – who rounded off the scoring with yet another imperious finish just before the hour-mark as Northern Ireland let in five goals for the first time since losing to Spain 18 years ago.Man of the Match – Erling Haaland
Is there nothing the young Borussia Dortmund frontman cannot do? Well, on Monday night’s evidence, the answer must be a resounding ‘no’!
The Norway international got off the mark for his country in a 2-1 home loss to Austria on Friday, but went one better in Belfast after netting twice to get his side’s UEFA Nations League hopes back up and running.
The 20-year-old’s first was a stunning strike from the edge of the box, while his second that rounded off the scoring for the visitors was a sumptuous effort, both of which left Peacock-Farrell motionless in the hosts’ goal.
And in between, there was also time for an unselfish assist for his strike partner Sorloth as the forward made it an incredible 18 goals in just 20 appearances for club and country this year.