OSLO : Norway's Mohamed Elyounoussi struck twice while a heroic defensive effort ensured a 2-0 win over Montenegro in their Group G World Cup qualifier on Monday to keep alive the home side's hopes of making the finals for the first time since 1998.
The win leaves the Norwegians in second spot on 17 points, two points behind leaders Netherlands, who beat Gibraltar 6-0, and two ahead of third-placed Turkey with two games left.
Norway took the lead in the 29th minute as a short corner found its way to Holmgren Pedersen and his cross was headed back across goal by Stefan Strandberg to Mohamed Elyounoussi who stooped to head into the net.
Elyounoussi could have had a second six minutes after the break but a touch by goalkeeper Matija Sarkic deflected Birger Meling's low cross just enough to ensure the forward could not get a touch on the ball to steer it home from close range.
Norway took a risk by playing with a high backline and they were almost punished when Stevan Jovetic found Adam Marusic with a sublime ball in behind, but the striker's first touch was too heavy and the ball ended up going wide as Norway had to withstand massive pressure for the rest of the game.
Montenegro had Marko Vesovic sent off in second-half stoppage time for two yellow cards in quick succession before Elyounoussi struck a beautiful curling drive to keep Norway in the running for place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)