The national team’s victory run came to a dramatic end in Sofia in Bulgaria on Sunday, but Norway deserved better than the 0-1 loss which made Bulgaria team leaders in the national league before the October matches.
Substitute Radoslav Vasilev had been on the pitch less than ten minutes when he took charge of the Bulgarian team’s first and only real chance.Strahil Popov hit from the right side and struck a perfect shot.Vasilev won a duel with Håvard Nordtveit and steered the ball past the post-into the far corner.
Until then, it seemed like only a question of time before Norway took the lead in a match the team had dominated up to that point, although Bulgaria got better when the home team changed from 3-5-2 to 4-2-3-1.
Bjørn Maars Johnsen missed a great chance after four minutes and a new one before right, and Stefan Johansen also had great opportunities to add to the goal tally after scoring three points against Cyprus.
“The job, at a certain point, is to score goals and I did not do my job today. I’m disappointed with myself and taking it heavily on my shoulders,’’ said Johnsen, who was substituted for a break.
A disappointing night was compounded when Nordtveit got a second yellow card after 88 minutes and was sent off.
“It’s frustrating, but we can blame ourselves. We have talked a lot about the fact that we have to be concentrated for 90 minutes, and then they scored that one shot,’’ said national team manager, Lars Lagerbäck to TV 2.
After victory in this year’s first five international matches, there was a loss in the sixth. Norway lost its leadership of the group for the national team, but can return in October. Then home matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria are awaiting them.
Although the result was disappointing, Norway again showed that Lagerbäck is building a team with a lot of potential.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today