Sports Desk, Sep 1 (EFE).- Louis van Gaal’s third stint as coach of the Netherlands got off to a less than sparkling start on Wednesday as the Dutch had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Norway in a World Cup 2022 qualifier.
The result in Oslo, combined with the 2-2 final score in the Turkey-Montenegro contest, leaves the four teams separated from one another by just a point after four matches.
Turkey lead Group G with 8 points, while the Netherlands, Montenegro and Norway are level on 7 points.
Playing at home for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Norwegians withstood 10 minutes of early dominance for the Dutch before giving their fans something to cheer.
Erling Haaland, who emerged last season as one of Europe’s best young strikers, blew past Dutch defenders Virgil van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij and fired from close range, forcing a good stop from goalkeeper Justin Bijlow.
Minutes later, a botched clearance allowed Norway to get the ball to Haaland alone in the box. De Vrij and Van Dijk had pushed forward to set an offside trap, but Cody Gakpo failed to follow suit and was left with no other option than to throw himself in front of the shooter.
While Gakpo got a piece of the ball, it wasn’t enough to stop Haaland from putting the hosts up 1-0 in the 20th minute.
The Dutch struggled to mount a response until the 37th minute, when a low cross into the area by Gini Wijnaldum took a lucky bounce onto the foot of Davy Klaassen for the equalizer.
Van Dijk and Memphis Depay tested Norway keeper Andre Hansen in the second half before Haaland hit the post on a chance to reclaim the lead in the 65th minute. EFE dmu/dr