Scotland 3-3 Norway: Late Elyounoussi equaliser denies Scots victory

Scotland 3-3 Norway: Tartan Army celebrate Euro 2024 qualification with a six-goal thriller at Hampden Park – as Steve Clarke’s men come from behind twice to lead before Mohamed Elyounoussi strikes late for the visitors

  • Norway took an early lead before John McGinn levelled from the spot
  • The visitors restored their lead before losing it again through an own goal
  • Stuart Armstrong put the hosts ahead but equalised in the 86th minute

A Scotland campaign which began 239 days ago with a thumping win over Cyprus ended in a mild sense of anti-climax. Give the Tartan Army their due, it didn’t last long.

Mohamed Elyounoussi’s headed equaliser in the 86th minute of an engrossing contest denied Steve Clarke’s team the sign-off their excellence in Group A deserved.

Qualification for Euro 2024 having been secured two games ago, it mattered not a jot. No-one appeared to care.

The players took to the pitch in t-shirts reading ‘We’re Off to Germany’ at time up, the disco lights of Hampden illuminating a raucous lap of honour. Unfazed by the result, the Tartan Army got the party they came for.

Trailing twice in a see-saw first half, Scotland finally battled back to claim the lead through Stuart Armstrong’s fifth international goal after 59 minutes.

Steve Clarke’s Scotland drew 3-3 with Norway in their final game of Euro qualifying 

On a night when John McGinn’s penalty drew the skipper level with Kenny Miller as the sixth highest Scotland goalscorer of all time, a draw was no disaster in the end. Forget the Elyounoussi header, the late goal which really mattered came from Kenny McLean in Oslo on a defining day in June.

Missing Andrew Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Aaron Hickey and goalkeeper Angus Gunn, it should come as no surprise that Scotland – one of the stingiest teams in the competition for six games – shipped five goals in their final two matches against Georgia and Norway. Over-loading on Greg Taylor on the right flank – and buoyed by the excellence of Manchester City’s Oscar Bobb – the visitors scored all three of their goals from crosses from the same side of the pitch.

God only knows what the absent Erling Haaland would have done in a game this open. Not that his understudies did a bad job of filling the void, scoring the goals which ended any hope of Clarke’s side claiming a pot-two seeding in the Euro draw in Hamburg on December 2. Looking at some of the teams they’ll now avoid in pot three, that’s hardly a bad thing.

When a team qualifies for a major tournament and rests key players, a drop-off in performance is hard to avoid. While Scotland had a better second half than their first, they were vulnerable and ropey at the back. Even when Armstrong finally claimed the lead after an hour, victory was never assured.

Despite the absence of Haaland and Martin Odegaard, Norway were well worth their point

Stuart Armstrong had looked to have score the winner when he netted in the 59th winner 

There was a lively start to the game for Aron Donnum, the Toulouse winger claiming an early lead for the visiting team before conceding the penalty which dragged Scotland back into the game ten minutes later.

The opener stunned Hampden and came after three minutes. Jorgen Larsen beat Jack Hendry to a cross swung in from the right. The ball fell to Donnum, who had all the time in the world to place the ball into the net as Nathan Patterson stood off. It felt like the bursting of a bubble.

Scotland were calm in response, levelling from the spot after 13 minutes. John McGinn won a free kick right on the edge of the area after skinning Kristoffer Ajer. Scott McTominay’s low drive was deflected out to Callum McGregor – and the Celtic captain’s driven shot bounced up off the outstetched arm of goalscorer Donnum as he slid in to block. Skipper McGinn took the kick, sending Egil Selvik the wrong say for 1-1

Silenced after Norway’s lightning start, Hampden found its voice once more. The optimism didn’t last long.

Norway conspicuously targetted Scotland’s left side all game to great effect. The tactic worked again after 20 minutes when the visitors scored a goal of pitiful ease.

Sander Berge’s low cross from the right nicked off McGregor and spun towards Larsen at the near post. Chasing his first goal in five games, the striker simply slotted the ball towards goal, Zander Clark failing to get a hand on it before it ricocheted off the back of the Hearts keeper’s leg and rolled over the line. While a deflection clearly caught Clark out, it was another bad goal to concede.

In hindsight, neither defence will look back at the first half as one to remember. Poor Leo Ostigard, in particular, must wish he’d never set eyes on Scotland. Culpable for the Lyndon Dykes equaliser which transformed the visitors’ campaign in Oslo, the Napoli central defender won’t reflect on either game with fond memories.

There was bad luck this time, no question. A McTominay corner was brushed by the head of Kenny McLean before deflecting off the hapless Norwegian No 15 and into his own net past a helpless Selvik.

Say this much. While the Tartan Army were hardly watching the Scotland carnival they turned up hoping to see, four goals offered a decent return for the ticket price.

Mohamed Elyounoussi equalised in the closing stages of the game to round off a thrilling clash

By half-time they could be grateful for small mercies: Norway really should have gone in 3-2 ahead.

The tricky Bobb was a joy to watch at times, playing a delightful ball in behind the back line for Berg to gather and skip towards the byeline. Rolling the ball back into the path of the opening goalscorer Donnum, a third Norway goal looked certain until Patterson produced a brilliant saving block with his right knee.

To give the home support the win they craved, Scotland had to be better in the second half.

A force of nature, a human bulldozer, McGinn skippered by example. There were times when players in red shirts simply couldn’t handle his ample derriere. The Aston Villa man was right at the heart of the goal which gave Scotland the lead for the first time time in the match as Armstrong applied the finish to a terrific move after 59 minutes.

It’s not often a Scotland player nutmegs two opponents on the way to scoring a brilliant goal. Digging in to win the ball back at the corner flag, the Southampton man bamboozled Bobb and rolled the ball towards McGinn at the byeline. Continuing his run, the former Celtic man gathered McGinn’s cut back perfectly, driving the ball through the legs of Sander Berge into the bottom corner of the net. Scotland had the lead at last.

McGinn limped from the fray injured with 13 minutes to play. Another key performer gone, Scotland tried – and failed – to manage the game out.

No stranger to Hampden after a lengthy loan spell at Celtic, substitute Elyounoussi headed an equaliser that Norway deserved in the final minutes.

It was the third goal to come from a cross from the right flank, with Ryan Christie missing a key tackle on right back Julian Ryerson. Elyounoussi headed in a perfectly lofted cross at the back post.

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