Ten-man Scotland slump in Norway

Gary Caldwell was sent off as Scotland's World Cup hopes unravelled in spectacular fashion in a 4-0 defeat against Norway in Oslo.

Last Updated: 12/08/09 at 20:13 Post Comment

Riise: Opened the scoring

Riise: Opened the scoring

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The Celtic player picked up two yellow cards within a minute in the first half, the second of which allowed John Arne Riise to fire in the opener from the resultant free-kick.

When Morten Gamst Pedersen made it 2-0 seconds before the interval it was all but over for George Burley's side in the Ullevaal Stadium.

A strike by Erik Huseklepp after the break added to Scotland's misery and Pedersen scored a delightful free-kick right at the end to complete a miserable night for the Scots who drop to third in Group Nine behind Macedonia on goal difference.

Scotland now need wins in their last two qualifiers against Macedonia and Holland at Hampden next month to have any chance of a play-off spot and on the evidence of this game, hopes cannot be high.

There was always an element of risk in Burley's 4-3-3 formation which was surprisingly without James McFadden.

Veteran Graham Alexander was handed a midfield role alongside Scott Brown was making his first competitive start of the season and Kenny Miller led the attack flanked by Kris Commons and Ross McCormack.

Burley's bold team selection had surprised many but it suggested that the Scotland boss knew victory was essential.

There were around 3,500 of the Tartan Army in the Ullevaal Stadium and they may have had a goal to cheer in the sixth minute after John Carew sliced an attempted clearance from McCormack's corner across his own penalty area to Darren Fletcher.

However, the Scotland skipper could not set himself quickly enough and sliced his volley from eight yards high over the bar.

The first real contentious incident of the match came in the 27th minute when the home side looked to be denied a decent penalty claim when Carew went to ground inside the Scotland penalty area following a desperate challenge by Steven Caldwell.

However, there much more drama to come six minutes later.

A minute after Gary Caldwell had picked up a booking after clashing with Pedersen, he was dramatically sent off when referee Alain Hamar adjudged him to have fouled Carew 30 yards from goal.

Scotland's misery was compounded in the cruellest way when Norway defender Riise rifled the free-kick past Marshall with the help of a massive deflection off Brown.

Defender Christophe Berra immediately replaced McCormack as Burley tried to shore up his defence but with seconds remaining in the first half, Norway grabbed number two.

With the visiting defence stretched, Bjorn Helge Riise set up Pedersen who guided his left-footed shot from 14 yards past the helpless Marshall.

It looked a tall order for 10-man Scotland when the second half started and before two minutes had elapsed, Marshall had to block Carew's toe-poke when the Norway striker breached an unconvincing defensive line at the edge of the penalty area.

In the 48th minute McFadden came on for Steven Caldwell, with Burley probably fearing he may have joined his brother in the dressing room after he had tempted referee Hamar by committing another foul.

There was an element of desperation about Scotland as they chased around the Ullevaal Stadium looking for the spark that could ignite a fightback. But the game was put out of Scotland's reach on the hour mark after Carew had forced his way all too easily through Scotland's fragile defence.

The big striker's stretched to get his shot away and although the ball hit both posts before rebounding back in to play, Huseklepp was on hand to bundle the ball in to the empty net.

Burley's side were all over the place and only a despairing tackle by left-back Callum Davidson, wearing a Scotland jersey for the first time in almost seven years, prevented Bjorn Helge Riise driving home the fourth.

Then, in the 67th minute Norway were denied a fourth when Carew's close-range effort from Pedersen's cross hit the bar and appeared to bounce over the line but Marshall grabbed the ball and Hamar waved play on.

As the minutes ebbed away, the Scots tired and when substitute Berra had to come off injured in the 77th minute, to be replaced by Steven Whittaker, it simply confirmed that it was not going to be Scotland's night.

In the final minute, after Alexander had fouled Norway substitute Per Ciljan Skjelbred 25 yards out, Pedersen neatly curled in number four.

Norway's first win of their Group Nine campaign brings them back in to contention for second place while Scotland have it all to do if they are to have any chance of reaching South Africa via the play-offs.

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