Cyprus facing relegation after loss to Norway in Nations League
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE - MATCHDAY 6
|Cyprus||0 - 2||Norway|
Cyprus fell 2:0 at the GSP Stadium to Norway in the final matchday of the UEFA Nations League, a result that will likely see Cyprus relegated to League D.
Cyprus were handed their third defeat in the UEFA Nations League falling to group winners
Norway 2:0 in Nicosia. The result sees Cyprus finish third in the group with five points behind Norway (13) and Bulgaria (11) and ahead of Slovenia, who finished with just three points. Ola Kamara scored both goals for the visitors, finding the back of the net in the 36th and 48th minutes.
By finishing 3rd in their respective group, whether or not Cyprus will remain in League C will be cleared up after Tuesday’s game between Montenegro and Romania. In League C, all fourth placed teams are relegated along with the worst ranked 3rd placed team, which looks to be Cyprus at this point. For the Islanders to avoid relegation, they will need Romania to defeat Montenegro by at least two goals on Tuesday while any other result will relegate Cyprus to League D.
Norway started strong and held Cyprus in their own half of the pitch as they looked to open the scoring. The Norwegians found what they were looking for in the 36th minute with LA Galaxy’s Ola Kamara. Olympiacos’ right back, Omar Elabdellaoui, received a long ball and headed it to Kamara who easily beat Konstantinos Panagi to give the visitors the lead. Norway went into halftime proving their superiority with a 1:0 advantage.
Kamara struck again three minutes into the second half as he snuck behind the Cyprus defense to turn in Ole Selnaes’ corner kick and double Norway’s lead.
Cyprus gained some ground after the second goal but they were never able to threaten Rune Jarstein. The visitors came close to another marker in the 74th minute with Alexander Sorloth but Panagi did well to deny the Norwegian. In the 79th minute, Valentinos Sielis saw a red card after conceding a foul on Selnaes, leaving Cyprus with ten men. Sorloth missed another big chance for the visitors in the 86th when he sent the ball well over the post with nobody to beat. During stoppage time, former Olympiacos man Mohamed Elyounoussi was handed a red card as well after a foul on Giannis Kousoulos, which resulted in his second yellow card of the game.
Norway came to the GSP and proved they were the favorites in a match they dominated from start to finish to earn a 2:0 win and claim first place in the group above Bulgaria. Throughout the UEFA Nations League games, Cyprus put in some good displays and efforts but failed to take that extra step in the group, although they finished ahead of Slovenia. Ahead of the EURO 2020 qualifiers, much still needs to be done with the national team.