My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Ange Nguessan 71
Ada Hegerberg 6, 62 Solveig Gulbrandsen 67
Both sides named four changes from their previous game. For Cote D’Ivoire, Cynthia Djohore replaced captain Dominque Thiamale in goal, whilst Rebecca Elloh, Josee Nahi and Nadege Cisse replaced Rita Akaffou, Binta Diakite and Raymonde Kacou.
Norway brought Lisa-Marie Utland, Solveig Gulbrandsen, Elise Thorsnes and Emilie Haavi in for Ingrid Moe Wold, Gry Tofte Ims, Maren Mjelde and Isabell Herlovsen.
It was actually Cote D’Ivoire who had the first chance of the game. Josee Nahi displayed lovely skill to break into the box and set up Ines Nehry who took her time, but in the end her shot was too close to Ingrid Hjelmseth who did well to hold onto the shot.
And then Norway took the lead. The Cote D’Ivoire defence failed to deal with the high ball, allowing Emilie Haavi to head the ball down to Ada Hegerberg who beat the keeper with her first-time shot.
Cote D’Ivoire could have found an instant equaliser from a 25-yard free-kick, but Fatou Coulibaly’s effort just curled wide of the right post.
But they were fortunate not to then concede their second. From 40-yards, Lene Mykjaland’s ball picked out Hegerberg whose header hit the keeper Cynthia Djohore’s head.
The Africans came close to equalising from a free-kick on the left-wing, near to the goal-line. Ida Guehai went for goal, and Hjelmseth reacted quickly to tip the ball over.
Soon after, though, Norway should have doubled their lead. A long ball was played down the left which Djohore came out of her box to deal with, but Kristine Minde got their first, passed to Hegerberg who, with the open goal beckoning, missed the target. She seemed to slip at the last moment.
Both countries had one more chance towards the end of the first half. Elise Thorsnes’ cross was only partially cleared to Solveig Gulbrandsen who, from 18 yards, shot just over the bar. And the Nahi ran across the edge of the box to make room and her curling effort was well saved by Hjelmseth.
The second half started the same way the first half, with Cote D’Ivoire missing a glorious chance. Ange Nguessan broke into the box, nutmegging one defender before setting up Nahi who had her first shot, and then her second saved.
And then as it looked like the second half was continuing to repeat the first, with Hegerberg about to pull the trigger, she was denied by Fatou Coulibaly’s stunning sliding tackle.
But finally Norway did double their lead. Gulbrandsen’s through-ball sent Hegerberg behind the back-four, and she dribbled into the box before blasting the ball past the on-rushing keeper.
And then they had a third. Mykjaland’s 40-yard free-kick was headed back across goal by Maria Thorisdottir to provide Gulbrandsen with a tap-in.
The next minute though, Cote D’Ivoire found themselves the goal they deserved. Nguessan was picked out, ran into space before shooting from 30 yards and watched as her lightning bolt flew into the top-right corner, giving Hjelmseth no chance to save it. When we decide the goal of the tournament, it will be astonishing if that is not in the top three.
They had a chance to pull another goal back when Rebecca Elloh played Nahi into the box, but she blasted the ball into the side netting.
Haavi had a couple of great chances. First, Gulbrandsen picked her out with a cross, but her header was saved low down by Djohore. And then Mykjaland played a free-kick short to her, but Haavi’s shot was deflected just wide.
Cote D’Ivoire had the game’s final chance when Nadege Essoh, who had only just come on, cut off the left-wing, but her curling shot went the wrong side of the right post.
Ange Nguessan – Cote D’Ivoire
Norway: (4-3-3) Ingrid Hjelmseth (c) (Siljie Vesterbekkmo 79), Elise Thorsnes, Marita Skammelsrud Lund, Maria Thorisdottir, Kristine Minde (Ingrid Moe Wold HT), Solveig Gulbrandsen, Ingrid Schjelderup, Lene Mykjaland, Lisa-Marie Utland (Maren Mjelde 64), Ada Hegerberg, Emilie Haavi.
Goals: Ada Hegerberg 6, 62; Solveig Gulbrandsen 67.
Booked: Emilie Haavi 52.
Cote D’Ivoire: (4-3-3) Cynthia Djohore, Nadege Cisse ((Binta Diakite 68) Nadege Essoh 90+2), Fatou Coulibaly (c), Djelika Coulibaly, Fernande Tchetche, Christine Lohoues (Rita Akaffou 90+3), Ida Guehai, Rebecca Elloh, Josee Nahi, Ines Nehry, Ange Nguessan.
Goal: Ange Nguessan 71.
Booked: Fatou Coulibaly 25.