BELFAST Jamie Ward took just 90 seconds to score and set Northern Ireland on their way to a 2-0 home win over Norway in their World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park on Sunday to keep the Irish in contention for Russia next year.
Conor Washington scored the other goal in the 33rd minute as Northern Ireland moved on to 10 points in Group C, second and five points behind Germany and two ahead of the Czech Republic, who both won earlier on Sunday.
Ward curled in a shot from close range for a perfect start and Washington beat the offside trap to double the score not long after Alexander Soderlund had rattled the crossbar for the Norwegians, who have now lost four of their opening five qualifiers.
It was a disappointing debut for new Norway coach Lars Lagerback, who took Iceland through a fairytale performance at last year’s European Championship in France.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Clare Fallon)