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Norway Scrambles to 2-2 Tie

By Stephan Nasstrom
Associated Press
Wednesday, June 10, 1998; 5:15 p.m. EDT

MONTPELLIER, France — Tahar set up two goals with long precision passes, while Norway scored twice on clumsy plays off free kicks in a wide-open 2-2 tie Wednesday on the first day of the World Cup.

Moustafa El Hadji scored in the 38th minute and Abdeljilil Hadda in the 59th for the "Atlas Lions." Youssef Chippo had an own goal in first-half injury time and defender Dan Eggen scored in the 61st for the Norwegians.

In the first meeting between the countries, Eggen scored when Stig Inge Bjornebye's free kick was sprung loose in the penalty box after a collision between defender Noureddine Naybet and goalkeeper Driss Benzekri. Amid the disarray, Eggen opportunistically headed the ball into the net.

Two minutes earlier, Hadda had taken Tahar's perfect upfield pass and raced past Eggen before settling himself and placing the ball into the upper right corner to put Morocco ahead 2-1.

The tie extended Norway's international unbeaten streak to 15 games. It also wasn't surprising that both of the team's goals came off set plays: 12 of its 21 goals in qualifying were scored the same way.

The Norwegians have already doubled their scoring output from the 1994 World Cup, when they scored only one goal in three games before being eliminated. The Moroccans also have an immediate show of improvement after losing all three games before heading home from the United States four years ago.

Morocco took its first lead on a splendid move by Hadji. After taking the long pass from Tahar — who, like many Brazilians, goes by one name — the midfielder sped down the left side and spun Eggen around before blasting home a right-footed shot.

Chippo's error came after Benzekri collided with Henning Berg as they leapt for Bjornebye's free kick. The ball went off Berg's shoulder and straight to Chippo, who missed badly as he tried to clear the ball wide and instead glanced the ball off the inside of the post and into the goal.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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