12 June 2017 – The Kosovo U21 National Team was defeated by Norway in Drammen, with 5:0 in the second match within Group E of Euro 2019 Qualifiers. The deep score does not show the real reflection of the match although it was noticed that Norwegians have qualities and showed to be dangerous, especially on air. Kosovo suffered the first goal early in the 3rd minute when Morten Thorsby scored with head as he was served by Ryerson from the right wing. The second goal too, came from the air. In the 3rd minute, Odegaard arced from the angle while the tall boy Martin Samuelsen sent the ball to net. This early lead of Norwegians did not impact the moral of our players who struggled in maximum to turn the result. The best chance they had in the 36th minute when Kabashi from the middle of the pitch found miraculously found Valmir Sylejman but failed to defeat the goalkeeper Rossbach. Kosovo started the second half very well and already in the 47th minute it was given the chance to squeeze the lead after an excellent interaction between Gashi and Celina, the latter served Sulejmani to the zone. However, his shot went near the goal. In the 53rd minute occurred the episode that significantly affected the further course of the match when Besfort Kolgeci was punished with a red card after the intervention to Samuelsen. Numerous lead on the field, the Norwegians continued to utilize to maximum by scoring three more goals through Birk Risa (66 ‘), Erlend Reitan (83’) and Hanche Olsen (86 ‘).
Declared after the match:
Rafet Prekazi, Kosovo’s Head Coach: “We received two goals from the breaks with the game in the air in the first half. The Norwegians have tall players and used this.I think we played extremely well until we got the red card. But this result does not let you talk further. The guys tried hard. We had many chances to equalize the score and to overthrow the domination of the hosts. However, at the moment when we were left with one player less in the field, then physical training came to question and they defeated us. The score is not a reflection of what was shown in the field, although Norway is extremely strong. “
Leif Gunnar Smerud, Norway’s Head Coach: “Kosovo has very good individual players who are combative and thrive on the field. The match to the red card was roughly same, though our early goal freed us from pressure and made the game easier. After the red card, things changed significantly and I think this convincing result is expected, considering that the opponent played with one player less”.
Valmir Sulejmani: “The red card torn our feet. We no longer had the strength to recover. In the first half, I had that very good chance but failed to score. I was not fortunate in those two created cases, as if I scored, the course of the game would have changed because the pressure would have gone to the Norwegians. The early goal made things easier for Norwegians. However, we did not stop and gave our maximum. I hope that the next match we play against Norwegians at home, we would be able to revenge for this defeat.