Northern Ireland keeper Lauren Perry made three early saves before Norway took the lead

Northern Ireland’s women were beaten 4-1 by Norway in their opening World Cup qualifier in Fredrikstad.

The 1995 world champions dominated as Northern Ireland keeper Lauren Perry made several fine saves.

Guro Reiten put Norway ahead on 15 minutes before Caroline Graham Hansen doubled the lead with a penalty.

Lisa-Marie Utland made it 3-0 after the break and, although Caragh Milligan replied with one minute left, Reiten scored her second in stoppage time.

Hansen and Kristine Minde also hit the woodwork as Norway, 14th in the world rankings, enjoyed 79% possession.

Northern Ireland’s only first-half chance of note came shortly before Norway’s second goal as Rachel Furness was denied by keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth.

Hansen doubled Norway’s lead from the spot in first-half stoppage time after Milligan brought down Minde.

Alfie Wylie’s Northern Ireland, ranked 60th in the world, face the 33rd-ranked Republic of Ireland at Mourneview Park in Lurgan on Tuesday.

European champions the Netherlands and Slovakia are also in Group C, with only the winners guaranteed qualification for the 2019 World Cup in France.


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