Switzerland held 1-1 by Norway in WCup qualifier


BERN, Switzerland (AP) -Switzerland was held 1-1 at home by Norway in a World Cup qualifier on Friday and had its lead in Group E cut to one point.

Substitute Mario Gavranovic gave Switzerland a 79th-minute lead with a close-range finish from a corner. But Norway equalized two minutes later when defender Brede Hangeland surged to beat goalkeeper Diego Benaglio with a near-post header.

The visitors finished strongly and Vegard Forren's powerful header forced Benaglio to reach and make a fingertip save, then midfielder Tarik El Younoussi's shot struck a post in the 90th minute.

Switzerland hit the same post in the 25th when Tranquillo Barnetta's header bounced past `keeper Rune Jarstein diving to his left.

Switzerland has seven points from three matches, and plays Tuesday away to second-place Iceland which has six points after winning 2-1 in Albania.

Norway is third with four points, and travels to face Cyprus on Tuesday.

Barnetta threatened in the first minute when he guided a header just off target from Xherdan Shaqiri's right-flank cross.

Norway also created its best early chances in the air, and Benaglio denied Hangeland and Forren in quick succession.

Barnetta went close again the 61st and Jarstein dived low to his right push away the winger's prodded shot.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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