Gibraltar kicked off their World Cup Qualifier campaign at home to Norway, putting on a brave display before ultimately falling 3-0 to the Scandinavian outfit, with Coleing in particular turning in a Man of the Match performance to prove a tough obstacle for Haaland and Co.
The opening minutes of the game saw Gibraltar set up in a solid 5-4-1 formation that looked to cut the space between the lines and limit the access to Norway’s Bundesliga-based strike pairing of Alexander Sorloth, of RB Leipzig, and star man Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund.
Gibraltar’s formation held strong but was breached on two occasions in the first 15 minutes as Dayle Coleing was called upon to keep the scores level.
First reacting quickly to claw out a deflected effort from within his own six-yard-area, Coleing then made himself big to deny the in-form Erling Haaland and keep the scores level.
Coleing, who was in inspired form, continued to be kept busy as the ever-increasing waves of Norwegian pressure saw shot after shot pepper his goal from distance as well as within his own area.
On the 20-minute mark the scores remained 0-0 and it looked for a moment that Norway was going to take the lead after Sorloth found space in the box and got the ball under his control.
The Leipzig frontman moved the ball out of his feet before releasing a wicked left-footed effort that looked destined for the top corner were it not for the strong stretch palm from Coleing which was required to keep the score level.
As the game ticked on Norway seemed to be edging closer and closer to the opener with Sorloth again finding space in the box on the 25-minute mark only to flash his low driven shot across and wide of the home goal.
Norway continued to bombard the man affectionately nicknamed ‘Oso’ in the Gibraltar goal as the opener seemed to draw ever closer for Stale Solbakken’s men.
The visitors continued to dominate but they were made to wait until the final five minutes of the half before taking the lead as Sorloth, who moments earlier had seen an effort cannon off the crossbar, climbed highest in the box and headed home the opener in the 42nd minute.
Having had to wait until the final few minutes to take the lead, Norway quickly had another as Kristian Thorstvedt latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the Gibraltar area and slotted it calmly into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 at the break.
The start of the second half saw Norway make two substitutions as AC Milan’s Jens Petter Hauge replaced Arsenal’s Odegaard and Patrick Berg came on in place of Elyounoussi.
Much like in the first half Norway dominated possession and pushed Gibraltar back to the edge of their own area as they went in search of the third.
Unlike in the first half the visitors didn’t have as long to wait until the ball was in the back of the net as Jonas Svensson powered home the third on the half volley from the edge of the area following a corner into the box in the 57th minute.
Despite three goals being conceded the Gibraltar players can be proud of the fact that they managed to keep out one of Europe’s hottest strikers as Haaland was withdrawn shortly afterwards to be replaced by Everton’s Joshua King. Tokmac Nguen also entered the fray replacing Midtsjo.
As the game entered the final 30 minutes Julio Ribas looked to freshen up his side as he handed an international debut to Jamie Bosio who entered the field for Kian Ronan. Erin Barnett was also brought on in place of Louie Annesley.
Despite their dominance in the first half and in the opening minutes of the second half, Norway seemed to take their foot off the pedal as the game drew into the final 15 minutes as Gibraltar’s defence held steady and Coleing, who seemed to be the busiest player on the pitch in the first half, hardly having a save to make.
In the closing 10 minutes Julio Ribas handed yet another international debut to another one of his players with youngster Julian Valarino replacing the veteran Lee Casciaro.
Although somewhat in cruise control, the quality possessed by Norway was clear for all to see as they continued to find space in and around the Gibraltar penalty area.
With this being said, the hard-working Gibraltar backline was very quick to react and snuff out the danger as they also continued to put in a tireless performance in front of Coleing who again was called upon in the dying embers of the game to deny a fourth for Norway.
Gibraltar almost had a consolation goal in injury time through Roy Chipolina however the referee blew for a foul before the ball had crossed the line and it was chalked off.
The disallowed goal proved to be the last goalmouth action of the game and the whistle blew shortly after, with Norway claiming a 3-0 victory on The Rock.