Norway remain without a win in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying after they were held to a goalless draw by FYR Macedonia in Skopje.
The result has done little to help either team in their quest for a top-two finish in Group 9, with the Norwegians still propping up the table, one point behind their opponents. Macedonia made a confident start and could have taken the lead after just seven minutes when Aco Stojkov struck from 10 yards, but goalkeeper Jon Knudsen turned the ball out for a corner.
John Arne Riise tried his luck for Norway six minutes later with a 25-yard drive which flew wide, but the hosts still held the edge and Knudsen had his palms warmed soon after by Goran Pandev's effort. Norway's first real glimpse of goal came after 24 minutes when Christian Grindheim drilled a shot just past the right post from 16 yards.
Knudsen continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers and had to make another save on the half hour mark from Pandev. However, Grindheim was also causing problems at the other end of the pitch and a headed assist from John Carew was volleyed over the crossbar by the midfielder.
Carew should have put the visitors in front six minutes before the interval. The striker found himself one-on-one with Jane Nikoloski, but his final shot was poor and the home keeper was able to clear the danger. The humid conditions began to take their toll in the second half as both sides visibly slowed, and Velice Sumulikoski's drive after 53 minutes failed to trouble Knudsen
Norway were almost gifted the opener after 66 minutes when Nikoloski fumbled a shot from substitute Erik Huseklepp, but Goce Sedloski cleared the danger with Carew ready to pounce. Pandev threatened again for the home side as the clock ticked down but the Lazio striker failed to connect properly with the ball allowing Knudsen to make the save.
Sedloski curled in a free-kick with five minutes remaining but Knudsen was again up to the challenge, while Morten Gamst Pedersen saw his stoppage-time free-kick tipped round the post by Nikoloski as both teams had to settle for a point.