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Injury-time tally, own goal allow Norway to erase deficit, win 3-2.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Sunday, February 6, 2000) -- With 10 minutes remaining, the United States appeared ready to even its series with arch-rival Norway this afternoon, but instead left Lockhart Stadium in a state of disappointment, if not disbelief.

Second-half substitute Dagny Meelgren's blast from just outside the penalty area six seconds into injury time gave Norway a 3-2 decision over the Americans before 12,031 fans, spoiling April Heinrichs' debut as U.S. coach.

"They lost, but they learned," Heinrichs said. "Every player made some mistakes today, but I also saw a lot of positives. I saw some things in the game today that we on in training. Both our goals came from flank service and I was very pleased with that. No one is ever satisfied after a loss, but integrating the young players and growing as a team is the priority."

Heinrichs' final international game as a U.S player and captain came in the 1991 inaugural Women's World Cup final, in a 2-1 defeat of the Norwegians. But Norway, with a 12-10-1 record, is the only nation to hold a winning record against the U.S. and the 1995 world champion is just one of three countries to defeat the U.S. on home soil in the 1990s, joining Germany and China.

After a weak American clearance from inside the box, two quick touches put the ball on the foot of Mellgren five yards from the top right corner of the 18-yard line. An entry in the 69th minute, she sent her shot into the top left center of the goal off the fingertips of goalkeeper Saskia Webber.

It was Webber's error nine minutes earlier that allowed Norway to tie the match. She came out to grab a long left-side cross directly in front of her but allowed the ball to bounce past her and defender Carla Overbeck nodded it into her own goal to make it 2-2.

Overbeck entered the match in the 77th minute, marking the first time in 61 appearances since July 4, 1996, the American captain did not start.

Norway took a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute on Hega Reese's penalty kick.

Striker Mia Hamm equalized for the Americans five minutes later with her world-record 115th goal, a close-range header off a cross by Shannon MacMillan from the right side.

"It was a battle out there," Hamm said. "But we can't have tunnel vision and just look at the result. It's great that the young players get to play against Norway, which is one of the best teams in the world. It's much different than practice and they need to experience this environment."

Midfielder Kristine Lilly directed a shot from seven yards into an open net to make it 2-1 for the U.S. in the 72nd minute after Norway's defense failed to clear its area. Reserve striker Susan Bush pounced on the loose ball, beat her defender down the end line and crossed into the middle. There, midfielder Aly Wagner won the loose ball, then lost it, but the rebound bounced to Lilly, who knocked her shot home for her 82d international goal.

Norway 3, United States 2

Lineups: United States - Saskia Webber, Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Nandi Pryce, Brandi Chastain, Shannon MacMillan (Susan Bush 67), Aleisha Cramer (Aly Wagner 67), Julie Foudy - captain (Carla Overbeck 77), Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett (Christy Welsh 46), Mia Hamm (Alyssa Ramsey 74). Norway - Bente Nordby, Bente Kvitland, Goril Kringen, Anne Tonnesen, Brit Sandaune, Hege Riise, Anita Rapp (Siljie Jorgensen 89), Monica Knudsen, Unni Lehn (Dagney Mellgren 69), Ingrid C.F. Saethe (Kjersti Thun 61), Marianne Pettersen.

Norway - Riise (penalty kick) 20.
United States - Hamm (MacMillan) 25.
United States - Lilly (unassisted) 71.
Norway - own goal (Overbeck) 81.
Norway - Mellgren (unassisted) 90+.

Shots: United States 9, Norway 11. Saves: United States 3, Norway 4. Corner kicks: United States 2, Norway 11. Fouls: United States 9, Norway 8. Offside: United States 4, Norway 6. Yellow card caution: Norway - Tonnensen 39. Referee: Sandra Hunt (United States). Assistant referee: Sharon Wheeler (United States), Roger Sill (United States). Attendance: 12,031 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Weather: Sunny, breezy, 72 degrees.

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