Astrid's #1

Thursday 24 January 2002

Fulham Ladies goalkeeper Astrid Johannessen was the star of the show as Norway beat the United States of America 1-0 in the opening game of the China Cup.

Astrid, making her first start for Norway in just under two years, made a string of outstanding saves to keep out the World Champions.

The four-nation women's tournament taking place in Guangzhou, China, features the top four teams in the world- Germany, Norway, USA and China.

It was the first time Norway and the USA had met since the 2000 Olympic gold medal match, which Norway also won on a golden goal.

Astrid, still only 24, has been in impressive form since joining Fulham from Norwegian side Asker in December last year.

Fulham Ladies manager Gaute Haugenes is delighted that she has been given the chance to show her ability on the international scene.

"Normally I don't like to release players for friendly tournaments but this is a very high profile event and a good opportunity for Astrid to act as an ambassador for Fulham", said Gaute.

"She's still learning the game and this tournament will give her invaluable international experience which can only benefit the club in the long term. She is an important member of the team and she made some important saves in the semi final against Arsenal."

Norwegian striker Unni Lehn scored the only goal of the game to give Norway a good chance of winning the tournament.

Astrid, who faces stiff competition for the no.1 shirt from Bente Nordby who is seen by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, will now be hoping she is picked for Norway's other two games against Germany and China on January 25 and 27 respectively.