Thursday 27 October 2016

Round-up: Romania, Portugal and Albania reach Euros

Romania, Portugal and Albania have successfully reached Euro 2016.

Constantin Budescu struck twice and Alexandru Maxim was also on target as Romania secured their place in France with a 3-0 victory in the Faroe Islands.

Budescu opened the scoring in the fourth minute in rain-soaked Torshavn and added another with a cross-shot on the stroke of half-time.

The Faroes did make life difficult for the visitors but substitute Maxim eased nerves seven minutes from time, sending Romania through as Group F runners-up behind Northern Ireland with an unbeaten record.

Albania also qualified as runners-up in Group I, beating Armenia 3-0 to advance to their first major tournament.

Northern Ireland were denied a seventh win of their triumphant campaign, but a point in Finland was still enough to see them break new ground by winning Group F.

In doing so they held off Romania and became the first fifth seeds in European qualifying history to finish top of the pile.


Hungary saw their hopes of automatic qualification ended as Greece finally stirred to claim a remarkable 4-3 victory in Piraeus.

Kostas Mitroglou and Panagiotis Kone struck in the last 11 minutes as the 2004 champions came from behind to win for the first time in their Group F qualifying campaign.

Coach Costas Tsanas made six changes to the starting lineup from the squad that lost 3-1 to Northern Ireland three days ago, and it seemed to quickly pay off when Costas Stafylidis opened the scoring in the fifth minute. It was Greece's first home goal in the qualifiers.

However, Hungary soon took over and equalized in the 26th with a header by Gergo Lovrencsics, before Krisztian Nemeth put Hungary ahead from point-blank range in the 55th.

Two minutes later, Panayiotis Tachtsidis met Petros Mantalos' forward pass and blasted a shot from just inside the area into the net.

In the 76th, Hungary took the lead again. Zsolt Kalmar, who had entered the game five minutes earlier, avoided two Greek defenders and as two more closed in passed to an unmarked Nemeth for an easy goal.

However, three minutes later, Tachtsidis made a defense-splitting pass to Costas Mitroglou who made it 3-3 before Kone scored the winner from Jose Holebas' cross.

Portugal concluded their qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win in Serbia, who finished the game with nine men as Aleksandar Kolarov and Nemanja Matic were shown red.

With their place in next summer's finals already assured, Portugal coach Fernando Santos allowed talisman Cristiano Ronaldo extra time off before returning to club side Real Madrid.

Ronaldo's former Manchester United team-mate Nani tapped in the rebound from a saved Danny shot to give the Group I winners a fifth-minute lead.

Zoran Tosic equalised an hour later but Serbia were not level for long as Joao Moutinho's delightful curling shot after 78 minutes restored Portugal's lead.


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