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Last-gasp Luxembourg go forward with France

Published: Wednesday 2 November 2011, 20.48CET
An equaliser deep in added time from Gérard Mersch for Luxembourg against the Faroe Islands took the Group 10 hosts through behind France at the expense of Northern Ireland.
by David Babaev
from Rodange
Last-gasp Luxembourg go forward with France
France's Jonathan Mexique (left) takes on Dwayn Holter of Luxembourg ©www.juliengarroy.com
Published: Wednesday 2 November 2011, 20.48CET

Last-gasp Luxembourg go forward with France

An equaliser deep in added time from Gérard Mersch for Luxembourg against the Faroe Islands took the Group 10 hosts through behind France at the expense of Northern Ireland.

An equaliser four minutes into added time from Gérard Mersch for Luxembourg against the Faroe Islands took the UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 10 hosts through behind France at the expense of Northern Ireland.

Going into the last games, France led both Luxembourg and Northern Ireland by three points with the Faroes yet to get off the mark. France secured a 4-0 win against Northern Ireland but Paul Kee's side would have gone through in second had the Faroe Islands held on to their lead against ten-man Luxembourg, held until Mersch made it 1-1 at the death.

On the opening day Luxembourg kept up their record of winning at least one U17 Championship qualifier every year for the last five seasons, Cédric Sacras's seventh-minute goal seeing off Northern Ireland, who had most of the game but lost James McClay to an added-time second yellow card. France, who last failed to qualify when the finals were in Luxembourg in 2006, saw off the Faroe Islands 5-0 with Anthony Martial scoring twice.

Northern Ireland bounced back two days later to beat the Faroe Islands 2-0. Liam McGillian scored after half an hour, but the game seemed to be turning when Northern Ireland goalkeeper Christopher Johns was dismissed a minute from the break for a foul in the box on Rasmus Sørensen. Brandur Olsen hit the post from the spot and Northern Ireland broke to double their lead through Dominic Ball. Despite the one-man disadvantage they could have extended their advantage after the interval.

France took a three-point lead, defeating Luxembourg 2-0 with Mohamed Chemlal scoring twice. Martial claimed a hat-trick for France in their last-day win against Northern Ireland, but the key game was in Rodange. Jón Jacobsen put the Faroe Islands ahead nine minutes into the second half with a free-kick from long distance and soon after Luxembourg's Sacras was dismissed was kicking an opponent.

As things stood, Northern Ireland were second and Luxembourg would also have gone through as one of the two best third-placed teams, a position the Faroes would snatch with a further goal. However, Mersch's dramatic intervention ensured Luxembourg ended as runners-up, with Northern Ireland eliminated in third.

Last updated: 08/11/11 12.43CET

http://www.uefa.com/under17/news/newsid=1708361.html#last+gasp+luxembourg+forward+with+france

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