Hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina came out on top in UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round Group 8 while Norway just edged out Slovakia for third in a dramatic conclusion.
Slovakia experienced wildly differing fortunes in their first two fixtures, opening with a 5-0 defeat of Kazakhstan in which they could afford the luxury of a missed Matúš Marcin penalty but then going down 4-0 to hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina. Armin Hodžić, the stand-out player in the tournament scored twice with captain Armin Ćerimagić missing a 13th-minute penalty, scoring his side's second goal four minutes later and then sent off for a second bookable offence nine minutes from time.
Regrettably for Kazakhstan there was to be no such reversal in their own results, Vitali Li and Sergey Keiler collecting red cards either side of half-time in a 6-2 loss to Norway, the impressive Veton Berisha scoring twice for the victors. The Viking FK forward had also scored the second goal as Øyvind Nilsen's charges opened their campaign by recovering from Armin Ćerimagić's fourth-minute effort to record a 3-1 comeback win.
Norway therefore held the whip hand in the section and looked set to qualify as group winners when their final-day game against Slovakia entered added time level at 1-1 with Berisha again on target. Then, however, Matúš Marcin scored a 93rd-minute winner, leaving the Bosnians – for whom Hodžić added two goals more to his tally – to snatch first place thanks to a 4-2 defeat of Kazakhstan. Norway therefore had to be content with the runners-up spot, edging out Slovakia on results between the top three.
“We are very happy because of these results we achieved," home coach Toni Karačić said. "All of us knew that we had the quality and in the end we managed to continue to compete, despite the opening defeat by Norway."
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