Turkey suffered a final-day defeat by Montenegro in UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round Group 12 but nevertheless progressed as section winners alongside their conquerors.
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also won their last game – 5-0 against the Faroe Islands, meaning the top three sides all finished on six points – but with the best record in fixtures between the trio Turkey ended top while hosts FYROM were third. However, they are in a good position to progress as the third-placed team with the best record against the top pair in their group from the 13 sections but have a long to see if they join Turkey and Montenegro in the elite round next spring.
The goal difference swing Turkey gained from their opening 4-1 triumph over the home team ultimately proved decisive. Emre Taşdemir struck twice in that match, while Montenegro got off to a flying start by putting five without reply past the Faroese.
The eventual pool winners then disposed of the Faroe Islands 2-0 and FYROM gave themselves the advantage over Montenegro thanks to goals from Darko Velkoski and Kristijan Kostovski in a 2-1 matchday two victory. However, Montenegro responded on Wednesday versus Turkey as early strikes from Jovan Baošić and Marko Ćosić saw them to three vital points and an elite round berth.
"We came into this tournament with two aims: to get a place in the elite round and to achieve that by winning all three matches," said Turkey coach Mehmet Hacioğlu. "We are satisfied about progressing but a bit unhappy because we did not achieve our second aim.
"The match against Montenegro showed that we made mistakes in defence which have to be corrected. Also, we need to work a bit harder on the players' discipline. That will be decisive if we want to achieve our next goal, a place in the final tournament."
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