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Faroe Islands stun Estonia to end 16-year wait

Faroe Islands 2-0 Estonia
Fródi Benjaminsen and Arnbjørn Hansen struck either side of the break to give the hosts a first EURO qualifying win since 1995.

Fródi Benjaminsen opened the scoring from the penalty spot
Fródi Benjaminsen opened the scoring from the penalty spot ©Getty Images

The Faroe Islands achieved a first UEFA European Championship win in 16 years as goals either side of half-time from Fródi Benjaminsen and Arnbjørn Hansen downed Group C rivals Estonia and ensured a night to remember for the locals in Toftir.

Having won not a EURO qualifying game since beating San Marino in October 1995, the Faroe Islands finally had something to celebrate as they climbed on to four points in their section – just two behind Northern Ireland. This was only the home side's fourth victory in 55 matches in the competition stretching back to 1990, and came at the expense of an Estonia side who would have moved within a point of second-placed Slovenia with a win.

Estonia played the final half-hour a man down after Sander Puri's 57th-minute dismissal but by then they were already ruing the chances they had missed to take charge of the contest in the opening stages. Kaimar Saag broke clear in the second minute but shot wide, then, after 19 minutes, it took a goal-line block by Einar Hansen to deny another Estonia forward, Jarmo Ahjupera.

An open game began to turn the way of the home side two minutes before the break when Puri was penalised for holding Atli Danielsen in the Estonia box and captain Benjaminsen made it 1-0. They might have had a second goal before the break but Christian Lamhauge Holst missed from a promising position.

Estonia coach Tarmo Rüütli will have demanded a reaction during the interval but within two minutes of the restart things had got worse. Finnish referee Antti Munukka pointed to the spot again for Dmitri Kruglov's foul on Arnbjørn Hansen. Although this time Sergei Pareiko saved Benjaminsen's kick, Arnbjørn Hansen turned in the rebound.

The visitors' hopes of a fightback then dipped with a second yellow card for Puri. Estonia scored two added-time goals to win 2-1 when these teams met in Tallinn last August but there was no Houdini act this time, despite the home side losing Pol Johannes Justinusen to a red card in the 89th minute.