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Amateurs put San Marino on the map

San Marino is celebrating after their amateur side became the first local team to win a UEFA mini-tournament, triumphing in preliminary Group 1 to earn a place in Group 4 along with outfits from France, Spain and Portugal.

Enrico Cibelli and Roberto Gatti in action for San Marino
Enrico Cibelli and Roberto Gatti in action for San Marino ©UEFA.com

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San Marino AMA emerged top of a section which had been reduced from four teams to three following the withdrawal of Liechtenstein AMA, with Pier-Angelo Manzaroli's selection outstripping Hungary's Drava AMA and F.Y.R. Macedonia's South-Eastern AMA with a win and a draw on home soil. The group kicked off with Drava winning 2-0 against South-Eastern, thanks to first-half goals from Tamás Pintér and Miklós Zrinyi, but the Hungarian side's fortunes took a dramatic turn for the worse in their second outing, with substitute Gergely Laki scoring the 80th-minute own goal that handed San Marino a 1-0 victory. 

Unprecedented celebrations
Thus the section was set up for a dramatic denoument, with all three sides still in with a theoretical chance of progressing prior to the final game. San Marino seized the initiative, with Simon Parma's tremendous 14th-minute volley, but South-Eastern equalised through an Igor Kleckarovski penalty after Fabio Bollini had handled in the area. Andrea Manuzzi was dismissed in added time for San Marino, however the 1-1 draw was enough to spark unprecedented celebrations at the Olimpico Stadium in Serravalle. San Marino will now join French, Spanish and Portuguese amateur selections in the intermediary round, battling for a place in next summer's final tournament.