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Serbia and Belarus celebrate progress

Serbia and Belarus both advanced from qualifying round Group 1 with a game to spare, before hosts Serbia topped the section thanks to a 7-0 defeat of the runners-up.

Serbia's Milan Gajić vies with Eduard Avagyan of Armenia
Serbia's Milan Gajić vies with Eduard Avagyan of Armenia ©Marko Spasojević

Serbia and Belarus made safe passage from UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 1 with a game to spare after seeing off the challenge of Moldova and Armenia.

First place went to hosts Serbia after a 7-0 defeat of Belarus in their final outing, but both will play in the elite round in March. Moldova saw off Armenia 3-0 for third spot and must wait to see if they are one of the two teams who finish in that position with the best record against the leading pair in their section.

At one of the venues for the 2011 Under-17 finals in Serbia – Indjija's Gradski Stadion – Belarus opened with a 1-0 win against Moldova courtesy of Aleksei Tarakanov's goal four minutes from time. In the day's other encounter, Serbia overcame Armenia 5-0. Leading 1-0 at the break, Milan Lešnjak's charges pulled away thanks to two goals early in the second half from Luka Belić.

Belarus matched that scoreline two days later against Armenia, who had goalkeeper Hovhannes Navasardyan sent off on five minutes. Pavel Bogush then converted a penalty and Nikita Valynets and Aleksandr Pavlovets added further goals before Artem Kiyko struck twice in the space of a minute. As for Serbia, they made sure the top two places were resolved early by beating Moldova 4-0 through Belić, Andrija Živković, Srdjan Babić and Nemanja Radonjić.

The question then was who would finish top, and Serbia answered in emphatic fashion by sweeping aside Belarus. Živković set the tone by opening the scoring after eight minutes and his side were 4-0 up just nine minutes later, Belić firing in a double either side of a goal from Radonjić. Captain Živković then added his second of the game on the stroke of half-time and Radonjić completed a hat-trick in the second period to round off a comprehensive win.

In Jakovo, meanwhile, Moldova made sure of third place with a comfortable victory of their own. Danu Bojii broke the deadlock from the penalty spot with a mere six minutes on the clock and Andrei Macrițchii weighed in close to the hour mark, before Denis Macogonenco struck in added time to leave Armenia without a goal or a point to show from their three games.