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Austria into finals after topping Group 5

Paul Sahanek's late equaliser on the final day of elite round Group 5 meant Austria won the section ahead of hosts Russia, sealing a place in May's final tournament.

Austria's Paul Sahanek celebrates after scoring against Russia
Austria's Paul Sahanek celebrates after scoring against Russia ©Mikhail Shapaev

Austria held their nerve to qualify for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals as Paul Sahanek's equaliser five minutes from time earned a last-day draw against Russia and ensured Manfred Zsak's side topped the section ahead of the elite round Group 5 hosts.

Leading the way after wins on matchdays one and two in Krasnodar, Austria headed into the closing stages of their final fixture trailing to Georgi Makhatadze's penalty. However, Sahanek's header meant a place in the Bulgaria finals is theirs while undefeated Russia will hope to advance as one of seven runners-up across the eight groups with the best record against the teams first and third in their section.

FULL RESULTS/STANDINGS

Winners: Austria established themselves as the group's frontrunners thanks to triumphs over Iceland (1-0) and Wales (3-2), box-to-box midfielder Kevin Danso scoring twice in the latter victory. With Austria holding a two-point lead over nearest rivals Russia, Zsak's charges only needed a draw in the last game. Things looked to be slipping away when Makhatadze's spot kick put the home side ahead, but Sahanek saved the day.

Other performances: Russia delighted the home crowd with a 4-0 defeat of Iceland after drawing their opener with Wales. Captain Makhatadze scored two direct free-kicks.

Key moment: A spectacular solo goal from Albin Ramadani put Austria 3-0 up against Wales. They never let their hold on top spot slip from that point.

Star performer: Austria midfielder Danso dictated the play and impressed throughout. 

Reaction:
Manfred Zsak, Austria coach

We won twice and only in the last game gave a point to Russia. Now it is very difficult to predict our fate in the final tournament. Let's wait for the draw.

Mikhail Galaktionov, Russia coach
We played poorly in the first half against Austria, but we managed to improve after the break. Our goal was to win the group.