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Lykogiannis lobs Greece into U19 showpiece

England 1-2 Greece (aet)
A fine finish from Charalambos Lykogiannis took ten-man Greece into the final for the second time in an eventful tie.

Charalambos Lykogiannis celebrates scoring the winning goal in Tallinn
Charalambos Lykogiannis celebrates scoring the winning goal in Tallinn ©Sportsfile

A neat finish from Charalambos Lykogiannis ensured ten-man Greece were rewarded for a heroic rearguard effort as they edged out England in extra time to reach the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final.

Runners-up to Spain in 2007, Greece shaded a first half played in torrential rain and took the lead in the 38th minute when Mavroudis Bougaidis headed in from a corner. Before the break the balance tipped England's way as Greece goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino was sent off for bringing down Benik Afobe, but Sokratis Dioudis came on to save Robert Hall's penalty.

Afobe headed a 56th-minute equaliser yet Greece refused to buckle and, three minutes into the second additional period, gained what proved to be a decisive advantage thanks to Lykogiannis' composed strike.

The skies opened shortly before kick-off in Tallinn but it was a less eventful opening on the pitch, with clear chances at a premium. Although England had more of the ball, Sam Johnstone was the busier goalkeeper, diving to tip away Lykogiannis' header and then denying Giorgos Katidis with his feet after the ball had fallen for the Greece captain at the far post.

The England No1 was in action again just past the half-hour, tipping over Giannis Gianniotas' swerving shot – but from the resulting corner Greece took the lead, Bougaidis rising highest to head in Kostas Stafylidis' delivery. England came close to responding immediately, as Kapino saved from Saido Berahino and, instinctively, Thomas Thorpe.

On the stroke of half-time England had an even better chance when Hall's pass split the Greece defence for the onrushing Afobe, who was fouled by Kapino. The goalkeeper was shown a red card, meaning Dioudis came off the bench. His first action was to dive to his left to block Hall's spot kick.

Greece were pushed back from the first whistle of the second half, however, although they were close to doubling their lead when Stafylidis' inswinging free-kick was saved by right foot of Johnstone. That proved pivotal as, less than a minute later, Hall escaped down the left and sent in a cross that Afobe headed beyond Dioudis.

England continued to largely pin their opponents back, Berahino brilliantly denied by the substitute keeper, who then stretched to tip over long-range efforts from Ross Barkley and replacement Nathan Redmond to ensure the game would require an additional 30 minutes.

Greece had shown their threat on the counterattack, however, and in the 108th minute took what proved to be a decisive lead. Lykogiannis beat Thorpe to Nathaniel Chalobah's short header and then showed great presence of mind to lift the ball over the advancing Johnstone and spark wild Greece celebrations.