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Belarus and FYROM impress in Group 5

Wins in their first two matches assured Belarus of first place in Group 5, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia unexpectedly joining them in the elite round at the expense of the Czech Republic.

Belarus celebrate their opening win against the hosts
Belarus celebrate their opening win against the hosts ©Fedja Krvavac

Impressive wins against Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia took Belarus into the UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round, FYROM unexpectedly joining them in advancing from Group 5 at the expense of the Czech Republic.

Yuri Khamko's Belarus side began strongly, Sergei Glebko giving them a tenth-minute lead against section hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although Haris Seferović levelled just past the half-hour, Artur Bombel scored the decisive goal nine minutes after half-time. Elsewhere in Sarajevo, Marko Simonovski's goal soon after the interval earned FYROM  what would prove to be a crucial victory over the Czech Republic.

The Czechs shared a goalless draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina on Matchday 2, meaning Belarus secured their place in the elite round – and first position in the group – thanks to a 3-0 defeat of FYROM. All the goals came in the second period, Glebko breaking the deadlock in the 58th minute before substitutes Vadim Yevlash and Grigori Shatalov made the win secure in the final 15 minutes.

The Czechs gave themselves hope with a 3-0 defeat of Belarus in the final round of games, although they had to wait until the 74th minute for Ladislav Krejčí to break the deadlock. Further goals from Vojtech Šustr and Tomas Jeleček completed the win and, when Seferović gave Bosnia and Herzegovina an eighth-minute lead, it seemed the Czechs might progress after all.

Harun Huseinspahić's own goal in first-half added time levelled matters, however, the hosts ending with ten men following Dario Župarić's late red card and FYROM holding out for the point that assured them of the runners-up berth.