France and Portugal impress
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
France and hosts Portugal strode through from UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round Group 6 after comfortably seeing off Israel and Latvia.
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France and hosts Portugal strode through from UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round Group 6.
Both sides had clinched progress before their last-day encounter, in which France sealed first place on goals scored with a 2-2 draw. They can now look forward to the 5 December elite round draw while Israel had the consolation of third spot with a 5-3 defeat of Latvia.
Despite their eventual dominance, France had made an uncertain start on matchday one, falling behind to Ismail Raiyan's eighth-minute opener for Israel before goals from Hadi Sacko and captain Aymeric Laporte turned the contest around. Portugal were also made to work for their win, two goals in eight second-half minutes, with Bruma's penalty and a Marcos Lopes effort, finally seeing off Latvia, who subsequently had Valērijs Šabala sent off.
It was a completely different story on matchday two as both Latvia and Israel were swept aside. France had six different scorers in brushing past the former 6-0, while five different Portugal players found the target as Israel were beaten by one goal fewer in Agueda.
In the meeting of the top two, Portugal went all out for the victory that would give them first position yet fell behind on 13 minutes to Lucas Rougeaux. Marcos Lopes 'Rony' levelled and early in the second half Carlos Mané gave Portugal the advantage only for Yassine Benzia to make it 2-2 in the 53rd minute. Benzia of Olympique Lyonnais stood out in the tournament along with Portugal's Manchester City FC player Rony.