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Belarus striker Yurchenko out of U21 finals

Belarus have drafted FC Dinamo Minsk forward Aleksandr Perepechko in place of Vladimir Yurchenko, who is expected to be sidelined for six months after suffering a knee injury.

Vladimir Yurchenko is not expected to be back in action until December
Vladimir Yurchenko is not expected to be back in action until December ©Pressball

Belarus's preparations for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship have suffered a blow with the news striker Vladimir Yurchenko will miss the forthcoming finals.

The FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk player – scorer of two goals in Belarus's play-off triumph over Italy – ruptured the medial meniscus and the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Sunday, during the U21s' 8-1 friendly win against German side TuS Lingen 1910.

"I lost my footing, heard the crack and felt a strong pain in my right knee," said Yurchenko, who went off an hour into the game. "I was taken to hospital where they made a depressing diagnosis. What a shame. I was really looking forward to the tournament."

The 22-year-old will undergo surgery in the coming days and is not expected to return to action for six months. FC Dinamo Minsk forward Aleksandr Perepechko has been called up as his replacement. Georgi Kondratyev's team face Iceland on Saturday in their Group A opener before taking on hosts Denmark and Switzerland on 14 and 18 June respectively.