Paulius caps Lithuania comeback in Finland

Finland 3-4 Lithuania Simonas Paulius's added-time strike sealed a dramatic comeback win for the visitors, who were 3-1 down with 26 minutes remaining.

Arvydas Novikovas' goal sparked Lithuania's second-half comeback
Arvydas Novikovas' goal sparked Lithuania's second-half comeback ©Getty Images

Simonas Paulius struck in added time to complete a stunning fightback and help Lithuania defeat Finland 4-3 in both teams' penultimate fixture in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 2.

Efforts from Lauri Dalla Valle and Mikko Sumusalo, after Donatas Nakrošius had negated an early Žilvinas Kymantas own goal, had Lithuania trailing 3-1 with 26 minutes remaining. However, two goals in quick succession from Arvydas Novikovas and Aurimas Vilkaitis pegged back the hosts, who were then sunk by Paulius's 92nd-minute winner.

Lithuania got off to the worst possible start, Kymantas putting the ball past his goalkeeper after four minutes. Although Nakrošius levelled a quarter of an hour later, Finland retook the initiative through Fulham FC striker Dalla Valle's third goal of the campaign (23), before Sumusalo (39) turned in Joni Kauko's free-kick.

Novikovas (64) gave his side a lifeline, which was subsequently grabbed by Vilkaitis three minutes later to set up an exciting finish. Visiting goalkeeper Emilijus Zubas then twice denied Finland, paving the way for Paulius's late intervention.

The win moves Lithuania above Finland into fourth by virtue of a better head-to-head record, but second-placed Slovenia's lead is unassailable and the play-offs are out of reach for both teams.

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