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Nervous Belarus earn play-off reprieve

Published: Wednesday 10 September 2008, 0.30CET
Latvia 0-0 Belarus
Yuri Kurenin's team finished second in Group 8 after being held in Riga – but they still progressed to the play-offs as one of the best four runners-up.
by Mihail Korolev
Nervous Belarus earn play-off reprieve
Leonid Kovel (right) enjoyed a happy ending with the Belarus Under-21s ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 10 September 2008, 0.30CET

Nervous Belarus earn play-off reprieve

Latvia 0-0 Belarus
Yuri Kurenin's team finished second in Group 8 after being held in Riga – but they still progressed to the play-offs as one of the best four runners-up.

Belarus finished second in Group 8 after being held to a goalless draw by Latvia in Riga – but they still progressed to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs as one of the best four runners-up.

Post rattled
Needing a victory to leapfrog Serbia at the section summit, Belarus never looked comfortable against a Latvia side they had beaten 2-1 in the reverse fixture a year ago. Nerves seemed to get the better of Yuri Kurenin's men, and until centre-back Nikolai Osipovich headed a corner against the upright two minutes from time it was Latvia who made most of the running. Ivans Lukjanovs and Igors Kozlovs both went close as visiting goalkeeper Pavel Chesnovski endured a busy evening. The Belarus player was also grateful when Vladimirs Kamess and Lukjanovs failed to test him when sent through on one-on-ones. Belarussian hopes then appeared to fade irretrievably with Osipovich's late miss, yet salvation was at hand with confirmation of their play-off ticket as best runners-up.

Last updated: 27/03/13 6.26CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2009/matches/round=15084/match=300226/postmatch/report/index.html#nervous+belarus+earn+play+reprieve