Iceland maintain perfect record


Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Holland’s poor start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign continued on Monday evening as a Gylfi Sigurdsson brace earned Iceland a 2-0 victory in Reykjavik.

Swansea midfielder Sigurdsson opened the scoring with a 10th-minute penalty and sealed matters with a second goal three minutes before half-time to earn his country a first ever triumph over the Oranje, who remained on just three points after three games in Group A.

The result maintained Iceland’s 100 per cent record in the pool – a record shared by the Czech Republic, who earlier made it three wins from three with an entertaining 4-2 success in Kazakhstan.

First-half goals from Borek Dockal and David Lafata gave Pavel Vrba’s side a commanding advantage which was added to by Lukas Vacha.

Kazakh defender Yuri Logvinenko scored two consolation goals in the final 10 minutes, but Tomas Necid’s strike meant the visitors were never concerned.

The other Group A match on Monday evening ended in a 1-1 draw between Latvia and Turkey, Valerijs Sabala’s penalty earning the hosts a point after substitute Bilal Kisa had put the visitors ahead in Riga.

Latvia substitute Gints Freimanis was dismissed for a second bookable offence in stoppage time, but Turkey could not capitalise.

In Group B, Israel made it two wins from two with a 4-1 win in Andorra and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belgium battled out a 1-1 draw in Zenica.

Omer Damari was the hero for Israel, the Austria Vienna striker scoring twice in the first half and then completing his hat-trick eight minutes from time before Tomer Hemed netted a stoppage-time penalty.

The result kept Andorra, whose goal came from captain Ildefons Lima, rock-bottom of the group without a point.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko gave Bosnia a 28th-minute lead in Zenica, but an uncharacteristic mistake from the busy Asmir Begovic in the 51st minute allowed Radja Nainggolan to equalise for Belgium.

Southampton forward Graziano Pelle marked his Italy debut with a goal as Antonio Conte’s side defeated Malta 1-0 in Group H.

Pelle reacted the quickest in a goalmouth scramble to turn in the loose ball and set the Azzurri on their way to a victory which put them level on points with Croatia at the top of the pool.

Soon after things went from bad to worse for Malta as they were reduced to 10 men when Michael Mifsud was shown a straight red card in the 27th minute after fouling Alessandro Florenzi.

Croatia maintained their 100 per cent start with a 6-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan.

Andrej Kramaric opened the scoring for the hosts before substitute Ivan Perisic headed home his double and Marcelo Brozovic made it 4-0 at the break. Luka Modric powered home a 56th-minute penalty and an own goal from Rashad Farhad Sadygov made it six in Osijek.

Also in Group H, Norway collected their second win in four days with a 2-1 victory over Bulgaria in Oslo – in a match notable for Martin Odegaard becoming the youngest player in European Championship history at the age of 15 years and 300 days when he was introduced from the home bench midway through the second half.

Substitute Havard Nielsen grabbed the winner 18 minutes from time after Tarik Elyounoussi’s opener had been cancelled out by Nikolay Bodurov’s first international goal.

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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