Monday 25 September 2017

France facing oblivion after Ukraine grab upper hand

Reuters

France face the embarrassing prospect of missing out on the finals of a major tournament for the first time in 20 years after losing 2-0 away to Ukraine in the first leg of their play-off tie.

France face the embarrassing prospect of missing out on the finals of a major tournament for the first time in 20 years after losing 2-0 away to Ukraine in the first leg of their play-off tie.

Roman Zozulya opened the scoring just after the hour-mark, firing the ball past France captain Hugo Lloris. Laurent Koscielny felled Zozulya to concede an 82nd-minute penalty, duly converted by Andrei Yarmolenko.

Koscielny's night went from bad to worse when he was sent off in injury-time for misconduct and Ukraine also finished with 10 men when Olexandr Kucher picked up a second yellow card moments later.

Meanwhile, Iceland overcame the second-half sending-off of Olafur Skulason to hold on for a 0-0 draw against Croatia, keeping the tiny Nordic nation in the hunt for a place in the finals of a major tournament for the first time.

HECTIC

Kostas Mitroglou scored twice in a hectic first half as Greece beat Romania 3-1 in Athens.

The Olympiakos Piraeus striker volleyed Greece in front after 14 minutes. The visitors hit back four minutes later via Bogdan Stancu's header, before Dimitris Salpingidis and Mitroglou gave the Greeks the advantage.

In the pick of the international friendlies played out last night Italy held old rivals Germany to a 1-1 draw.

Two defenders provided the goals at San Siro, with Mats Hummels on target early on for Germany before Ignazio Abate equalised for the hosts.

Nicolai Boilesen's last-gasp goal gave Denmark a 2-1 victory over Norway.

A moment of madness cost Northern Ireland a battling draw in Adana as Roy Carroll and Chris Baird gifted Turkey a 1-0 win, both standing off as Mevlut Erdinc nipped in to touch Bilal Kisa's chip home on the stroke of half-time.

Poland, who entertain Ireland on Tuesday, lost 2-0 at home to Slovakia, while Scotland played out a goalless draw with the United States at Hampden Park.

Irish Independent

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