Saturday 21 April 2018

Janko wonder goal gives Austria victory in Moscow

Austria players celebrate after beating Russia
Austria players celebrate after beating Russia

Jamie Holland

A SPECTACULAR overhead kick from Marc Janko gave Austria an impressive 1-0 win in Russia yesterday to put them in control of Group G.

Janko's acrobatic strike stunned the Moscow crowd and Austria held firm to move to 16 points from six matches, eight ahead of third-placed Russia and four ahead of Sweden, who beat Montenegro 3-1.

The hosts made a nervous start and Austria deservedly took the lead after 33 minutes.

Following a defensive mix-up, the ball was cleared only as far as Janko, who produced a spectacular finish.

Marcel Koller's side should have doubled their advantage a minute later when an excellent cross-field pass by Zlatko Junuzovic put Julian Baumgartlinger through on goal but the Mainz midfielder's shot went just wide.

Russia improved after the interval with chances falling to Alexei Miranchuk and Yuri Zhirkov, while at the other end Marcel Sabitzer brought a smart save out of Igor Akinfeev.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque celebrated 100 games in charge with a 1-0 victory over Belarus in Group C thanks to a goal from Manchester City's David Silva just before the break.

Victory at the Borisov Arena kept European champions Spain in second place in Group C with 15 points from six games - three points behind group leaders Slovakia, who beat Macedonia 2-1.

Meanwhile, Finland have sacked coach Mixu Paatelainen following a fourth straight defeat in their Group F campaign.

Finland lost 1-0 at home to Hungary on Saturday, with unhappy supporters calling for Paatelainen to be sacked even before the visitors scored.

In the other Group F games, Northern Ireland were held to a 0-0 draw by Romania at Windsor Park, while the Faroe Islands scored a shock 2-0 win over hapless Greece.

Finland are fifth in the standings with four points from six matches, two points below the Faroes and 10 points adrift of group leaders Romania.

Former Finland striker Paatelainen (48) refused to step down after the game, saying the loss was partly due to the country's lack of talent.

Paatelainen took over the helm in 2011 after managing Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock. As a player he served several Scottish clubs as well as Bolton Wanderers.

Finland have never qualified for a World Cup or European Championship finals and are ranked 78th in the world.

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