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Finland keep alive their hopes of a place in play-offs

By Stuart McKinley

Published 08/09/2015

Great Finnish: Joel Pohjanpalo celebrates his winner
Great Finnish: Joel Pohjanpalo celebrates his winner

Joel Pohjanpalo was Finland's hero for the second time in as many games as his goal gave them a 1-0 win against the Faroe Islands in Helsinki.

The 20-year-old striker repeated his feat from last Friday night, when he struck the only goal of the game in the Finns victory in Greece.

This time he netted in the 23rd minute, reacting quickest after Alexander Ring's effort came back off the post, to give Finland their third win in Group F and keep alive their hopes of claiming a play-off place.

Pohjanpalo could have made it 2-0 in the final minutes, but Faroes goalkeeper Gunnar Neilson blocked his shot.

Finland are now three points behind Hungary, after their 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland, with two games left to play.

Greece claimed only their third point of the campaign when they held Romania to a 0-0 draw in Bucharest.

That result means Romania stay second in the group, a point behind Northern Ireland

Greece rarely threatened and had just two efforts on goal as they underlined their position in the group.

But Romania could not find a winner and were left cursing when substitute Lucian Sanmartean fired a stoppage-time free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.

Romania host Finland and then go the Faroe Islands in their final two qualifying games in their bid to reach France next year.

Portugal moved three points clear at the top of Group I, but they had to wait until the 92nd minute for Miguel Veloso to score the only goal against Albania in Elbasan. Earlier Denmark drew 0-0 in Armenia.

Kamil Grosicki, Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik each scored twice as Poland hammered Gibraltar 8-1 in Warsaw.

Jakub Blaszczykowski (penalty) and Bartosz Kapustka were also on target before Jake Gosling's late consolation strike for the visitors.

Belfast Telegraph

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