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UEFA U21 Championship

  • June 25, 2011
  • • 9:00 AM
  • • Nordjyske Arena, Aalborg
  • Referee: M. Mažić
  • • Attendance: 870

Czech Republic U21 0-1 Belarus U21: Filipenko strikes at the death to send Belarussians into 2012 London Olympics

Czech Republic U21 0-1 Belarus U21: Filipenko strikes at the death to send Belarussians into 2012 London Olympics

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The center back claimed the only goal of the contest to bring back some pride to his nation after their soul destroying defeat to Spain in the semifinal

Belarus claimed third place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and a place in the 2012 London Olympics after earning a hard fought 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in the Energi Nord Arena in the play-off game. Defender Yegor Filipenko emerged as the unlikely goalscorer on the afternoon with a last gasp strike to seal the win for Georgi Kondratiev's side.

The match began in understandably low key and nonplussed fashion as both teams were still coming to terms with missing out on the final. This was typified as the first quarter of an hour whizzed by, only notable due to an uncomfortable injury which forced Czech Republic’s Jan Lecjaks to be substituted.

Two opportunities in quick succession were presented to the Czechs but firstly Adam Hlousek’s header flashed narrowly off target. Then the striker also saw his well struck shot blocked by a Belarussian defender to ensure it remained scoreless at the interval.

The second half began in equally insipid form as the defenses remained determined, making several timely blocks. But the backlines weren’t being tested or stretched as much as they could have been as both teams went through the motions. Yegor Filipenko of Belarus was allowed a rare opening but his effort lacked conviction and was blocked by a defender. Fifteen minutes from time, the Czech Republic’s Luka Vacha committed his second bookable offence and received the red card he deserved from referee Milorad Mazic to give a numerical advantage to their counterparts.

As the game looked to be heading for another excruciating 30 minutes with extra-time looming, Belarus made their 11 men count as they grabbed the winner. Yegor Filipenko was the hero as he finished off some fine work by fellow defender Oleg Veretilo in the 88th minute.

The win confirms Belarus' ticket to the 2012 London Olympics along with Great Britain, Spain and Switzerland from Europe.

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