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Ukraine and Georgia edge out Scotland

Sunday 4 November 2012 20.57 CET
Georgia were again celebrating at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi

Ukraine and Georgia progressed from UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 13 after a tight mini-tournament in Tbilisi that also brought good news for Northern Ireland.

Going into the final day, Scotland and Ukraine both were one point ahead of last season's surprise semi-finalists Georgia. But while Ukraine saw off Luxembourg 6-0 to finish top, Scotland fell 3-0 to hosts Georgia and Dean Gorre's side face a ten-day wait to see if they too will be in the 5 December elite round draw.

Georgia coach Giorgi Devdariani told UEFA.com: "After a poor start, the team progressed in every game and today was the best football that we showed in the tournament. I want to praise my players who have completed all their assignments.

"This team has the potential to repeat the success of last year, when our country was among the top four teams in Europe, but all depends on how we will have to prepare for the next round."

In March, Georgia beat Ukraine 1-0 at the Mikheil Meskhi stadium to qualify for the finals ahead of Spain and England. However, it was a different story at the same venue this time as Ukraine prevailed 3-1 courtesy of Valeriy Luchkevych, Andrii Boriachuk and substitute Maxym Tretyakov.

Scotland were the early leaders, beating Luxembourg 5-2 with a Robbie Muirhead hat-trick supplementing goals from Ryan Sinnamon and Paul Mcmullan. Two days later, Scotland and Ukraine drew 0-0 with FC Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Beka Vachiberadze, who is of Georgian origin, sent off. That allowed Georgia to close the gap as they overcome Luxembourg 3-1 thanks to Luka Zarandia, Ilia Kerdzevadze and substitute Tsotne Meskhi.

A point against Luxembourg, who reached last season's elite round, would have been enough for Ukraine, but they were four up by the break and had six different scorers in their victory. Georgia needed a win against Scotland to be certain of progress themselves and Zarandia put them ahead on 17 minutes. It remained close, yet with 16 minutes left Tengiz Gorozia added another goal with a brilliant free-kick and Zarandia settled matters in added time. Georgia's outstanding player was 15-year-old goalkeeper Oto Goshadze.

Although this was the last mini-tournament to start, the abandonment of the Group 7 game between Estonia and Wales means Scotland are not sure if they will progress with Spain as one of the two third-placed teams with the best record against the leading pair in their group, though they currently hold the second place having pipped Cyprus by a goal.

The outcome of this section means that Northern Ireland, second in Group 7, know they will go through to the elite round in March even if Estonia, who resume against Wales 1-0 down on 14 November, end up winning by a six-goal margin to match their goal difference. Should Estonia draw to finish third they will qualify ahead of Scotland, who will need Wales (unable to go through) to hold on for victory.


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