Fabio Coentrao strikes on hour to put Portugal on top

Euro 2016 qualifier round-up          
Fabio Coentrao’s struck just after the hour to give Portugal a vital 2-1 victory over Serbia and take his country top of Group I.

The Real Madrid left back finished a Joao Moutinho cross just a minute after Nemanja Matic had equalised with a superb overhead kick.

Ricardo Carvalho had headed Portugal in front after 10 minutes.

In the same group, Mergim Mavraj and Shkelzen Gashi scored in the final 13 minutes as Albania claimed a 2-1 win over 10-man Armenia, who went ahead through Yura Movsisyan but had Hovhannes Hambardzumyan sent off.

Greece’s miserable Group F campaign continued as they drew 0-0 with Hungary at the Groupama Arena.

The first effort on goal didn’t come until the 34th minute, when Balazs Dzsudzsak shot wide from distance.

Panagiotis Kone had a great opportunity to double Greece’s campaign goal tally four minutes after the restart but from six yards out, headed straight at home stopper Gabor Kiraly.

That was as close as either side would come in what proved to be a night to forget in Budapest.

A single goal from Claudiu Keseru was enough for Romania to see off the Faroe Islands and remain top of that group.

The Al-Gharafa forward struck in the 20th minute and though there were other opportunities for the home team, an improved Faroes defence restricted them to a 1-0 scoreline.

Romania remain a point ahead of Northern Ireland, who defeated Finland 2-1 thanks to a brace from Kyle Lafferty, with substitute Berat Sadik scoring an injury-time consolation for the Scandinavian side.

On Saturday, Gareth Bale turned on the style as Wales took a huge step towards qualifying for Euro 2016 with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Israel in the Group B clash in Haifa.

The 25-year-old scored twice and set up Aaron Ramsey’s opener as Wales took over top spot by ending Israel’s 100% record.

A Marouane Fellaini brace and strikes from Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi earned Belgium a 5-0 victory over Cyprus in Brussels in the same group.

Edin Dzeko racked up a hat-trick for Bosnia and Herzegovina as they picked up their first win of the qualifying campaign with a 3-0 victory over Andorra, also in Group B.

Vaclav Pilar’s last-minute equaliser saw Czech Republic snatch a point as they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Latvia in Group A in Prague.

Aleksejs Visnakovs’ 30th-minute goal had put Latvia ahead,

Eidur Gudjohnsen celebrated his return from international retirement by opening the scoring for Iceland in a 3-0 win over Kazakhstan in Astana. Birkir Bjarnason’s added a brace.

Holland’s Group A struggles continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Turkey at the Amsterdam Arena.

Burak Yilmaz fired Turkey into the lead thanks to a deflection in the 37th minute and Holland had to wait until second-half stoppage time for Wesley Sneijder to equalise.

In Group H, Croatia claimed a comfortable 5-1 victory over Norway in an entertaining qualifier at the Stadion Maksimir with goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Gordon Schildenfeld and Danijel Pranjic. Vedran Corluka was sent off midway through the second half. Alexander Tettey netted a consolation.

Eder marked his Italy debut with a brilliant equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw in Bulgaria.

It had looked as though new Bulgaria coach Ivaylo Petev was going to start his reign with a win, with Ivelin Popov and Iliyan Mitsanski having washed out Iordan Minev’s early own goal.

Azerbaijan prevailed in the battle of the Group H minnows as they beat Malta 2-0 with goals from Javid Huseynov and Dimitrij Nazarov.


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