After eliminating the champion in Belarus, Fola took an option to qualify against Northern Ireland. Fast-paced, the Luxembourgers turned the tables and found a place in the playoffs, the final stage before the group stage of the Europa League conference.
Escoise surprised from the start with a ball from the back of the defense that turned into William Chadwick’s goal against Emmanuel Cabral (9, 1-0). In their match, they raised big issues for the Northern Ireland champions, with a beautiful strike wound in the opposite window until Stefano Benzei equalized (69, 1-1). The same Benz got a center back from Gauthier Karon a few minutes later, but it sent it up (78th).
The problem finally came, and Luxembourg International was still moving. His free-kick, deflected by the Irish goalkeeper at the post, bounced back to Karon for an unstoppable recovery at 6m (88, 1-2).
The return match will take place next Thursday (7:30 pm) at the Josie-Berthel Stadium in Luxembourg. If they qualify, they will face the losers of the Europa League clash between the Kazakhs of Almaty and the Armenians of Alaska in the playoffs.
(Essential / Tom Vergas)
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