Iceland snatch late victory in dramatic fashion

REYKJAVIK • Iceland, who knocked England out of Euro 2016, continued producing magic on the football pitch, scoring twice in the last six minutes to come back and stun Finland 3-2 in a World Cup Group I qualifying match on Thursday.

The result, though, was not secured without controversy.

Ragnar Sigurdsson's winner at the death appeared to have been saved by goalkeeper Lucas Hradecky, and it was unclear whether it fully crossed the line.

For good measure, Alfred Finnbogason appeared to take the ball out of Hradecky's loose grip and boot it over the line.

Finland's players surrounded the referee, with captain Niklas Moisander handling the official and rounding the game off with a yellow card.

But the goal stood, giving Iceland four points from their first two qualifiers following a draw in Ukraine last month.

DESERVED WIN

After 85 minutes I'd have taken a draw but the players kept believing and you reap what you sow.

HEIMIR HALLGRIMSSON, Iceland coach, on his side's last-gasp 3-2 victory against Finland.

They are second in the group, behind only Croatia, who thumped Kosovo 6-0 on Thursday, on goal difference.

Finland have one point and lie fifth, just above Kosovo on goal difference.

"It didn't look like we could win it and I'm so happy we did," said Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson. "Every second ball fell for them and it was the sort of game where you hit the post and the ball goes out.

"After 85 minutes I'd have taken a draw but the players kept believing and you reap what you sow. This group is going to be very tight. Finland are a good side and will take a lot of points off the other teams."

Earlier in the match in Reykjavik, Teemu Pukki and Robin Lod netted for Finland, either side of a Kari Arnason goal, before Finnbogason produced a 90th-minute equaliser for Iceland.

Two of Iceland's goals came from corners and from another they won a penalty for handball but Gylfi Sigurdsson missed it, firing against the crossbar in the 51st minute.

Iceland marked the win with a "Viking Clap" on the pitch.

The celebration, an intimidating slow chant accompanied by a unanimous clap, drew lots of attention at Euro 2016 in France.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Iceland snatch late victory in dramatic fashion'. Print Edition | Subscribe