/noticias.info/ Carl Lombe’s strike earned Armenia their first ever point in a finals tournament with a draw against England, and kept alive their hopes of reaching the last four of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship.
Having lost their opening Group B game 2-0 to Norway on Monday, Samuel Petrosyan’s side looked to be heading for elimination when Aleksandr Petrosyan’s own goal gave England a 72nd-minute advantage. However, with three minutes remaining, midfield player Lombe levelled from outside the penalty area to leave the section intriguingly poised ahead of Saturday’s concluding fixtures.
England coach Martin Hunter made four changes from the side that drew 1-1 against France, and one of the new faces, Dexter Blackstock, almost broke the deadlock with the game’s first real opportunity. The Southampton FC striker met a Lee Holmes left-wing cross with a powerful header, only for goalkeeper Edel Bete to tip the ball over.
England created a number of chances as they dominated the opening 45 minutes, having two goals disallowed, while Armenia seemed content to soak up the pressure and attempt to hit England on the break. The tactic almost bore fruit as captain Edgar Manucharyan darted down the right but, with the goal at his mercy, the striker flashed his effort across the face of goal.
Five minutes later Grant Leadbitter came close again for England when he fired over following a corner before Bete did well to keep out a long-range free-kick from the same player. Leadbitter then missed a golden opportunity to score the opener three minutes after half-time, Bete saving the Sunderland AFC player’s penalty with his legs.
England finally broke Armenia’s resistance 18 minutes from time, albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances as midfield player Petrosyan turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Matthew Mills. However, Armenia refused to let their heads drop and, following a sustained period of pressure, snatched a late equaliser when Lombe unleashed an unstoppable effort past David Martin from just outside the area.
Petrosyan might have atoned for his earlier misjudgement and earned Armenia a dramatic three points as he burst clear of the defence in added time, only to be denied by Martin’s smothering save. The result, together with France’s 3-1 win against Norway, leaves England third in the section and means only victory against the Norwegians in Newry on Saturday will be sufficient for qualification. Armenia, meanwhile, must overcome the French and hope there is a winner in Newry.