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Goalscoring heroes Albrighton and Bannan in U21 joy

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Goalscoring heroes Albrighton and Bannan in U21 joy

By Dan Harrison

Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan scored crucial goals to fire their respective nations into the European U21 Championship play-offs.

The duo are now targeting trips to Denmark for next summer's finals, as England and Scotland both sealed places in the play-off stages.

Albrighton came on as a 64th minute substitute and tucked home Danny Welbeck's low cross at the back post as England defeated Lithuania 3-0 in Colchester.

Welbeck had given Stuart Pearce's team the lead, before wrapping up the victory - and second spot in Group Nine - with a 91st minute goal.

The result means England qualify for the play-offs as one of the four best runners up from the group stages.

"Everyone was buzzing when the manager said we were through," said Albrighton.

"We were absolutely delighted but the hard work starts now.

"The game opened up in the second-half. The boys remained patient and we knew we would get the goals in the end.

"We had to keep plugging away and get the result.

"It's been a great start to the season for me personally and the goal topped things off - I go back to my club happy."

Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso was an unused substitute in the clash.

Meanwhile, Bannan was on target for Scotland under-21s as Billy Stark's youngsters earned top spot in Group 10 with a 2-1 win over Austria at Pittodrie.

The Scots fell behind when Maro Arnautovic gave Austria the lead after just 10 minutes.

But Bannan bagged an equaliser with a sweetly-struck left-footed effort across the keeper before Chris Maguire scored a late winner.

Scotland and England now both take their place in Friday's draw for the play-off stages.

Richard Dunne's Republic of Ireland kept up their 100 per cent start to Euro 2012 qualification, with a 3-1 victory over Andorra.

Kevin Kilbane, Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane scored for Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, with Christian Martinez replying for the visitors just before half-time.

John Carew was back in action for Norway as they earned a 1-0 victory over Portugal.

The Villa striker had a big hand in his nation's goal - charging down a clearance from Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo to present Erik Huseklepp with a simple finish.

It was a short but sweet appearance for Carew, who limped out of the contest on 36 minutes and was replaced by Mohamed Abdellaoui.

However, there was defeat for Stiliyan Petrov's Bulgaria, who went down 1-0 to Montenegro in Sofia, thanks to Elsad Zverotic.

Ashley Young was an unused substitute in England's 3-1 victory in Switzerland.

Wayne Rooney fired home from close range to give England an early lead, while substitutes Adam Johnson and Darren Bent scored either side of Xherdan Shaqiri's spectacular goal.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 8th September 2010
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