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Monday, March 30, 2015, Chaitra 16, 1421 BS, Jamadius Sani 8, 1436 Hijr

Late goals save day for Netherlands, Italy
Published : Monday, 30 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 14

Paris, Mar 29: The Netherlands and Italy needed late equalisers to earn draws in Euro 2016 qualifying on Saturday, while Gareth Bale inspired Wales to a fine win in Israel that left them top of their group.
The Dutch were heading to a first competitive defeat on home soil since October 2000 after Burak Yilmaz put Turkey ahead in Amsterdam, but a 92nd-minute shot by captain Wesley Sneijder deflected into the net off Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to spare Oranje blushes and secure a 1-1 draw.
A defeat might have made Dutch coach Guus Hiddink's position untenable, and even the draw leaves last year's World Cup semi-finalists in third place in qualifying Group A, five points behind second-placed Iceland and two points ahead of Turkey.
"It wasn't a bad match, but not our best either," said Hiddink. "A defeat would have been catastrophic but the (equalising) goal keeps us in the running."
Only the top two in each group qualify automatically for next year's finals in France, along with the best third-place finisher.
The Czech Republic lead the section, although they required a last-minute goal by substitute Vaclav Pilar just to earn a 1-1 draw with Latvia in Prague after Aleksejs Visnakovs had given the away side the lead.
They are a point ahead of Iceland, who won 3-0 in Kazakhstan with Birkir Bjarnason scoring twice after veteran forward Eidur Gudjohnsen put them ahead in Astana.
Antonio Conte's Italy are in a rather more comfortable position than the Netherlands and remain unbeaten in Group H after coming back to draw 2-2 with Bulgaria in Sofia.
Yordan Minev's early own goal gave the Azzurri the lead, but Ivelin Popov and Ilian Micanski both scored for Bulgaria to turn the game on its head.
The hosts looked to be heading for a win in Ivaylo Petev's first game as coach but Brazilian-born debutant Eder, of Sampdoria, came off the bench to save a point for Italy with a fine strike with six minutes left.
"It's an amazing feeling," Eder told Rai Sport. "Conte had faith in me and I've scored a goal wearing an important jersey. I hope I'll go on to be given other chances."    AFP

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