Stefan Bergmeister had a point to prove after being included in the starting line-up today after missing the defeat to Andorra through suspension, and he repaid manager Gray Surman’s faith in him by scoring a stunning 30-yard volley to end the qualifying campaign with a 3-2 win.
Austria, who knew progress to the second stage was impossible after two defeats in their group, found themselves a goal down after twelve minutes when Bernd Eckert’s short goal-kick to René Schröder was intercepted by Ilja Reiska who squared for Jaan Saar to slot home.
Twenty minutes later the same thing happened when Eckert and Schröder weren’t on the same page, allowing Saar to pick out Rauno Levotsski to double the lead. Surman immediately withdrew his goalkeeper, replacing him with Jacob Hochleitner.
Andreas Pavlov smashed a 20-yarder into the top corner seven minutes before the break to pull a goal back for Austria, who were playing with much more creative freedom than shown in the defeats to Netherlands and Andorra.
Midway through the second-half, captain Florian Horak sent a deep cross to the far post that Mario Wolf nodded back across goal for Stefan Bergmeister to knock home an equaliser.
There were just four minutes left when a slip from Schuster let Peitre go clean-through to win it for Estonia, but Hochleitner stood up tall and blocked his shot from ten yards out. Surman urged his side to go out with a bang, and Bergmeister ensured that they did.
Wolf’s corner was headed away inside the six-yard box towards Horak who nodded the ball down for Stefan Bergmeister to unleash scissor-kick volley up and over the crowded penalty area, dropping into the back of the net from thirty yards, with eight seconds of stoppage time played.
Te result restored some pride for the Austrian side, but they’ll ultimately be disappointed with their poor showing in the Andorra match that sealed their fate. It’s widely anticipated that given their failure to progress, Surman will step-down to focus on his Dortmund side’s bid to retain the three trophies they won last season.
In the other match, Netherlands beat Andorra 2-1 for their third win of the group.
UEFA U-19 CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND GROUP 5 ESTONIA 2-3 AUSTRIA Saar 12 Pavlov 38 Levotsski 33 Bergmeister 66, 90+1 Grolsche Veste, Enschede
GROUP 5 P W D L F A GD Pts 1. Netherlands 3 3 0 0 6 2 +4 9 Q 2. Andorra 3 1 1 1 3 3 +0 4 Q 3. Austria 3 1 0 2 3 5 -2 3 4. Estonia 3 0 1 2 4 6 -2 1