Euro 2012 qual. - Kerr's Faroe Islands stun Estonia
Brian Kerr's Faroe Islands secured a shock 2-0 victory at home to Estonia in Euro 2012 qualifying Group C, only their eighth win in an official tournament.
Captain Frodi Benjaminsen put the hosts ahead with a penalty on 43 minutes and, early in the second half, Arnbjorn Hansen added a second from close range after Benjaminsen had another spot-kick saved.
Both sides finished the game with 10 men, with Sander Puri harshly shown a second yellow card on 57 minutes and Faroese forward Pol Johannes Justinusen dismissed late on.
The Faroe Islands, a tiny archipelago near Denmark with a population of around 50,000, have beaten fellow minnows Malta, Luxembourg and San Marino twice apiece and Lithuania once since they started entering tournaments in the late 1980s.
Their biggest historic result remains a 1-0 friendly victory over Austria in 1990, not to mention a creditable 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland in this qualifying group, but this will be one of the most satisfying, making Irishman Kerr a hero - at least until they play the Irish again on August 10.
Estonia did have their chances: Kaimar Saag spooned over from close range, Sergei Zenjov hit the side netting and 40-year-old Faroese keeper Jakup Mikkelsen made good saves from Konstantin Vassiljev and Dmitri Kruglov.
But the hosts deserved the win as they played the better football on a poor pitch, watched by several hundred flag-waving onlookers and the occupants of a red family estate car parked behind one of the goals.
They drew first blood when Puri was adjudged to have pulled an opponent’s shirt at a corner - it looked a soft decision, but Benjaminsen coolly slotted home the penalty to delight the home crowd.
Not long after the second-half restart they had another chance from the spot as Kruglov clumsily felled Hansen.
Benjaminsen’s penalty was saved this time, but Estonia keeper Sergei Pareiko was helpless to prevent Hansen from drilling home the loose ball.
Estonia woke up and tried in vain to pull one back, but they were hardly helped by the decision to show Puri another yellow card, similarly harsh as Justinusen appeared to be pulling his shirt too.
The Faroes shut up shop, with the visitors largely restricted to long-range efforts, and they rode a nervous finish when Justinusen was given his marching orders following a lunge on Enar Jaager.
The Faroe Islands are still bottom of a six-team Group C, on four points and two behind Northern Ireland, while Estonia in fourth have seven points although have played two more games than the Irish.