BRUSSELS (AP) — Substitute Marcel Sabitzer scored from the penalty spot on Monday shortly after entering the game to secure a 1-0 win for Austria at Azerbaijan and send his country to next year’s European Championship.
After losing 3-2 to Belgium in Vienna last week in the fight for Group F supremacy — Austria’s only defeat in seven qualifying games so far — Sabitzer and his teammates knew a win in Baku would secure a spot at the tournament hosted by Germany.
With several key players sidelined because of injuries, Austria struggled to create real chances in the first half. It was awarded a penalty just minutes into the second half after a hand ball. Sabitzer was clinical in converting with a strike into the corner in the 48th.
Sabitzer, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, recently returned to competition after recovering from an adductor injury he picked up last month in a Champions League match against PSG.
Austria finished with 10 men after striker Guido Burgstaller was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.
Already qualified Belgium played at home later Monday against third-place Sweden, and Netherlands and Greece go head-to-head in their bid to join already qualified France from Group B.
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