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San Marino miss golden chance at first win in 20 years as bookies’ favourites stunned by Caribbean minnows

THE world of football held its breath in anticipation of tonight’s blockbuster international clash as San Marino bid to end their 20-year wait for a win.

However, the microstate landlocked in north-eastern Italy will have to go on waiting after it missed a golden chance to earn a golden win.

San Marino started their hunt for a first win in 20 years well

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San Marino started their hunt for a first win in 20 years wellCredit: Viaplay
But St. Kitts and Nevis were able to comeback to win 3-1

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But St. Kitts and Nevis were able to comeback to win 3-1Credit: Viaplay

San Marino is ranked as the worst national team by Fifa rankings, having lost 192 of the 201 games it had contested before tonight.

It is the fifth-smallest country in the world with a land mass of 61km squared – roughly half the size of Manchester – and a population of just 33,000.

Yet goals in each of their last three games – including against Denmark, who until recently were ranked inside the top 20 nations in the world – appeared to shown an upturn in their fortunes.

And a match against Caribbean side Saint Kitts and Nevis – ranked 63 places above San Marino at 210th in Fifa’s standings – represented a great chance to finally get a win on the board after 20 years.

Indeed, San Marino were sensationally the bookies favourites to win the match in Serravalle.

Things started off well when Filippo Berardi scored a penalty after 21 minutes to put the hosts 1-0 ahead.

It led to one fan, who goes by “San Marino fan account” on social media and started a campaign to get Jose Mourinho to manage the nation, to say: “BERARDI YOU SEXY SEXY SUN OF A BEACH.”

However, the jubilation would not last for long as Tyquan Terrell levelled the scoring in the 31st minute.

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Things then got worse on the stroke of half-time as Andre Burley netted a second for the visitors after the home side failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Any hope of San Marino rallying to mount a comeback was crushed shortly after the break when Harry Panayiotou netted a third in the 49th minute.

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The match would go on to end 3-1, meaning San Marino are now without a win in 137 games.

And it means Liechtenstein and Anguilla both breathed a sigh of relief that their own joint record of 35 games without a win would not become the new holder.

Liechtenstein are the one team San Marino managed to beat in their history, with a 1-0 win back in 2004 courtesy of a goal from Andy Selva, the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer with eight goals.

San Marino captain Matteo Vitaioli made his debut some 17 years ago but is yet to experience a win.

However, all is not lost.

The match is being repeated on Sunday, meaning Vitaioli and Co will have a chance to make amends.

As quoted by the BBC ahead of the first game in the double-header about the possibility of a win, the 34-year-old said: “It would mean to be part of the history of my home country’s national team, so it is the ultimate objective.

“It represents an opportunity to leave a sign, something that cannot be lost. It would be something that in 2050 and beyond would be remembered because there have been so few victories.”

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