Amateurs defeated by excellent Belgium

Belgium  2 - 1  Republic of Ireland
Ubachs 52       Dean Kelly 90
Kocasian 78

Gerry Smith’s Republic of Ireland side lost 2-1 to an excellent Belgium side in their final UEFA Regions Cup game in Croatia on Saturday.

Belgium were leading 2-0 in the closing stages but Ireland’s Dean Kelly scored from close range in the 90th minute to set up a nail biting four minutes of added time with Belgium on the rack but they held out to secure the win.

Belgium played the better football throughout the ninety minutes and were always dangerous on the break and caused Smith’s side untold problems with their wide play and in the 25th minute they were awarded a penalty when Wayne Byrne handled in the penalty area.

Brendan O' Connell made a brilliant save from Eric Van De Bon to deny Belgium taking a deserved lead. Ireland were extremely lucky to go in at half time level as the midfield quartet of Callaghan, Dunne, Whelehan and Molloy found it hard to get to grips with the slick inter-passing of Belgium.

The second half saw the introduction of O'Connell for Dunne and this gave the Irish an added edge in midfield but in the 52nd minute Ubachs scored with a fierce shot to give Belgium the lead.

Ireland should of scored in the 58th minute when some sloppy play from the Belgians allowed O'Connell in and he rounded the goalkeeper only to see his shot skim the crossbar.

Belgium doubled their lead in the 78th minute when Kocasian completed a fine move and he finished well from close range. Sherlock came in for Molloy and he caused problems with his height but the Irish just could not break down a well marshaled Belgian defence. In the 90th minute Kelly pulled one back but by that time it was far too late to trouble Belgium who now win the bronze medal for the UEFA Regions Cup.

Republic of Ireland team: B. O' Connell, R. Carrig, J. Walsh, P. Breen, W. Byrne, R. Whelehan, W. Callaghan, L. Dunne, W. Molloy, D. Kelly, D. Lacey.
Sub: D. O' Connell (L. Dunne) 46', P. Sherlock (W. Molloy) 60', D. Loughran (W. Callaghan) 75'.

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