Republic of Ireland 0 - 1 Portugal | 2017 - UEFA Women's European Championship | 999942986

UEFA Women's European Championship | Tallaght Stadium, Dublin
20 Sep 2016 18:00

Republic of Ireland 0 - 1 Portugal

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REPORT: WNT fall narrowly to Portugal

Republic of Ireland Women's National Team finished fourth in their UEFA 2017 European Championships qualifying group thanks to a narrow defeat to Portugal.
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21st Sep 2016

Sue Ronan's side had the best of the chances in the game but Portugal captain Claudia Neto headed home from close-range, after Emma Byrne saved her penalty, to seal three points for the away side.

Ireland should have been ahead in the second minute of the game. Ruesha Littlejohn didn't let the ball go out and found a wonderful back-heel pass to Julie Ann-Russell who found a fantastic cross to Aine O'Gorman whose looping header crashed off the cross-bar.

Ireland continued to dominate the first-half but without creating many openings. In their first attack, Portugal found space on the left to cross for Ana Leite to tuck home but Sophie Perry brilliantly blocked her effort on the line.

Sue Ronan's side continued to dominate possession and should have gone ahead seven minutes after the break. Once again, it was the UCD Waves pair causing problems as Russell found O'Gorman in behind but her low effort was well saved by the feet of Isabel Morais.

Portugal knew a win would see them qualify for the UEFA 2017 European Championships and began to create chances in the latter stages. First, Neto worked a corner short to turn inside and fire narrowly wide of the right-hand post before Neto delivered the match-winning blow.

Ana Borges broke down the left-side and was fouled by Jetta Berrill with a mis-timed challenge. The captain Neto stepped up but saw her poor spot-kick parried by Byrne, but she was first to the rebound to head home.

It proved to be the match-winning goal as late substitute Fiona O'Sullivan was denied from close range in added time.

Teams 

Republic of Ireland: Byrne (GK)(C), Perry, Berrill, Quinn, Fahey, Duggan (McLaughlin 82), Caldwell, O'Gorman, Littlejohn (O'Sullivan 88), Russell (Shine 64), McCabe.

Subs: Reid-Burke (GK), McCarthy, De Burca, Beckett, Moloney (GK).

Portugal: Morais (GK), Rebelo, Fidalgo, Neto (C), Borges, Leite (Silva 90), Silva, Costa, Marques, Da Costa (T. Pinto 64), Pires (F. Pinto 82).

Subs: Marreiros (GK), Pereira, Fernandes, Silva, Mendes.

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PREVIEW: Ireland WNT v Portugal

With this their final game of the UEFA 2017 European Championships qualifiers, Sue Ronan’s side will be seeking to achieve alternative targets now that qualification is not possible.
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20th Sep 2016

In a group of five, Ireland sit in fourth place with Spain, Finland and tomorrow’s opponents Portugal in a superior standing.

For Portugal, three points are crucial. They currently lie in third place, three points behind second placed Finland who play group leaders Spain in Madrid tomorrow. Finland’s superior goal difference of seven means that Portugal will need to bring their striking boots to Tallaght Stadium, as well as hoping that Spain prove ruthless against Finland. In the eight qualifying groups, the top sides plus the six runners up progress automatically whereas the other two runners up meet in a play-off.
 
So a competitive match is guaranteed. For Ireland, competitiveness will be motivated by different reasons but will be as driven nonetheless.
 
Ronan’s squad sees some new faces this time around with inclusion of WNL youngsters Tiegan Ruddy and Roma McLoughlin who both hail from Peamount United. There has also been a recall of Wexford Youths striking ace Claire O’Riordan who has replaced Stephanie Roche, who is unavailable this week.
 
Also unavailable are key players Denise O’Sullivan and Megan Connolly, who both remain in the United States. This may give others an opportunity to stake their own names in a squad whose next major campaign will commence in 2017 to seek qualification for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

Republic of Ireland v Portugal
Tuesday, September 20th 
Tallaght Stadium
Kick-Off: 18:00
Referee: Esther Azzopardi (MLT)

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