Russia 0 - 0 Republic of Ireland | 2017 - Under 18 Friendlies | 999943487

Under-18 Mens Friendlies Slovakia Cup Tournament | Dunajska Luzna, Slovakia
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Russia 0 - 0 Republic of Ireland

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VIDEO: U18s play out scoreless draw with Russia

The Republic of Ireland Under 18 side produced an impressive display to draw with group leaders Russia in the Slovakia Cup in Dunajska Luzna this morning.
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25th Apr 2017

Jim Crawford’s side were unfortunate not to snatch a winner with four minutes left when Kian Flanagan carved open an opportunity for himself to fire in a shot that rattled the Russian crossbar.

Russia beat Turkey 5-0 in their opening game on Monday while the Irish were beaten 3-1 by Czech Republic.

The first half was a tight affair with a header from Shola Ayoola heading narrowly wide in the 12th minute the closest Ireland came to finding the net before the break.

Russia struck the base of Ireland’s left upright in the 27th minute when Maksim Glushenkov cut in from the right before firing at goal with his left foot.

Russia’s Danil Utkin fired wide with a low strike from outside the box in the 31st minute then the Russians should have scored six minutes later when Ivan Ignatev dragged his shot across the face of the Irish goal.

Ireland’s defensive unit was impressive throughout with central defenders Warren O’Hora of Bohemians and Cobh Ramblers’ James McSweeney standing out.

Russia had a decent opportunity in the 62nd minute when Ignatev burst through on goal but his poked effort was over the Irish bar.

Dan McKenna was denied by Russian keeper Matvey Safanov three minutes later after Rian O’Sullivan played the ball back in following a half-cleared Irish corner.

The Russians had defender Roman Evgenyev red carded in the 68th minute after a poor challenge on Waterford midfielder John Martin and the Irish really looked to push home the advantage.

Brilliant play by Kian Flanagan would have produced a tap-in goal for Martin in the 76th minute but for the intervention of goalkeeper Safonov.

Two minutes later Vyascheslav Grulev almost grabbed a Russian winner when he cut in from the left and produced a powerful strike that Irish keeper Mark Travers did well to tip over.

Flanagan was denied the winner when he rattled the crossbar after an excellent break led by Thomas Byrne.

Ireland face Turkey in their final group game on Thursday then play a classification game on Friday which will depend on where they finish in their group.

“Overall I felt it was an excellent display from our lads. It wasn’t easy to perform in that heat against a very good Russian side but our lads defended excellently and in the second half were very unlucky not to score,” said Crawford.

“The concentration and commitment from everybody defensively was top class and I was pleased at the break but we asked a bit more of them in the second half and were very unlucky not to grab a winner at the end.

“These games are a fantastic test for these players and it was very pleasing that so many home-based players could produce a performance of that level against a really top class international side like Russia.”

Republic of Ireland: Travers; A Byrne, Mollett (Keaney 65), O’Hora (O’Driscoll 65), McSweeney, McKenna, Martin, Scully (Flanagan 60), N Byrne (T Byrne 65), Ayoola (Dillon 50), O’Sullivan.  

RESULTS & FIXTURES

Monday, April 24: Czech Republic 3-1 Republic of Ireland, Modranka
Tuesday, April 25: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Russia, Dunajska Luzna
Thursday, April 27: Republic of Ireland 2-1 Turkey, Dunajska Luzna (KO 10:00)
Friday, April 28: Classification match, TBC