Ireland CU: Ireland edge five-goal thriller in Naples
Alan O’Sullivan converted two second half penalties to seal the three points after Cillian Duffy had netted the equaliser in a pulsating game in 28-degree heat.
It was the worst possible start for Ireland when Jinhyun Kim struck Kunhee Lee’s cutback first time to give South Korea the advantage. Ireland were struggling to gain any sort of a foothold in the game in the opening half-hour and were finding it difficult to maintain possession.
The game’s big talking point came 36 minutes in when Lee fouled Joe Manley. As Lee walked away from the incident, Maurice Nugent approached the referee to remonstrate about the foul. As the two players passed, Lee pushed Nugent away before swiping at the NUI Galway defender’s face and the South Korean was shown a red card. Nugent wouldn’t see out the half due to the injury suffered.
The extra man spurred the Irish on in the second half and they should have equalised shortly after the break. Anthony McAlavey’s volley was tipped onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Seoungjun Min and the ball fell to O’Sullivan, with the goal at his mercy, but he blazed his opportunity over the bar.
Ireland finally made the breakthrough when McAlavey picked out substitute Sean Trimble bursting down the right flank. Trimble’s cross was met by the onrushing Cillian Duffy who headed home the equaliser.
Moments later, the referee was pointing to the penalty spot. Ronan Young pinched the ball from the South Korean midfielder and fed the ball into the box. As the ball pinballed around the box, O’Sullivan got himself first to the ball as the goalscorer Kim tried to clear and followed through on the Ireland captain. O’Sullivan would dust himself off and his kick went beyond the goalkeeper into the bottom right to make it 2-1.
The referee was pointing to the spot again with eleven minutes remaining when O’Sullivan ran on to Duffy’s flick on and was bundled over by Min. This time Min dived early and O’Sullivan cooly knocked the ball into the centre of the goal for 3-1
A dramatic finale was in store as Korea as Hyeonwoo Kim broke away from a corner and the ball was fed across to Ho Kim who tapped the ball in at the back post. It was a nervy final couple of seconds for Ireland as the final play of the game was a Korea corner which skidded wickedly across the Irish box and away to signal the final whistle and a sigh of relief for Greg Yelverton's side.
It's a quick turnaround for the Boys in Green as they face Uruguay in their final group game Sunday evening in Caserta.
Ireland: Coffey (GK), Nugent (Trimble 44’), Manley, Slevin, Young, McAlavey, Kelly, Hurley (Quinn 72’), Daly-Butz (McSweeney HT), O’Sullivan (Falvey 88’), Duffy.
Referee: Kevin Ortega (Peru)
2019 FISU Summer Universiade Men's Football - Group A Result
Ireland 3-2 South Korea
2019 FISU Summer Universiade Men's Football - Group A Fixture
07/07: Ireland v Uruguay, Stadio Pinto, 6pm (5pm Irish Time)