Irish U17s suffer heartbreak in Serbia

Irish U17s suffer heartbreak in Serbia

THE Republic of Ireland U17 suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to host nation Serbia in their opening fixture of the UEFA U17 Championship Elite qualifying round in Stara Pazova this afternoon.
26th Mar 2014


Serbia 2 Republic of Ireland 1

THE Republic of Ireland U17 suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to host nation Serbia in their opening fixture of the UEFA U17 Championship Elite qualifying round in Stara Pazova this afternoon.

A contentious penalty three minutes injury-time gave the Serbs the three points with Luka Jović scoring from the spot after Anto Breslin was judged to have fouled Ivan Šaponjić.

Ireland had finished the game with ten men after Danny Kane was shown a second yellow card with five minutes left. To add to Ireland's disappointment Corey Whelan was issued a red card at the final whistle following the controversy over the match-winning penalty.

Šaponjić had headed the Serbs in front in the seventh minute after Whelan had been adjudged to have fouled Matija Špoljarić for a dangerous free-kick.

Ireland keeper Evan Moran denied Špoljarić in the 23rd minute and then made another save from Jović five minutes later.

The Irish youngsters grew into the game with Shane Elworthy unlucky to have an effort blocked in the 37th minute while Anto Dolan missed the target just before the break.

In first half injury time home keeper Vanja Milinković-Savić made a save from Conor Masterson to keep his side in front.

Anto Breslin had a shot blocked one minutes into the second half and Milinković-Savić denied Masterson once more in the 54th minute.

Shelbourne midfielder Adam McDonnell drew another save from the home keeper two minutes later as the Irish pressed for the equaliser.

The Irish did eventually level when substitute Robbie Duggan found the net after intercepting a Serbian pass, leading a quick counterattack and then firing home brilliantly. It seemed that it was game on at that point.

The game flowed from end to end with both defences tested before Kane's 75th minute dismissal handed the home side the initiative. Despite stout defending from the Irish ten men the last gasp winner handed the Serbs the three points.

Ireland meet Germany in their second game on Friday afternoon. The Germans beat Georgia 4-0 today.

"It was desperately disappointing for the lads not to get at least a point out of that game. It was a tremendous effort," said Mohan.

"Unfortunately a lot went on that was unsavoury. We had a young side with a few guys still only 15-years-old so they'll definitely learn from that sort of experience.

"Serbia were a strong attacking side but we played some excellent football and forced their keeper into a number of saves. We can't do anything about this result now and will turn our minds to the next challenge." 

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Moran, Breslin, Kane, McCourt, McDonnell (Duggan 57), Elworthy, Poynton, Masterson, Holland, Whelan, Dolan (Kinsella 49).

SERBIA: Milinković-Savić, Mijailović, Zlatković (Šarenac 59), Zličić, Stojanović, Tufegdžić (Karišić 41), Špoljarić, Jović, Glavčić, Šaponjić, Mitrović (Janković 78).

FIXTURES

26 March 2014
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 5
Serbia 2 Republic of Ireland 1, Stara Pazova (SRB)

28 March 2014
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 5
Germany v Republic of Ireland, FK Obilić, Belgrade (SRB) (2.00pm Irish)

31 March 2014
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 5
Republic of Ireland v Georgia, FK Obilić, Belgrade (SRB) (2.00pm Irish)