Irish U19s produce heroic display to defeat Sweden
|Republic of Ireland||2 ||-||1||Sweden |
Aaron Doran 29
Jame Colins 73
|Jesper Floren 65|
|Wednesday 10th June 2009||Belgium|
Irish U19s produce heroic display to defeat Sweden
|The Republic of Ireland U19 side claimed a hard fought 2-1 victory over Sweden in the final game of the UEFA Championship, elite qualifying phase in Belgium today (Wednesday). Goals from Aaron Doran and James Collins secured the win but Irish manager, Sean McCaffrey will be happy with his sides impressive possession play and a strong team performance against a very organised Swedish outfit.|
Both sides went in to the game with two defeats to Belgium and Switzerland in the elite qualifying phase late last week and the two teams were eager to avoid a whitewash which produced an exciting end to end battle with the Irish commanding the game for the majority.
At the rain soaked Sport Centrum stadium in Tessenderio, the Irish got off to a flying start with McCaffrey's men holding possession for long periods, putting Sweden under a lot of early pressure. The lively Ronan Murray had Irelands opening shot after only three minutes when he picked the ball up on the left flank, cut inside his marker but his left footed shot was comfortably saved by Viktor Noring in Sweden's goal.
Sweden almost grabbed a goal against the run of play in the 15th minute as a corner from the right was swung to the back post as Jakob Johansson powerfully struck his volley but Ciaran Gallagher who was making his U19 international debut was on hand to block the shot from close range.
Ipswich attacker, Ronan Murray almost grabbed the opening goal of the game in a well rehearsed maneuver straight from the training ground in the 20th minute. In a neat passing exchange the ball found its way to Aaron Doran who played a sublime ball through to Murray but his first time shot screwed just to the left of the post.
Viktor Noring produced a fantastic save to deny Aston Villa striker, James Collins in the 24th minute. Richie Towell launched his throw to the head of Ronan Murray who flicked the ball towards Collins at the edge of the six-yard box but his powerful strike was well saved by the Swedish keeper.
Ireland did take advantage of their superiority in the game after 29 minutes when Blackburn's Aaron Doran capped off a well worked move with a well taken goal. Ireland maintained their patient build up play and Conor Clifford sprayed the ball over the Swedish defence into the path of Doran who raced towards the on-rushing keeper and cheekily tapped the ball in between Noring's legs and into the back of the net.
James Collins should have doubled the score four minutes later when the commanding Lanre Oyebanjo darted from defence down the right wing and his pin-point cross was headed over the bar as the Villa striker had the goal at his mercy.
Sweden equalised in the 38th minute with a sublime goal from Sweden's Rasmus Jonsson. The Swedish midfielder picked the ball up in his own half and ran straight through the Irish midfield and he played a neat one-two with midfield partner, Johansson at the edge of the box before striking low past Gallagher, giving him no chance to keep it out.
Ronan Murray should have put the Irish back in the lead just on the stroke of half time as James Collins collected the ball in midfield and chipped the ball over the last defender but Murray's attempted chip over the keeper from ten yards went just over the bar.
Sweden started the second half very strongly but an Ireland defence which shipped six goals in the previous game were in impressive form with Oyebanjo, Gunning, McCrory and Richie Towell shutting out any danger from the Swedes. Goalkeeper, Ciaran Gallagher was in inspiring form as he calmly dealt with a number of dangerous corners but he was really made to work in the 65th minute when Jesper Floren who was loitering at the edge of the box picked up a breaking ball from a corner and his low powerful shot was pushed around the post by the Finn Harp's debutant.
Ireland regained the lead in the 73rd minute when an Irish corner was cleared as far as left back, Damien McCrory and as the Swedish advanced with an offside trap, McCrory played a 30 yard pass to the opposite wing to Conor Hourihane and the Sunderland man raced to the byline and crossed to James Collins who slid the ball past Viktor Noring in Sweden's goal.
Sweden almost grabbed the equaliser in injury time when Jakob Johansson powerfully struck a low cross into a crowded Irish box and in an attempt to cut out the danger, Conor Hourihane slid towards the ball and struck it off the post, much to the relief of the Irish defence.
In the other group 4 encounter, Belgium and Switzerland played out a 1-1 draw which means that the Swiss advance to the UEFA Championship finals which are to be held in the Ukraine this summer.
|Republic of Ireland: Ciaran Gallagher, Richard Towell, Lanre Oyebanjo, Gavin Gunning, Damien McCrory, Aaron Doran, Conor Clifford, Gearoid Morrissey, Conor Hourihane, Ronan Murray, James Collins.||Substitutes: Kieron Thorpe, Callum O'Connor, Callum Morris (on for James Collins, 90 mins), Greg Cunningham, Sean Scannell (on for Ronan Murray, 61 mins), Jamie Devitt.|