REPORT | Ireland MU19 1-1 Sweden MU19
Following their 2-2 draw last Friday, these two nations played out a 1-1 draw on Monday as Aidomo Emakhu’s superb finish for Ireland quickly cancelled out Jusef Erabi’s earlier strike for Sweden.
Tom Mohan took a squad of 23 players to the south of Spain to prepare for their UEFA Under-19 European Qualifiers in Bulgaria next month, where they will face Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro in their group.
The manager made eleven changes in total from his side's first meeting with the Swedish less than 72 hours earlier, which was their first fixture in 689 days.
After a tense opening to the game, Sweden took the lead midway through the first half thanks to striker Jusef Erabi.
Ireland were a bit unfortunate in the manner they conceded the goal as goalkeeper Arlo Doherty had initially made a great save but following a scramble on the edge of the penalty area, Erabi expertly slotted the ball home.
But the Irish responded brilliantly to that setback and they weren’t behind for long as with a half an hour on the clock - just six minutes after they fell behind - they grabbed an equaliser through Aidomo Emakhu.
The number 24 was alert and pounced on the loose ball following some hesitancy from the opposition’s defence before finishing superbly past the keeper.
Ireland were now on top and they almost completed a sensational comeback moments later but after a great move down the right-hand side which allowed Ben McCormack to fire the ball into the net, their celebrations were cut short as the linesman flagged for offside.
Given how the other three halves between these squads have transpired in the last few days, it was no surprise that the second period here was similarly tight although the match was marred by a serious-looking injury to McCormack.
With the game drawing to a close, Ireland almost snatched the victory but substitute Cristiano Fitzgerald was denied following good pressing in the attacking third as the two teams took a share of the spoils.
Republic of Ireland: Doherty, Gallagher (Seary 57), Mills, Abankwah (Garcia MacNulty 84), Adedokun (Adaramola 84), Corbally, McJannett (Lawal 84), Vaughan (Mullins 84), McCormack (Finn Benoa 71), Hayes (Fitzgerald 84), Emakhu (Pearce 63).
Sweden: Guadagno, Robak, Nilsson, Ayari, Dahl, Widell, Olsson, Erabi, Swedberg, Navik, Qasem.