REPORT | U21 | Ferguson earns play-off draw with Israel
Idan Gorno gave the away side the lead just before half-time but Evan Ferguson equalised for Ireland netting his first goal at Under 21 level. The sides meet again this coming Tuesday with a chance of sealing a place for Georgia and Romania next year.
Jim Crawford handed starts to Aaron Connolly and Evan Ferguson and gave U21debuts to both Joe Redmond and Joe Hodge.
Ireland had the best chance of the opening exchanges when Conor Coventry gave Aaron Connolly an excellent through ball into the Israel area but his effort struck the woodwork. In the next attacking phase of play Evan Ferguson had his shot blocked down en route to goal.
Connolly would go close again after Lee O’Connor played an excellent pass into the area to the Irish striker but his turn and strike just saw his effort go wide of Petetzs’ post. Will Smallbone forced an excellent save from Petetz when he hit a first-time shot from a Connolly pass that saw his effort tipped over the crossbar.
Brian Maher was forced to make a clever save after Kanaan struck a low free kick that the Irish keeper had to put around the post. He was called into action moments later with Kanaan once again striking a curling effort that Maher pushed away for a corner.
From that corner, Israel took the lead as Davida’s set piece saw Idan Gorno head it powerfully past Maher to score the opening goal of the game.
Ireland responded almost immediately to that concession early in the second half when Eiran Cashin headed just over the Israeli bar from a free kick. Moments later Smallbone's cross into the area was headed goalward by Connolly but it went wide.
Ireland were to level following a corner by Wright that was sent into the area and was headed past Petetz by Evan Ferguson to score his first goal for the Under 21 side.
Stav Lemkin was sent off for Israel with ten minutes left in play as he fouled Aaron Connolly on the edge of the box as he was en route to goal. Will Smallbone would force a fine save from Peretz from the resulting freekick.
Aaron Connolly had a chance to seal the win for Ireland in the final minute of added-on time but his half volley went over the bar.
Jim Crawford’s side will travel to Israel next week still in a good position to qualify for the Under 21 Championships in 2023.
Republic of Ireland: Maher (GK), L. O'Connor, Redmond, Cashin, Coventry, Hodge (Devoy 73), Smallbone, Connolly, O'Brien, Wright (Ebosele 83), Ferguson (Odubeko 79).
Substitutes: Odumosu (GK), Ogunfaolu-Kayode, O'Neill, Lyons, Tierney, Garcia MacNulty.
Israel: Peretz (GK), Lemkin, Herman (Jaber 60), Morgan, Cohen, Davida (Zasno 79), Kanaan (Layous 60), Gloukh, Kancepolsky (Hofmeister 79), Shahar, Gorno (Melamud 83).
Substitutes: Nir On (GK), Sade, Nachmani, Abed Kassus.
Player of the Match: Aaron Connolly
Referee: Dario Bel (Croatia)