REPORT | U21 | Ireland 3-0 San Marino - Vata at the double
A brace of goals from Rocco Vata on his debut and a second-half goal from Sinclair Armstrong earned Jim Crawford's side the win to place them second in the group.
Ireland backed-up their win over Türkiye with a professional display over San Marino, creating 14 chances in a dominant performance for the young Boys in Green.
Tony Springett had the first shot on goal for Ireland with a curling effort on the edge of the area that just went over. Sinclair Armstrong went close as he forced an excellent save from Pietro Amici.
Armstrong would set up Ireland’s opening goal as he broke down the right with his low cross across the face of the goal finding Rocco Vata at the back post who sent his effort into the roof of the net.
Amici was forced to make an excellent save as a cross from the right from Curtis found Armstrong at the back post and saw Amici get a hand to force it wide only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
Ireland continued to search for a second with Matt Healy and Vata combining from a corner with Vata’s pass placed into the path of Armstrong but the Irish striker forced his effort wide.
Lawal was next to have an opportunity for Ireland with his header from a Healy corner just going over. Ireland continued to press with Vata’s cross on the byline into the San Marino area was met by Armstrong whose header flashed wide. Healy then forced an excellent save from Amici after some patient build-up play with Healy’s effort on the edge of the area forcing the San Marino keeper to tip it over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Vata scored his second goal of the contest just on the half-time mark as a quick corner with Healy saw Vata break into the San Marino area and strike his effort to the roof of the net beating Amici at his near post.
Ireland's first opportunity of the second half came when Armstrong's cross was met at the back post by Moran but Matteoni charged down the goal-bound effort. Armstrong had another sight on goal with the Irish striker breaking into the San Marino area only for his effort to hit the side netting.
Armstrong was to get his first Under-21 goal following a mistake from Matteoni with a poor clearance saw the high ball chased down by the QPR man who bundled it in after he won the race for the ball with Amici. Lawal was to go close from a corner with Healy’s delivery meeting the Irish defender at the near post but his effort went wide of the post.
Emakhu had a brace of chances following his introduction to the game with the second having to be blocked down en-route to goal by Zannoni. But Ireland ended with the three goals and will meet up again next month as they prepare for Latvia.
Ireland: Keeley (GK), Abankwah, Furlong, Lawal, Healy (McJannet, 79'), Vata (Gilsenan, 68'), Armstrong (Carty, 79'), Moran (C), Springett (Emakhu, 68'), Curtis, Adeeko (Phillips, 68').
San Marino: Amici (GK), Giocondi (Guidi, 70'), M. Sancisi, Toccaceli, Matteoni, Contadini (C), Zannoni (Dolcini, 83'), Santi (Pasolini, 83'), Sensoli (N. Sancisi, 58'), Famiglietti, Giambalvo (D'Addario, 70')
Referee: Antoine Paul Chiaramonti (Andorra)