U19s suffer late twist against Portugal
UEFA Championship Under-19 elite stage qualifier
Portugal 1-0 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland Under-19s were desperately unlucky not to get something out of their opening UEFA elite stage qualifier against Portugal, losing to the mini-groups hosts Portugal by virtue of a last-gasp own goal.
Ireland's supremacy in terms of possession and chance-count looked to have claimed them at least a draw until a searching cross three minutes from time struck the shin of Ireland substitute Michael Barker and ended up in the net.
For the most part, Paul Doolin's side had their Portuguese hosts under the cosh and even had a first-half penalty saved.
The result means Ireland must win their next game against Ukraine, 2-0 victors over Israel in today's other group 4 fixture, to resurrect their prospects of finishing top and booking a place at the European Championships in Estonia this July. The Boys in Green complete their group by facing Israel on Thursday.
Ireland were awarded a penalty on 10 minutes when Anthony Forde's threaded pass allowed Samir Carruthers to race clear and he was taken down by goalkeeper Rafael Veloso, who was booked for the challenge. Forde took the resultant spot-kick, only to see Veloso stop the effort. A re-take was ordered for the goalkeeper leaving his goal-line but, once more, he was equal to the task and denied Forde.
Seán Murray then was unable to convert a cross from John O'Sullivan but Portugal finished the half with renewed purpose.
Ireland goalkeeper Sean McDermott had to be on guard to keep out a header by Tiago Ferreira at the interval approached. Their right-winger Tó-Zé couldn't keep his volley down shortly after the restart.
The Irish reasserted control thereafter with Carruthers on the end of another opening. Still, Veloso stooped low to turn the Aston Villa man's low drive out for a corner. There was further bad luck for the midfielder on 65 minutes as his curler sailed a yard over.
Just as the group hosts seemed contend to take a point, they countered down the right channel to pocket what was an undeserved winning goal.
Portugal: R. Veloso; Ferreira, Olori, Martins, Ca; Bruma, Joao Mario, Esgaio, Cancelo; Tó-Ze, Cafu.
Subs: Gomes for Cafu, Betinho for Tó-Ze (both 64), Edgar Ie for Olori (70)
Rep of Ireland: S. McDermott (Arsenal); C. Morrissey (Trieste), N. Byrne (Rochdale), D. Williams (Aston Villa), B. Garmston (West Brom); S. Carruthers (Aston Villa), J. O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers), F. Sutherland (QPR); S. Murray (Watford), A. O'Brien (Millwall), A. Forde (Wolves).
Subs: M. Barker (Bohemians) for Morrissey (h/t), S. Kavanagh (Fulham) for Garmston (76)
Referee: A. Boucaut (Belgium).