A goal well into extra time, Ireland’s U18 men denied victory in the first of their friendly double nod with Sweden in Marbella when they had to settle for 2-2 on Thursday afternoon.
Boys in Green fell behind at the break to a Victor Safsten nod but fought back in the second period thanks to goals from Billy Brooks and Ben Quinn before Sweden took a late equalizer from Richie Omorowa to take part in the change.
After their two friendly matches against Hungary in August, which ended with his team winning the first match 2-0 before the second match a 2-2 draw, head coach Colin O’Brien took Ireland’s MU18s to southern Spain for two matches against the Swedes when he further assessed his options.
With 27 minutes played, Ireland put themselves up 27 – 0 when the visiting defenders lost the ball to Harry Vaughan, who came up from the left and proceeded to coolly round the keeper and knock the ball home.
Sweden cracked the zero a moment later when Saften nodded home from a corner and they almost made it 2-0 before half time but they were denied by the crossbar.
Ireland regrouped during the interval and they equalized deservedly in the 65th minute when Lincoln City’s Billy Brooks created space in the box before concluding from close range.
Ireland had penalty appeals waved away in the 72nd minute but they were to complete the turnaround moments later when substitute Quinn swept a post from the edge past the goalkeeper.
The referee waved off more Irish calls for a goal kick in the final stages before Quinn missed a brilliant chance to seal the victory and take his second in the afternoon when he was denied by the Swedish striker when he ran through on goal.
And with 91 minutes on the clock, Sweden made an unlikely draw when Omorowa toe poked the loose ball past a helpless Conor Walsh from inside the sexyards box.
The two teams meet again on Sunday for their second and final friendly match in Marbella with kick-off at 14:30.
Walsh; Seary, Murphy, Curtis; Fogarty; Vata (Ferizaj 67) Vaughan, Coleman; Barrett (Quinn 67), Pearce (Lonergan 85), Billy Brooks (Edwin Agbaje 67).
Hamawand, Larsson, Eriksson, Henareh, Safsten, Garcia Tsotidis, Omorowa, Danho, Eklund, Farnerud, Nordström.