Ireland U-21 1-0 Sweden U-21
Ollie O’Neill was the hero for Ireland as his winner in the 92nd minute was enough to take three points and an important victory for Jim Crawford’s men in Tallaght.
In a tight match with very few chances, Ireland’s perseverance yielded results with a well-taken effort from O’Neill to keep Ireland in the hunt for qualification.
Crawford made two changes to the starting lineup when Ross Tierney and Joshua Kayode came on for Conor Noss and Colm Whelan.
Both sides enjoyed periods of ball possession in the opening minutes of the competition but neither side could create a chance to score. Tyreik Wright’s free kick into the area was the first sight on goal and it caused the Swedish defense some problems with the ball being cleared.
Rami Al-Hajj had the first shot on goal when he picked up the ball from midfield and hit a rising shot that Brian Maher was forced to tip away at the nearest post for a corner.
Kayode almost put the reducer away having drawn the entire left side defense away, but the shot went straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. Wright had another free kick that was cleared away by the Swedish defense but the ball fell to Will Smallbone whose half volley went over the crossbar.
Tierney and Kayode linked well together to advance into the Swedish area, however, Tierney lost his footing at the appropriate moment and the ball was cleared, Lee O’Connor’s second ball into the area was well caught by Brolin. Tierney made a fantastic effort at breaking through on the right, but the home team’s left defense cleared the ball to a corner.
Smallbone just before half time intercepted a Swedish back pass but his effort was blocked by the back defender and Brolin collected the losing ball.
The first chance after the break came from the guests when a post from the right came to Amin Sarr in the area but his effort went over the bar. He would once again come close when Sweden broke away from possession and Sarr’s effort went over Maher’s crossbar. Sweden continued to press and Bilal Hussein’s volley from a corner went outside.
The substitute in the second half for Ireland William Ferry broke away from the Swedish defense but his shot was broken at the last second, he followed it up with a Joel Bagan low ball but his effort went over. Kayode went close again at the nearest post from the left from Wright but despite pressure, his effort went just outside.
Two chances for Will Ferry shortly after entering the pitch – can Ireland find a winner?
– RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) 16 November 2021
Jake O’Brien gave an excellent defensive nod to deny Anthony Elanga a free kick on goal that rose to the top to deny Manchester United’s striker. Brolin brilliantly denied Wright after an excellent Smallbone knockdown. Wright’s shot was excellent which was met by an equally good save from Brolin.
Benjamin Nygren had an attempt at goal from the edge of the area that Maher collected on the second attempt. Conor Noss had a fantastic opportunity to put Brolin up another goal 49 minutes into the match, but he fired just over the crossbar.
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Ireland conceded the three points just before the full-time whistle when O’Neill broke down the left and cut the inside to the right foot and his low shot hit Brolin at the nearest post to win the valuable and valuable three points.
Republic of Ireland: Brian Maher, Jake O’Brien, Mark McGuinness, Joel Bagan, Lee O’Connor, Tyreik Wright (Oliver O’Neill 84), Conor Coventry, Gavin Kilkenny, Will Smallbone (Conor Noß 84), Ross Tierney (William Ferry 68) , Joshua ‘JJ’ Kayode (Evan Ferguson 76).
Sweden: Samuel Brolin, Emil Holm, Aiham Ousou, Pavle Vagic, Daniel Svensson, Patrik Wålemark (Benjamin Nygren 67), Carl Gustavsson (David Edvardsson 85), Bilal Hussein, Anthony Elanga, Rami Al Hajj (Tim Prica 79), Amin Sarr (Paulos ) Abraham 67).
Judge: Peter Kralović (Slovakia)