Republic of Ireland 3-1 Azerbaijan
For the first time since 2011, the Republic of Ireland U19 side has qualified for the UEFA European Under-19 Championships in Armenia following their 3-1 victory over Azerbaijan in Krasnodar, Russia, over the weekend.
The victory, Ireland’s second in a week, coupled with the scoreless draw between Romania and Russia, means Tom Mohan’s side are now qualified for the finals in Armenia in July.
Tyreik Wright gave Ireland the lead just before the break. Though his initial header from a corner was blocked, Wright slotted home the rebound to put his side 1-0 up.
Will Smallbone’s penalty hit the crossbar before Mohan’s boys doubled their lead on the hour mark, when Jason Knight’s shot beat the Azerbaijani goalkeeper Nijat Mehbaliyev.
Azerbaijan pulled a goal back with 20-minutes to play when Kamran Guliyev scored from close range, after Brian Maher saved Turan Valizada’s penalty.
The three points were guaranteed in the last five-minutes when Republic of Ireland captain Jonathan Afolabi slotted home his side’s third goal.
Head Coach Tom Mohan was impressed with his side’s effort throughout the game, stating:
“It was a different game to the win against Romania. Azerbaijan were very difficult to break down. We have seven Under-18s and one Under-17 player in the squad today. For such young players, they showed great composure.”
Ireland will conclude their campaign on Tuesday afternoon with a 2pm Irish time kick-off against Russia at FC Krasnodar Academy Stadium, safe in the knowledge that they have already qualified for July’s finals.
Republic of Ireland: Brian Maher, Andy Lyons, Oisín McEntee, Jack James (Mark McGuinness 90+1), Kameron Ledwidge, Luca Connell (Niall Morahan 90+3), Will Smallbone (Conor Grant 90+1), Jason Knight, Tyreik Wright (Ali Reghba 79), Jonathan Afolabi, Will Ferry (Festy Ebosele 90+3).
Azerbaijan: Nijat Mehbaliyev, Rauf Huseynli (90+2), Ibragim Huseinov, Elnur Ibragimov, Vusal Masimov, Tural Bayramov (Musa Gurbanli 66), Turan Valizada, Shakir Seyidov, Kamran Guliyev (Murad Mahmudov 78), Serhat Tasdemir (Rustam Nuruyev 66), Emil Gasimov (Elvin Jafarguliyev 46).