Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 October 2017

King's rookies show heart

IRELAND'S new-look under 21 squad, featuring nine debutants, struck late last night to grab a deserved 1-1 draw against Qatar's under 23 side last night in Aachen, Germany.

Noel King's rookies were punished on 32 minutes from Qatar's first real attack of the game. Twice they could have cleared a cross from Saleh Bader but the loose ball was controlled by Ahmed Alaaddin who drilled a low shot beyond Ian Lawlor.

Jack Byrne caught the eye all night and two minutes into stoppage-time he connected with Bradley Garmston's left-wing cross for the equaliser.

"This performance bodes well because the new lads showed the character to battle back," said King.

Ireland: I Lawlor (Manchester City): B Lenihan (Cork City), S Griffin (Reading), P Sweeney (Reading), J Connors (Dagneham); D Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), M Watkins-Clark (Stoke City), J Byrne (Manchester City); K McEvoy (Tottenham Hotspur), M Drennan (Aston Villa), W Hayhurst (Preston North End)

VILLA DISMISS

ASSISTANT BOSS

Aston Villa have dismissed assistant manager Ian Culverhouse after an internal investigation which followed his suspension last month.

Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa, who is believed to have been sacked earlier this month, were dismissed for alleged disciplinary reasons.

The club, however, did not release details of the incident described by owner Randy Lerner as "unexpected issues that could have very easily set the club back".

Goalkeeper Shay Given and youth team coach Gordan Cowan were appointed as their replacements on a temporary basis following the incident but Lambert must now begin his search for permanent replacements.

GOMES MAKES WATFORD MOVE

Watford have signed Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on a free transfer from Tottenham. The 33-year-old has agreed a one-year deal at Vicarage Road, with the club having the option for a further 12 months.

"Heurelho Gomes has agreed terms on a one-year deal at Vicarage Road and will officially become a Watford player on July 1," Watford announced on their website. Gomes spent part of last season on loan at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

GOETZE OUT TO TAKE ON WORLD

Germany's versatile attacking midfielder Mario Goetze is hoping his time to shine in the national team will come at the World Cup in Brazil next month after enduring a disappointing maiden tournament at Euro 2012.

Goetze, 21, is considered one of the best players of his generation in Germany but has yet to leave his mark in a major tournament for his country.

"At Euro 2012 I did not have any rhythm. I had been injured prior to that so it was a different situation," said Goetze, who won the domestic league and Cup double with Bayern this season. "How often do you get to play in a World Cup? It is something special and we have set ourselves big aims."

MOONEY EYES PLAY-OFF GLORY

David Mooney is back in love with football and ready to kiss goodbye to League One.

The Leyton Orient striker lost his passion for the game after failing to make an impact since arriving to Orient as a prolific goalscorer in Ireland. But Mooney has got his mojo back after hitting 19 league goals this season to fire Orient into today's Wembley play-off final against Rotherham.

"Two years ago I could take or leave football," the Dubliner admitted. "But I started speaking to a sports psychologist, my old Gaelic football coach at home, and he's put my head in the right frame of mind.

"This squad deserves a chance to play in the top two divisions. I think we could do well in the Championship."

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