Tuesday 20 February 2018

Girls in Green punish 'cynical' Croats with late leveller

croatia 1 ireland 1

Women's World Cup qualifier

Ireland snatched a vital point with an injury-time equaliser in the second game of their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in Sinj.

The equaliser was initially credited to Diane Caldwell – who had earlier scored an own goal. She jumped with a group of defenders to meet a long throw from Megan Campbell. However, after viewing video footage, UEFA confirmed that the final touch had come off Croatia's Allison Lee Scurich.

Caldwell was just happy that Ireland had taken a point from a game that they deserved to win.

"It maybe bounced off both our heads and in. But whatever way it went, it doesn't matter. At least it went in," said Caldwell. "We came here for three points and we are disappointed we didn't get them. But at least we kept battling and we got the equaliser."

The home side took the lead on 11 minutes when Caldwell, under pressure, turned in a low cross at the near post.

Ireland almost equalised when Denise O'Sullivan just failed to connect with a low cross from Sara Lawlor. They upped their performance after the break, and O'Sullivan went close before Campbell hit the crossbar with a free-kick from 35 metres.

Just before that, goalkeeper Emma Byrne showed all her experience on her 100th appearance to deny Izabela Lojna in a one-on-one situation. Ireland spurned several more chances before, four minutes into injury-time, they forced the equaliser.

Manager Sue Ronan said: "It was the second half before we really got to grips with the game. At that point the Croats were happy to kill the game by committing cynical fouls and time-wasting at every opportunity"

Croatia – D Bacic , K Nevrkla, V Zlosa (H Hercigonja Moulton), A-L Scurich, M Jošcak, V Baban, K Kolar (K Šundov 67), I Landeka, I Lojna (A-M Kalamiza 83), G Gaiser, S Žigic.

Ireland – Emma Byrne (capt); Sophie Perry, Yvonne Tracy, Diane Caldwell, Megan Campbell; Meabh De Burca (Aine O'Gorman 58), Shannon Smyth, Ruesha Littlejohn, Julie Ann Russell; Sara Lawlor (Dora Gorman 46), Denise O'Sullivan.

Ref – K Grigoryan (Armenia).

Irish Independent

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