Tuesday 16 January 2018

Heartbreak for under 19s

The Republic of Ireland under 19s missed a penalty as they lost their opening UEFA Championship Elite Phase Group 4 qualifier against Portugal in cruel fashion last night in Olhao when they conceded a last-gasp own goal.

After Ireland had dominated, Portugal broke down the right three minutes from time and Esgaio's cross was turned into his own net by substitute Michael Barker.

Portugal's Rafael Veloso saved Anthony Forde's 10th minute spot-kick, not once but twice after a re-take was ordered after the 'keeper advanced off his line.

With only the top team advancing to the finals, Paul Doolin's charges require six points from the games against Ukraine and Israel over the next fives days while praying that the Portuguese slip up.

Portugal: Veloso; Ferreira, Olori, Martins, Ca; Bruma, Joao Mario, Esgaio, Cancelo; To-Ze, Cafu. Subs: Gomes for Cafu, Betinho for To-Ze (both 64), Edgar Ie for Olori (70).

Ireland: S McDermott (Arsenal); C Morrissey (Trieste), N Byrne (Rochdale), D Williams (A Villa), B Garmston (West Brom); S Carruthers (A Villa), J O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovs), F Sutherland (QPR); S Murray (Watford), A O'Brien (Millwall), A Forde (Wolves). Subs: M Barker (Bohemians) for Morrissey (h/t), S Kavanagh (Fulham) for Garmston (76).

Referee: A Boucaut (Belgium).

England fret over Barry

England launched the Roy Hodgson era in positive fashion with victory over Norway via Ashley Young's goal, but midfielder Gareth Barry gave them an injury scare.

Young earned England their first win over the Norwegians since 1980 with a clinical finish after only nine minutes of this Oslo friendly. But half-time substitute Barry lasted only 26 minutes before making way for standby player Jordan Henderson.

After nine minutes the sharp-looking Young broke the deadlock. Andy Carroll, making his first England start for 14 months, played the ball to the Manchester United winger, who turned past Norway skipper Brede Hangeland before firing a low shot past Rune Almenning Jarstein into the far corner of the net.

Hodgson gave debuts to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Martin Kelly in the closing stages -- as replacements for Young and Phil Jones respectively -- as England held on with relative ease for the 1-0 victory in warm conditions.

Swiss shock weak Germans

Switzerland stunned Euro 2012 contenders Germany 5-3 in an entertaining friendly in Basel yesterday with Eren Derdiyok grabbing a hat-trick against a makeshift German defence.

The visitors, missing more than half their usual starting line-up with eight Bayern Munich players only joining the squad last night, looked a long way from being ready to challenge for their first major trophy since 1996.

Poor defensive organisation, a lack of their usual offensive spark and a sloppy passing game caused Germany to slump to their biggest defeat by Switzerland since their first clash in 1908 ended in the same result.

Huddersfield hold nerve

Huddersfield held their nerve in a gripping penalty shoot-out to climb back into the Championship for the first time since 2001 after a goalless 120 minutes at Wembley.

Sheffield United goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, who had kept his side in the game with three top-class saves in normal time and two more in the shoot-out, missed the decisive spot-kick as Huddersfield clinched victory in the League One play-off final 8-7 on penalties after the sides had finished scoreless after extra time.

Huddersfield's Tommy Miller, Blades midfielder Lee Williamson, Town's Damien Johnson and United defender Matt Lowton all failed with their penalties, while Blades substitute Andy Taylor hit the post.

It was cruel on Danny Wilson's Blades, who have now lost four play-off finals after defeats in the Championship in 1997, 2003 and 2009, but Huddersfield created most of the chances and deserved their victory.

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