Misfiring Ireland held in opening U-19 qualifier
Ireland U-19 0 Azerbaijan U-19 0
Ireland finished with ten men and a task on their hands to reach the elite phase of the UEFA qualifiers after drawing a blank against Azerbaijan.
Tom Mohan's team controlled yesterday's group opener at the Waterford RSC for the vast majority and carved out several openings but sloppy finishing and an inspired goalkeeping performance from Murad Popov puts them in a spot of bother.
Anthony Scully and Thomas Byrne both missed glaring chances to nick the victory for the Boys in Green.
To regain their prospects of securing one of the two berths from the pool into the next stage, Ireland will hope to beat a Cyprus side who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Serbia in last night's other group match.
Ireland head into that next fixture on Saturday without the influential defender Canice Carroll after the Oxford United first-teamer collected two bookings in the final 15 minutes of a frustrating day for the Irish.
Irrespective of the outcome against the Cypriots, Ireland may need something from their final outing with the classy Serbs to ensure their passage.
IRELAND - M Travers (Weymouth); T Wilson (Manchester City), D O'Shea (Hereford), C Carroll (Oxford), L O'Connor (Manchester Utd); J Doherty (Sheffield Utd), D McKenna (Wolves); R O'Sullivan (Worthing), J Molumby (Brighton), A Scully (West Ham); T Byrne (Drogheda Utd). Subs: K Flanagan (Crystal Palace) for O'Sullivan (42), M Obafemi (Southampton) for Scully (71), J Afolabi (Southampton) for Byrne (89)