Thursday 19 April 2018

King's troops put to sword by German masterclass

Ireland U-21 0 Germany U-21 4

Noel King's side were put to the sword by the Germans
Noel King's side were put to the sword by the Germans

IRELAND'S U-21s suffered a similar German home humbling to their senior counterparts in Sligo.

Shackling a visiting side that featured two players with first-team experience at Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund was always going to be a huge task for the Irish in this European Championship qualifier.

What unfolded, however, was a German masterclass that resulted in the heaviest defeat of Noel King's three-year tenure.

A bright start made by the hosts, with the lively Aidan O'Brien causing plenty of problems, was stopped in its tracks on 12 minutes by the breakthrough goal after Germany's first attack.

Moritz Lietner completely caught Ireland goalkeeper Aaron McCarey out with a thunderous 30-yard strike that flew beneath his grasp and into the net.

Despite that setback, Ireland's responded well and should have reflected their best spell of the game with an equaliser.

On 16 minutes, O'Brien glanced a free header wide; then a gilt-edged opening was squandered four minutes later when Samir Carruthers blazed his volley over.


Such missed chances are most costly against top-class opposition, as Germany proved by striking twice in the space of three minutes to kill off the tie.

Erik Durm's 22nd-minute downfield punt was misjudged by Anthony O'Connor, whose attempted clearance sailed over the head of the advancing McCarey. On hand to head into an empty net was German captain Kevin Volland.

Volland again outsmarted O'Connor shortly after by dashing to the near post to connect with a teasing left-wing cross from Amin Younes for the third.

One bright spot for King was the performance of interval substitute Connor Smith. The Watford man drew a superb save out of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen on the hour from his 30-yard pile-driver.

Sadly for Ireland, that was as busy as it got for the Barcelona target between the sticks.

Losing Carruthers a minute later to a second booking, for a lunge on substitute Leonardo Bittencourt, didn't help Ireland's prospects of collecting a consolation.

Instead, the powerful visitors broke at the other end six minutes from time to grab number four, Phillip Hoffman swivelling in the box to lash the ball past McCarey.

IRELAND – A McCarey; M Harriman, S Duffy, A O'Connor, S McGinty; M Doherty, C Reilly (J Grealish 77); S Murray, S Carruthers, A Forde (C Smith 46); A O'Brien (G Burke 82)

GERMANY – M Ter Stegen; E Durm, A Rudiger, S Mustafi, M Vitzthum; M Lietner (R Knoche 74), A Younes (P Hoffman 66), L Goretzka; J Hofmann (L Bittencourt 46), K Volland, N Schulz

Ref – D Vuckov (Cro)

Irish Independent

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