Monday 19 November 2018

Own-goal agony as Swiss roll Ireland in Turkey

Republic of Ireland 0 Switzerland 1

A dejected Robert Brady at full tme
A dejected Robert Brady at full tme

IRELAND suffered their second defeat of a disappointing UEFA U-17 Championships campaign as Switzerland triumphed through a heartbreaking Gavin Gunning own goal in Turkey yesterday afternoon.

Later on in the evening Ireland's chances of progressing from the group stages were terminated when a mini classic involving France and Spain that was sprinkled with a half dozen goals concluded in a draw.

The winning goal for the Swiss came nine minutes after the break when Steven Ukoh's clever free kick caused panic in the Ireland defence, and the otherwise effective Gunning's attempted clearance flew past Ger Hanley and into the net.

Switzerland had been the more composed outfit up until that point, and Ireland only really stirred themselves in the closing stages following the introduction of Robbie Brady.

The promising Manchester United youngster injected a dash of urgency into the team. And Ireland did have a late chance when Daniel Joyce lofted a pass towards Paul Murphy, who rifled a cross into the area for fellow replacement Darragh Satelle. However, Satelle's shot lacked power and went over.

Switzerland passed the ball with greater purpose in the early stages yesterday as Dina Rebronja and Admir Mehmedi both drilled shots wide.

Still, as the half evolved Ireland improved. Richie Towell and Conor Clifford were busy in midfield, attempting to steer their team into attacking areas, but the final ball often lacked quality. And while Ireland did show spirit to mount a late challenge, it was a fairly comfortable win for the Swiss.

Manager Sean McCaffrey accepted that Ireland lacked potency, adding that the player must take the lessons into the future.

"We didn't create enough chances overall. Switzerland were well organised, but we didn't deal with the ball into the box at the free-kick and we didn't play with enough tempo at times," he said. "There are some positives, and some of these lads have a great chance of going into the U-19 squad next year."

Republic of Ireland -- Hanley (Salthill Devon); Ormsby (Crumlin U), Connolly (Wolves), Joyce (Belvedere), Gunning (Blackburn R); Clifford (Chelsea), Towell (Celtic), Morrissey (Ringmahon Rgs), Hourihane (Sunderland); Doran (Blackburn), Cunningham (Man City). Subs: Murphy (Ipswich T) for Morrissey (8 ), Brady (Man Utd) for Hourihane (61), Satelle (Hull City) for Cunningham (78).

Switzerland -- Borkovic; Rochat, Koch, Lang, Daprela; Frey, Ukoh, Xhaka, Pasche; Rebronja, Mehmedi. Subs: Dung for Rebronja (78 mins), Shaqri for Pasche (80 mins).

REF -- K Libor (Czech Republic).

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