|12 November 2021
The Republic of Ireland U21’s suffered their second loss in Group F tonight, losing 2-0 to Italy in Tallaght.
Although Jim Crawford’s outfit had good passages in play, that little bit of difference in quality between the two sides was the difference, with Lorenzo Lucca grabbing a vital goal on the half hour mark.
Italy kept pressing, and found a second late on, with Matteo Cancellieri putting the issue beyond doubt.
Ireland started well and had a promising opening ten minutes. Tyreik Wright had a shot nearly go in, but Italian goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi was alert and tipped it over.
The visitors would soon settle. Emanuel Vignato and Samuele Ricci both had decent chances flash just wide.
The breakthrough came on the half hour mark. An Italian ball from the right was poorly dealt with by Jake O’Brien as he attempted to head clear a ball he should’ve used his feet to clear. He appeared to lose his footing and as the ball hit off him Lucca was on the spot to punish the error, finishing first time to give the Azzuri the lead.
Soon after, Vignato had another effort go just wide. Ricci continued to dominate the midfield and had another good chance to score. It remained one at the half however.
A minute into the second half, Italy nearly had a screamer. The ball sat up to Andrea Cambiaso outside the box who caught it on the volley first time. His effort just went off target, but if it had been on target there would’ve been nothing Brian Maher could’ve done.
Crawford would bring on JJ Kayode and Festy Ebosele to try bring some fresh legs to the side and a few minutes later also introduced Dawson Devoy and Ross Tierney. Late on in the game, it looked like two of the subs would combine to earn Ireland a point.
In the 88th minute, Tierney was played through by Ebosele, but Caleb Okoli intervened and nullified the chance. As good as a goal from the Atalanta man.
As the boys in green pushed for an equaliser, the Azzuri would finish it on the counter. A free from a Salvatore Esposito foul resulted in a brief spell Italy being camped deep, but the visitors eventually nicked the ball back.
One pass after regaining possession and all of a sudden late substitute Cancellieri was through on goal. He kept his head and made no mistake, eventually firing past Maher to seal it. The defeat leaves Ireland in a serious uphill battle for qualification.
|Tallaght Stadium, Whitestown Way, Tallaght, Dublin 24, D24 XC9W