An own goal and the late Ross Tierney winner helped Jim Crawford’s side win.
Ireland Under-21s came out on top this afternoon against the Australian Olympic (Under-23) in Marbella, winning 2-1 thanks to the late Ross Tierney winner.
There were six changes to Ireland’s squad after losing 2-0 to Switzerland Under-21 last Sunday. Andy Lyons, Gavin Kilkenny, Connor Nose, Jonathan Afolabi, Will Ferri and Luca Connell all came into the starting XI, starting on the bench in the previous fixture.
There wasn’t much to discuss from an Irish point of view in the first half. The flow of the half was too much of a stop-start, but Australia undoubtedly had better opportunities.
Panos Armenakas came closest in the first half, hitting the post from inside the box, which certainly would have been an opener if it had been a few inches to the right.
Australia had a few other half chances, none of which really bothered St Pat’s player Brian Maher in Ireland’s goal.
The first half ended without a score, which was a scary contest till that time.
Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi looked isolated throughout the half, as a result of which his replacement was likely to go in the second half, came Rotherham United frontman JJ Kayod, who started against Switzerland.
The noticeable changes from the resumption were immediate, with Ireland playing with more intensity and urgency as well as looking more confident in possession of the ball.
His new confidence secured the opening in the 57th minute. After some good work from Ireland, Australian defender Jay Rich put the ball into his net. The combination of a dangerous low cross from Connor Nose and the emerging presence of JJ Coyode behind him forced the defender to put a leg out which ended up in the back of the net.
Ireland’s two best players against Switzerland, Ryan Johansson and Tyreek Wright, came on for Gavin Kilkenny and Louis Watson a few minutes later.
Johansson’s quality on the ball was immediately apparent, but his work on the ball could very well have resulted in another Ireland goal. His pressure caused momentary panic for the Australians’ keeper, but he managed to get it off his feet just before Johansson went off and potentially scored his first goal for Ireland.
There was a water break around the 70-minute mark, and probably one that Ireland could do without. The Irish side switched off after the break and a lapse in concentration allowed Australia to steal the ball, before Remy Najarian put the ball in the top left corner, with Brian Maher doing nothing about it.
Bohemians man Ross Tierney came a few minutes later and his contribution must have been telling. After some brilliant running from the left side by Tyreek Wright and a pinpoint cross, Boehs’ man put the finishing touches at the top of the net with a bullet header. It was Tierney’s first touch as an Ireland under-21 player, and what a touch it proved to be.
Ireland won the game 2–1 after the late winner of Tierney. Although just a friendly match, this result will give the Under-21s confidence going into their final game against Denmark’s Under-21s on Saturday.
Ross Tierney heads into Tyreek Wright’s cross for a dramatic late winner for Ireland! 😱🇮🇪
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) 2 June 2021
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