UEFA U19 European Championships Report: Republic of Ireland U19 0 - 1 France U19Thu, Jul 18 2019
The Republic of Ireland will have to overcome the Czech Republic on Sunday afternoon should they harbour any hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the Under-19 European Championships in Armenia following defeat to France on Thursday.
Wilson Isidor’s late header was enough to secure victory for the French despite a valiant Irish defensive effort against the tournament favourites.
France, led by Lionel Rouxel, dominated for much of the early part of the game with Charles Abi of St Etienne going close early on with a header but he was unable to keep his effort down.
St Patrick’s Athletic under-19 shot-stopper Brian Maher was then forced into action when a cross-turned-shot from striker Alexander Flips had to be tipped over the bar for a corner.
Mark McGuinness was then caught in possession by the lively Abi moments later, but the Arsenal defender’s blushes were spared by a defensive block as Maher then picked up the danger comfortably.
In a similar vein to the opening game against Norway, the Boys in Green grew into the game with midfielder Joe Hodge impressing with his vision, finding forward Jonathan Afolabi before the danger was eventually cleared moments after.
The Boys in Green grew into proceedings, but they were forced to stave off a French wave of attacks late on in the half with Maher proving his worth in tonnes.
Bridge Ndilu, the Stade Lavallois youngster, forced Maher to tip a curling effort over the bar which resulted in a corner. From the resulting set-piece the ball fell at the edge of the area to defender Oumar Solet, but his effort was blocked by Ndilu.
However, the moment of the half came with seconds to go as the 18-year-old Maher incredibly tipped the lively Ndilu’s effort wide of goal – with the effort firing through a raft of Irish bodies as the game remained scoreless at the break.
While the opening half saw plenty of dogged defensive work from Tom Mohan’s side, the second half saw Ireland grow into the game even if they had to defend resiliently at times early on.
Afolabi almost caught French ‘keeper Stefan Bajic off guard minutes on the hour with his speculative long-range drive just going wide from behind the half-way line.
Afolabi went even closer moments after as he was fed in by sub Barry Coffey to engineer a one-on-one with Bajic, but the powerful striker was unable to make his chance count with the French keeper turning wide.
While Mohan’s young guns enjoyed a fine start to the half, they almost fell behind with just a quarter of an hour to play as Manchester United youngster Lee O’Connor was forced to scramble Yanis Begraoui’s header off the line.
However, Ireland were continually pinned back and dropped deeper as the telling goal arrived seven minutes from time through talented forward Wilson Isidor.
Isidor was found at the back post by full-back Pierre Kalulu after he cut inside to get past sub Tyriek Wilson to cross into the forward who made no mistake from close-range.
As time seeped away from the Boys in Green, desperation grew with a string of half-chances, but it was not to be in the end for Andy Lyons and co as a Sunday showdown against the Czech Republic awaits.
Republic of Ireland U19: Brian Maher; Kameron Ledwidge, Andy Lyons, Oisin McEntee, Mark McGuinness; Joe Hodge, Brandon Kavanagh (Barry Coffey, 64), Lee O'Connor; Jonathan Afolabi, Matt Everitt (Tyriek Wright, 76), Ali Reghba.
Subs not used: Ciaran Brennan, Festy Ebosele, Conor Grant, Jack James, George McMahon, Niall Morahan, Andrew Omobamidele.
France U19: Stefan Bajic; Benoit Badiashile, Pierre Kalulu, Théo Ndick Matam, Oumar Solet; Maxence Caqueret, Bridge Ndilu (Nathan Ngoumou, 78), Mathis Picouleau (Claudio Gomes, 68); Charles Abi (Wilson Isidor, 78), Alexis Flips, Julien Ponceau (Yanis Begraoui, 68).
Subs not used: Melvin Bard, Giuilian Biancone, Guillaume Dietsch, Jean Marcelin, Alexandre Philiponeau.
Referee: Kristo Tohver (Estonia).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Brian Maher (Republic of Ireland U19).
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