UEFA European U21 Championships Qualifier Report: Republic of Ireland 0 - 0 ItalyThu, Oct 10 2019
Brendan Graham reports from Tallaght Stadium
Ireland remain in charge of their European Championship qualifying group after playing out a battling 0-0 draw with Italy in front of a record crowd for an under-21 fixture at Tallaght Stadium.
Both sides playted the final half-hour with ten men as Everton striker Moise Kean was shown a straight red card, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Troy Parrott a second yellow, after clashing in midfield.
It was quite a cagey start from both sides in front of a crowd of more than 7,000 with both sets of players happy to sit back and settle into the game
The first chance of the game fell to Italy with five minutes on the clock. Gianluca Scamacca received the ball on the edge of the box but the midfielder cleared the crossbar, rushing his effort when he had a lot more time on the ball.
Scamacca was allowed plenty of time with his next effort a few minutes later, curling a free kick inches wide of Caoimhin Kelleher’s post after a heavy tackle from Parrott earned the Spurs man the first booking of the game.
Ireland were very conservative in the early stages of the first half, sitting inside their own half and inviting Italy onto them.
Italy should have taken the lead after 15 minutes when Andrea Pinamonti guided a superb cross from Luca Pellegrini towards the bottom corner with his head only for it to inch past the post.
The chance was a real wake up call for the home side and acted as a real catalyst for Ireland as they looked to settle into the game.
In the minutes that followed they began pushing forward and asking real questions of the Italians with Parrott and Jayson Molumby going close with chances.
A ball over the top from Kelleher found its way straight through to Adam Idah close to goal and the Norwich striker showed fantastic strength to hold up the ball as he waited for support down the wings.
Parrott was first to arrive alongside Idah who picked up the short side pass from his strike partner before cutting inside and unleashing an effort towards goal.
Goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi watched it all the way and saved well from Parrott low to his near post.
Moments later, Ireland had Italy on the back foot once more stringing together a fantastic attacking move with the lively Idah heavily involved once again.
Idah picked up the ball with his back to goal and did well to hold off Alessandro Bastoni before finding Connor Ronan with a ball across the box.
Ronan took a great touch before driving a low shot towards goal which had Carnesecchi scrambling but composed.
Carnesecchi, at full stretch, managed to tip the shot away with his fingertips and clear of any danger.
The first half wasn’t strewn with chances but the chances that did evolve for either side were meaningful.
With 35 minutes on the clock Ireland defender Dara O’Shea had to be at his best and that he was in denying Pinamonti from giving Italy the lead.
The Italian striker wound up up for a header from a Manuel Locatelli cross but the solid O’Shea was in no mood to give the striker any chance of testing Kelleher clearing the ball away with a brave header timed to perfection.
The sides went in level at the break to a good reception with the home supporters satisfied with the opening 45 minutes.
Italy coach Paulo Nicolato decided to try something different for the second half, introducing Everton player Moise Kean and Wolves striker Patrick Cutrone as they looked to break the deadlock
It was Ireland who began the second half the brighter with Caoimhin Kelleher’s top class distribution on display once more.
Kelleher began Ireland’s first attack of the second half with a long range kick out straight to the feet of Adam Idah close to the opposition box.
Idah caused Italy problems all night and he showed great awareness once again to look up and find Parrott in the box and in space but the Spurs striker ended the attack with a tame effort.
The Ireland players were looking comfortable and confident anytime they managed to get the ball around the middle of the pitch and showed they were more than capable of holding their own against top opposition
Things took a bizarre twist with just under half an hour remaining when Kean received a straight red card for raising his hand to the face of Parrott.
The man in the middle then proceeded to show Parrott his second yellow card and send the young striker off.
Parrott and the entire Ireland back room team completely baffled as to why their player had also been shown a yellow card.
An extremely unpopular decision around the ground with those in the stand concluding that it was either for Parrott’s slight nudge on Kean in an attempt to take the ball back after winning his free or for his delayed take to the ground after contact was made with his face.
The referee wasn’t finished yet and came to the sideline to show Ireland coach Keith Andrews a yellow card for his remonstrations.
Stephen Kenny soon introduced Michael Obafemi into the fray who made an extremely positive impact for the remainder of the half.
His lightening pace down the left wing caused the tiring Claud Adjapong major problems any time he received the ball in Italy’s half and he linked up well with Idah as they tried to catch Italy on the break.
A much more reserved Italian side in the second half looked to nick a late winner when Frattesi picked up a ball played over the top by midfielder Locatelli.
A perfectly-timed tackle from Conor Masterson allowed the Ireland defense to clear the call away from danger and ensure they would share the points.
Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher; Liam Scales, Conor Masterson,, Dara O’Shea; Zachary Elbouzedi, Jason Molumby (Gavin Kilkenny 85) Conor Coventry, Connor Ronan (Jason Knight 62), Lee O’Connor; Troy Parrott, Adam Idah
Subs not used: Gavin Bazunu (gk), Kameron Ledwidge, Daniel Mandroiu, Nathan Collins, Jack Taylor, Simon Power
Booked: Troy Parrott (12, 64) Jayson Molumby (43), Connor Ronan (43), Conor Coventry (50), Adam Idah (55).
Sent off: Troy Parrott (64).
Italy: Marco Carnesechhi; Enrico Del Prato, Alessandro Bastoni, Riccardo Marchizza (Claud Adjapong 22), Luca Pellegrini; Manuel Locatelli, Sandro Tonalli, Marco Carraro (Riccardo Sottil 65), Davide Frattesi, Andrea Pinamonti (Patrick Cutrone 45), Gianluca Scamacca (Moise Kean 45)
Subs not used: Alessandro Plizari (gk), Luca Ranieri, Niccolo Zanellato, Giulio Maggiore, Marco Sala
Booked: Sandro Tonali (43), Allesandro Bastoni (45+1).
Sent off: Moise Kean (64)
Referee: Sascha Stegemann
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Adam Idah (Republic of Ireland).