Soccer Scene

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18.11.2009 at 15:00 Olimpico Serravale - Serravalle Attendance:
Italy 2 - 0 Rep of Ireland Under 19
Referee: Maxim Layushkin (RUS) European Qualifier-match

Destro 62, 64 mins; None.
Opening squads
1 Simone Colombi
2 Alessandro Crescenzi
3 Luca Caldirola
4 Max Taddei
6 Michelangelo Albertazzi
7 Jacopo Sala
8 Luca Tremolada
9 Mattia Destro
14 Cristian Galano
15 Andrea Adamo
18 Nicola Sansone
Gerard Hanley
Gavin Gunning
Andy Boyle
John Egan
Conor Henderson
Richard Towell
Aaron Doran
Stephen Mc Donnell
Greg Cunningham
Gearoid Morrissey
James Keohane
12 Luigi Sepe
5 Riccardo Brosco
10 Cardoso Dumitru
11 Marco D'Alessandro
13 Andrea Grieco
16 Gianmarco Zigoni
17 Andrea Bertolacci
Ciaran Gallagher
Shane Mc Eleney
Joe Mason
Jamil Adam
Cristian Galano (out)
Marco D'Alessandro (in)46 Mins;
Mattia Destro (out)
Gianmarco Zigoni (in)81 Mins;
Max Taddei (out)
Andrea Bertolacci (in)89 Mins;
Jamil Adam -> James Keohane (46)
Joe Mason -> John Egan (70)
Shane Mc Eleney -> Aaron Doran (77)
Yellow cards
Sansone 38 mins;
D'A;essandro 52 mins;
Tremol;ada 60 mins;
Adamo 77 mins;
Jamil Adam (90)
Red cards
None Gavin Gunning (73)
Other statistics
7 Shots 16
0 Shots on goal 0
1 Offsides 3
11 Corner kicks 3
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
Two second half goals in the space of three minutes by Italy inflicted the first defeat on Ireland at the U19 UEFA Championship first phase qualifiers in San Marino today.

Following wins for both nations against San Marino and Albania in their opening two matches, this game would decide which one of the two qualifiers would go through as group victors.

Ireland were missing a number of players for this match including captain Conor Clifford, who was promoted to the Under-21 for yesterday's game in Armenia, along with injury-victims Conor Hourihane and Ronan Murray.

Despite those absences, Sean McCaffrey's side settled well and fashioned the better chances in the first half.

Midway through the half, Stephen McDonnell forced a great save from the Italian goalkeeper with a shot from outside of the box. Greg Cunningham might have had a penalty when he was bundled over on 35 minutes and Ireland had the ball in the net as the half entered stoppage time through John Egan but the effort was ruled out.

Aaron Doran, who opened the scoring against Albania on Sunday, was presented with a clearcut chance to fire Ireland ahead five minutes into the second half but his shot just cleared the crossbar.

Italy began to respond and, five minutes after having a goal disallowed for offside, they grabbed the lead on 62 minutes when Mattia Destro completed a passing move with a sublime finish.

Ireland barely had time to react when they found themselves further behind. Destro reacted quickest to a long ball down the field and guided a shot past goalkeeper Ger Hanley for 2-0.

Striker Joe Mason was brought from the bench to spearhead the Irish attack for the final 20 minutes but their prospects of pulling a goal back received a set-back when defender Gavin Gunning was given a straight red card for what appeared to be dissent.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Ger Hanley (Galway United); Richie Towell (Celtic), Gavin Gunning (Blackburn Rovers), Andy Boyle (UCD), John Egan (Sunderland); Aaron Doran (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen McDonnell (Celtic), Gearoid Morrissey (Blackburn Rovers), Conor Henderson (Arsenal); Greg Cunningham (Man City), James Keohane (Wexford Youths).

Substitutes: Jamil Adam (Barnsley) for Keohane (h/t), Joe Mason (Plymouth Argyle) for Egan (71 mins), Shane McEleney (Derry City) for Doran (76 mins).

U19 UEFA Championship First Phase Qualifier - San Marino

Friday, November 13
Republic of Ireland 5-0 San Marino

Sunday, November 15
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Albania

Wednesday, November 18
Republic of Ireland 0-2 Italy.

The 2008 runners-up Italy clinched first place in UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying Group 1 with victory against runners-up the Republic of Ireland on the section's final day, Albania edging out San Marino for third place.

Five-goal flourishes
The pattern of the group was set from the outset, the frontrunners each recording 5-0 victories in the opening round of matches. Substitute Gianmarco Zigoni scored twice in the closing stages to add to earlier goals from Cardoso Dumitru, Marco D'Alessandro and Mattia Destro as Italy overcame Albania at the Stadio Olimpico Serravale. Joe Mason also found the net twice in Ireland's victory against the hosts San Marino, the other goals coming from Conor Henderson, Jamil Adam and James Keohane.

Contrasting wins
Zigoni was on target again on Matchday 2, although Italy had to wait until the 71st minute for Cristian Brolli's own goal to break the deadlock against San Marino. AC Milan's Zigoni swiftly added a second, Destro contributing two more in the closing stages. Ireland also made sure of progress with a 2-0 defeat of Albania, who lost Alvaro Bishaj to a red card in conceding the penalty from which Aaron Doran gave Ireland a 56th-minute lead, Henderson confirming the win six minutes from time.

Destro double
Italy and Ireland therefore met in Serravalle with the Azzurrini needing only a point to finish first. In the event, two Destro goals in three minutes just past the hour ensured Massimo Pisceda's team would maintain their perfect record. Albania, meanwhile, claimed third place thanks to a 4-1 defeat of San Marino, Bekim Bala scoring twice and Armando Vajushi and Erti Koni getting one apiece.
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