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04.05.2008 at 16:00 Mardan Stadium ,Antalya Attendance: 500
France 2 - 1 Rep of Ireland
Referee: Gediminas Mazeika (LTU) European Finals / PROG T/S-match

Yannis Tafer 65 mins;
Alexandre Lacazette 80+3
Paul Murphy-91 (37)
Opening squads
Anthony Mfa Mezui
André Auras
Sébastien Fauré
Gaël Kakuta
Gueida Fofana
Enzo Reale
Gilles Sunu
Löic Nego
Thimothée Kolodziecziak
Clément Grenier
Yannis Tafer
Gerard Hanley
Gavin Gunning
Daniel Joyce
Pauric Ormsby
Mark Connolly
Aaron Doran
Gearoid Morrissey
Conor Clifford
Robert Brady
Greg Cunningham
Paul Murphy-91
Jeffrey Baltus
Joël Adegoroye
William Remy
Yannis Salibur
Alexandre Lacazette
Willy Boly
Gavin Carlin
Shaun Timmins
John Sullivan
Darragh Satelle
Clément Grenier (out)
Yannis Salibur (in) 54 mins;
Gilles Sunu (out)
Alexandre Lacazette (in)59 mins;
André Auras (out)
William Remy (in)65 mins;
John Sullivan -> Paul Murphy-91 (41)
Darragh Satelle -> Robert Brady (49)
Shaun Timmins -> Aaron Doran (73)
Yellow cards
Enzo Reale 32 mins;
Yannis Salibur 70 mins;
Pauric Ormsby (54)
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report

Irish squad with backroom staff
Pictures from the match
France 2 Republic of Ireland 1 (Paul Murphy 37 mins)
Tafer (64 mins);Lacazette (80 mins)

The Republic of Ireland raised hopes of a vital win over France in the opening match of the UEFA U17 European Championship final tournament in the Mardan Stadium, Antalya, in Turkey today when they led 1-0 at half-time.

But a resurgent French team scored twice in the final 16 minutes of the match to inflict a narrow defeat on the Irish in an exciting match that was played in searing heat as the temperature rose to more than 30 degrees.

The referee indicated that he would play three extra minutes after the elapse of the 80 minutes - at this level matches are played over two halves of 40 minutes. The clock showed that an extra three minutes and four seconds had been played when France scored their second goal.

Ireland now face a huge task against Switzerland and the reigning champions, Spain, if they are to claim one of the top two places in Group B of the Championship finals and go on to the knock-out semi-finals.

The Irish will play Switzerland on Wednesday and Spain on Saturday next and they will be hoping that some of the players whose involvement against France was curtailed by illness and injury will be available.

Afterwards Ireland’s manager, Sean McCaffrey, was generous in his praise of France who were fully extended in overcoming a spirited and well-organised Ireland.

“I have no wish to make excuses” he said, “France are a good team. They came at us strongly in the second half and created their share of scoring chances.

“Some of our players settled in very quickly and performed brilliantly but one or two failed to strike their top form. You must expect that but overall I believe we would have deserved to come away with something from the match.”

Ireland fielding without the injured John Dunleavy, suspended Conor Horihane and sick Richie Towell had the better of the opening half and were boosted by a superbly taken goal in the 37th minute. Ireland’s left-back, Gavin Gunning, was level with the 18 yards line when he launched a throw-in to Greg Cunningham.

Cunningham took the ball on his chest and turned sharply to lose his marker and cross low for Paul Murphy to finish with aplomb with a delightful touch as he turned the ball in at speed with his instep from six yards.

The goal reflected the edge that Ireland enjoyed in the opening half. They forced the pace of the game and with Robbie Brady playing with skill and incisiveness on Ireland’s left wing they had the French at full stretch.

Aaron Doran epitomised the confidence that was surging through the Irish side when he produced an audacious scoring attempt from a free fully 40 yards out in the 25th minute. The French goalkeeper had difficulty in deflecting the ball over the crossbar.

The French gave plenty of evidence of the quality in their side and they were always a threat. They created a great chance from a corner in the 33rd minute played in by Kakuta to Fofana. The French captain made a poor attempt when he headed wide after escaping his marker, much to the relieve of the Irish.

Ireland’s defence held firm under the French threat with a magnificent display from full-backs Padraic Ormsby and Gavin Gunning. Centre-backs Mark Connolly and Danny Joyce - who was making his Under 17 debut - dealt capably with the work that came their way while goalkeeper Ger Hanley looked totally in command.

The second half saw France grow in confidence and they created a growing number of chances. Auras attempted a volley in the 46th minute that flew high and wide but they maintained pressure on the Irish defence for periods and goalkeeper Ger Hanley was obliged to work hard.

Auras played caught the Irish defence with a clever lob that saw Sunu racing clear but he was denied by the alert Hanley whho raced out of his goal to slide in for a great save.

The Salthill Devon goalkeeper was put under pressure again on 62 minutes with Salibur driving a shot from 25 yards. Hanley reacted quickly making a dive to the right to keep the ball out.

This period of pressure from the French paid dividends when they equalised in the 64th minute. French attacker, Tafer, made a great run through to Irish defence taking a composed shot from 18 yards, placing it beyond Hanley’s outstretched left hand.

France continued to create a number of chances with three shots wide within a couple of minutes. Lacazette and Salibur both attempted shots from 25 yard but failed to hit the target while Kakuta lobbed a shot over the bar seconds later.

Ireland were not without chances themselves but their prospects were not helped when the dangerous Robbie Brady was forced off in the 49th minute. He had received treatment for an injury to his hip flexor muscle in the lead-up to the game and was forced to withdraw when he suffered a recurrence of the injury.

Ireland battled hard to defend the point they would have deserved but their gallant effort was doomed to failure when Gunning, for once, failed to get in an effective clearance. The ball fell kindly for Lacazette who scored in the 80th minute with a powerful volley.

Manager Sean McCaffrey said he was hopeful that Brady and Towell would be recovered in time to be considered for Wednesday’s match against Switzerland. Conor Hourihane (Sunderland), who missed the game against France because of suspension, will also be available.

“We have to put this disappointment behind us now and look ahead” said McCaffrey, “The loss of Robbie Brady did not help our cause, he was having a wonderful game, but we have got to work on issues that arose in the course of the match and put these lessons to good effect on Wednesday.”

Republic of Ireland:
Ger Hanley (Salthill Devon), Padraic Ormsby (Crumlin United), Danny Joyce (Belvedere), Mark Connolly (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Gavin Gunning (Blackburn Rovers), Conor Clifford (Chelsea), Gearoid Morrisey (Ringmahon Rangers), Aaron Doran (Blackburn Rovers), Paul Murphy (Ipswich Town), Robbie Brady (Manchester United), Greg Cunningham(Manchester City)

Substitutes: Shaun Timmons (Birmingham City) for Doran 72 mins; John Sullivan (Crumlin United) for Murphy 41 mins; Darragh Satelle (Hull City) for Brady 49 mins.

France: Anthony Mfa Mezui, Sebastien Faure, Gueida Fofana, Thimothee Kolodziecziak, Loic Nego, Enzo Reale, Andre Auras, Gael Kakuta, Clement Grenier, Yannis Tafer, Gilles Sunu.
Substitutes: Yannis Salibur for Clement Grenier 54; Alexande Lacazette for Sunu 59.


Turkey 3 - 0 Netherlands
Serbia 2 - 0 Scotland

France 2 - 1 Republic of Ireland
Spain 2 - 1 Switzerland


Group B

7th May 2008
Republic of Ireland v Switzerland (4pm, local time - 2pm Irish time)

10th May 2008
Republic of Ireland v Spain (7pm, local time - 5pm Irish time).

From UEFA Website
Substitute Alexandre Lacazette lashed home a long-range shot in the final minute to earn France an opening-day victory against Republic of Ireland in Group A.

Tough going
Temperatures of around 35C in Antalya made the going tough for both sides on the opening day of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Antalya, Turkey, but it was France who found the extra piece of class to win the game late on. Paul Murphy had earlier opened the scoring for the Irish but Yannis Tafer's effort after 65 minutes restored parity before Lacazette's late winner.

Good defending
Robert Brady and Aaron Doran on the Irish flanks offered some early threats to the France defence but Francis Smerecki's charges responded in kind as the first half ticked on. However, Clément Grenier, Enzo Reale and Gilles Sunu all found the Irish defence hard to unpick, with Mark Connolly in particular giving the small band of Irish supporters a display of his potential.

Opening goal
Having soaked up that pressure, the Irish took the lead 37 mninutes into the first 40-minute period. Gregory Cunningham gathered the ball on the left and crossed for Murphy in the penalty effort with his fierce effort giving Anthony Mfa Mezui in the France goal no chance. However, France had a chance to level before the break with Gerard Hanley saving captain Gueida Fofana's shot.

Pressure mounting
France emerged revived after the interval, and Thimothée Kolodziecziak shot narrowly wide before Sunu tested Hanley in the Irish goal again. With the pressure mounting, and Gaël Kakuta marshalling the French offensive, Tafer dribbled through the Irish defence to level the scored after 65 minutes, before Lacazette – who had come on for Sunu – settled matters at the death.
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