10.05.2015 at 16:00 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2 - 0
Rep of Ireland
Referee: Roy Reinshreiber (Israel)
Lo Faso 9 mins,
Mazzocchi 56 mins,
Corey O Keeffe
Tom Mohan's side conceded an early goal through Simone Lo Faso's ninth minute finish then despite long periods of domination the Irish were hit by a sucker punch to go 2-0 down to a Simone Mazzocchi finish in the 56th minute.
Ireland's first chance came in the fifth minute when Connor Ronan had the game's first shot from the edge of the box but it was comfortably saved by keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Four minutes later the Italians scored with their first meaningful attack. Lo Faso who cut in from the left side of the box, beat a couple of defenders and fired home. The move came after Patrick Cutrone unlocked the defence with a clever back-heel after good work by Gianluca Scamacca.
In the 18th minute the impressive Ronan worked his way through the Italian defence but his low strike lacked the venom to trouble the keeper.
In the 24th minute left-back JJ Lunney fired over a testing cross and Trevor Clarke headed over on the stretch from ten yards out.
Five minutes later Conor Levingston let fly from distance and but his shot lacked the direction to really threaten a goal.
Clarke had a chance again five minutes before the break when Ronan slipped him in but his low cross-shot was well dealt with by keeper Donnarumma.
Early in the second half Ireland really upped the pressure and an equaliser seemed on the cards. A clever pass from Zachary Elbouzedi just one minute after the restart sent through Jamie Aherne but he dragged his shot across the face of goal.
In the 51st minute excellent link-up play between Ronan and substitute Josh Barrett carved open the Italian defence but the striker's touch was too heavy and the keeper pounced on the loose ball.
It proved a pivotal moment as five minutes later Italy extended their lead. Sloppy Irish defending eventually saw the ball worked to Mazzocchi at the edge of the box and he fired in a low strike into the bottom corner.
Ireland continued to search for openings but the Italians defended doggedly. In the 75th minute Caoimhin Kelleher denied them a third goal when he saved a low strike from Edoardo Degl'Innocenti from inside the area.
The Irish face England in their final game in the group on Wednesday. This fixture will also be live on TG4. The Irish will need to win and look for the result of the Dutch game with Italy to work in their favour.
"We were very disappointed to lose the game as we played quite well for long periods of the game. You can't give a team like a goal lead then not take your chances when they come your way," said Mohan.
"There were some excellent individual displays but we were disappointed with the manner of the two goals we conceded.
"Obviously the challenge to qualify for the quarter-finals has got a lot more difficult now but we will face England on Wednesday looking to win the match and hope for the result in the other game to go our way."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Kelleher, O'Keeffe, Masterson, Leahy, Lunney, Agyei-Tabi, Levingston, Ronan, Elbouzedi (Barrett 49), Clarke (Scully 41), Aherne (Wade-Slater 72)
ITALY: Donnarumma, Scalera, Giraudo, Mattioli, Llamas, Melegoni, Locatelli, El Hilali, Lo Faso (Degl'Innocenti 70), Cutrone (Matarese 81), Scamacca (Mazzocchi 53).
FIXTURES & RESULTS
Thursday, May 7
Republic of Ireland 0-0 Netherlands, Sozopol Stadium, Sozopol (BUL)
Sunday, May 10
Republic of Ireland 0-2 Italy, Beroe, Stara Zagora (BUL)
Wednesday, May 13
England v Republic of Ireland, Beroe, Stara Zagora (BUL) (5.00pm Irish time - Live on TG4).
Ireland U17s go down to Italian defeat from Football Association of Ireland on Vimeo.