12.03.2007 at 15:30 Estadio Dr.Francisco Vieira – Silves
Susan Byrne (35)
Panico 18 mins,
Sara Gama 65 mins,
A battling Irish side were defeated 4-1 by Italy today in the Algarve Cup at the Estadio Dr.Francisco Vieira - Silves.
Noel King's Republic of Ireland women's side were defeated by a strong Italian side as they scored three goals in seven minutes after half time. The Irish put in a fantastic first half display, more than matching their Italian opponents on the field.
Irish defender, Susan Byrne scored a decisive header in the 35th minute to cancel out Panico's opener but the Italians came out stronger after half time and put three goals past Sarah Peters in the Irish goal to secure top place in Group C.
A full strength Italian side started very strongly and called Irish goalkeeper, Sarah Peters into the action early on as she palmed away a long range effort Italian captain, Panico with the rebounding ball cleared for a corner.
The Italians were ahead after 18 minutes when the imposing Italian captain intercepted a loose Irish ball in midfield; she found herself one on one with Peters in the Irish goal and slotted the ball past the keeper.
Panico, once again troubled the Irish defence with a long mazy run and ran through on Peters, the Irish keeper stood firm and denied the attacker from close range, Sharon Boyle was on hand to avert the danger.
The Irish were back in the game after 35 minutes, Diane Caldwell drifted in an inviting freekick into the Italian box and Irish Defender, Susan Byrne was on-hand to flick the ball over the despairing Italian goalkeeper.
The equalising goal spurred the Republic on and finished the half much stronger than the Italians, Noelle Murray, making her first start for the Irish, caused havoc on the left wing as her well-worked cross was deflected out to Marie Curtin who just shot over the bar.
The Italians wasted no time at the start of the second half, immediately, the Italian was again causing problems for the Irish defence, Panico’s powerful shot slammed off the post and luckily rebounded to the striker only for her effort to go tamely wide.
Peters was on-hand once again as Panico ran on to a clever through ball in the Irish Box, the Irish keeper was up to the challenge as the danger was cleared for a throw in.
The Irish defence worked tirelessly to keep the Italian attack at bay but eventually succumbed to that pressure when Italian substitute, Fuselli fired an unstoppable shot past Peters, off the under side of the crossbar, off the line and into the roof of the net.
Four minutes later, Italy made it 3-1, Panico drifted in a pin-point cross to Fuselli at the back post and her well placed header gave Peters no chance in the Irish goal.
Italy wrapped up the scoring in the 65th minute, Sara Gama made a bursting run through the Irish defence and her powerful strike was put beyond the reach of the out-stretching Peters.
Irish manager, Noel King was quite happy with his teams performance against Italy today, “I thought the girls worked really hard on the pitch, Italy are one of the top sides in the world and to push a team like that for a large period of the game takes a lot of effort and hard work, we more than matched the Italians throughout the game but for an amazing seven minutes of football when they scored three unstoppable goals.”
“On Wednesday, May 30th, we host Italy in Richmond in the UEFA Championships, we have seen what they can do and I’m looking forward to our girls pushing them all the way, which I am sure they are more than capable of,” he added.
The Republic of Ireland will now play in the 11th place play-off on Wednesday March 14th at 10.00 am and will be used as key preparation for Noel King’s side before the UEFA Championships Qualifier against Hungary on April 1st.
Republic of Ireland
Sarah Peters (Michigan Phoenix)
Sharon Boyle (Raheny United)
Marie Curtin (Hofstra University)
Diane Caldwell (Hofstra University)
Susan Byrne (St.Johns College)
Elaine O’Connor (Long Island Lady Riders)
Denise Thomas (Boston Renegades)
Michele O’Brien (Long Island Lady Riders
Aine O’Gorman (Stella Maris)
Noelle Murray (Raheny)
Laura Hislop (New Hampshire Phantoms)
Emma Byrne (Arsenal FC)
Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal FC)
Claire Scanlan (Bristol Academy FC) on for O'Connor, 82 Mins
Sonya Hughes (New Hampshire Franklin Pierce))
Niamh Fahey (Salthill Devon)
Alisha Moran (New York Athletic Club)
Olivia O’Toole (Raheny)
Ciara Grant (Arsenal FC)
Stephanie Curtis (Bristol Rovers)
Venue: Estadio Dr.Francisco Vieira - Silves