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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 23 May, 2018
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Jack Byrne's free-kick sets up opening goal for Ireland U21s against Italy

An own goal from Lorenzo Rosseti gave Noel King’s side the upper hand but the Italians soon took control.

Republic of Ireland players celebrate the opening goal Ireland celebrate their opening goal. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

THE REPUBLIC OF Ireland faced Italy this evening at the RSC in Waterford in an important qualifier for the 2017 European U21 Championships.

Midway through the campaign, Noel King’s side were in fourth place in Group 2, four points behind the Italians, three behind Slovenia (but with a game in hand) and one adrift of Serbia.

Ireland took the lead in the 16th minute of tonight’s game — which was broadcast live on Setanta Ireland — when a free kick from Manchester City’s Jack Byrne (currently on loan at Cambuur in Holland) was turned into his own net by Lorenzo Rosseti — a Juventus striker who’s on loan at Serie B outfit Cesena.

Goal

Oxford United’s Callum O’Dowda went close to doubling Ireland’s lead shortly afterwards but his effort went narrowly wide of the far post of 17-year-old AC Milan goalkeeper  Gianluigi Donnarumma.

An Italian equaliser seemed inevitable, however, and it came courtesy of a sublime finish from Torino midfielder Marco Benassi in the 28th minute.

Ita

Rosetti then made amends for his earlier error to put Italy ahead with a powerful header 10 minutes before the break.

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In the 58th minute, AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli scored Italy’s third.

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Irish captain Darragh Lenihan scored an own goal in the 81st minute to put Italy 4-1 up and that’s how it ended.

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Paul Dollery

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