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'A little bump on the road that we didn't expect' takes gloss off Barrett's excellent goal in Greece

The FC Köln striker scored her second international goal today – but was left disappointed afterwards.

AMBER BARRETT’S SECOND international goal was a one to take great pride in, but the Ireland striker was left with an overall feeling of disappointment afterwards because of the result.

barrett Amber Barrett celebrates her goal with Emily Whelan and Denise O'Sullivan. Source: Sportsfile/FAI Twitter.

A last-gasp Greece goal meant the sides’ Euro 2021 qualifier in Athens finished 1-1, as Anastasia Spyridonidou’s 93rd-minute finish cancelled out Barrett’s first-half offering. 

It also ended the Girls In Green’s perfect start to the campaign after two home wins over Montenegro and Ukraine. 

Vera Pauw’s side had the dream start in their first away qualifier, when FC Köln star Barrett found the back of the net with 12 minutes on the clock. A beautiful ball from captain Katie McCabe fell to the Donegal woman in the box, who in turn, lobbed the Greek keeper with her first touch.

The superb finish put Ireland in the driving seat as they looked to end 2019 on a high and make it three wins from three, but the heartbreaking equaliser at the death took the gloss off the goal.

Congratulated by RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue afterwards, Barrett was appreciative — but lamented the fact that this afternoon was ultimately a missed opportunity.

“Yeah, it was important for us,” the 23-year-old said of her opener. “We needed to get a good start, and I think we did. The only thing is I think we switched off a wee bit after that and it’s just a wee bit disappointing now to be honest.

Obviously it’s always an honour to score for your country but you like to be on the right side of the result. I know we didn’t lose but I think it’s definitely two points dropped today.

“If I tried that again I would say I’d hit it over the crossbar 10 times,” she continued when asked further about the goal, which added to her all-important winner against Slovakia in their 2019 World Cup qualifier last April.

“Look, I’m absolutely delighted. I’ve been waiting a long time to get myself back in the starting team. It’s never guaranteed here. I’ve worked very hard the last couple of years to get to this spot, I just need to push on now.

This result means there’s a huge few games coming up after Christmas, so more goals to come, hopefully.

Barrett, who made the move to Germany on her first professional deal this summer, was an unused substitute in both the Montengro and Ukarine games, but staked her claim today with a lively performance up top.

She looked sharp before making way for Stephanie Roche in the 83rd minute, going from scorer to provider of chances as Ireland were unlucky not to add to her opener.

“Yeah, I think that was our biggest problem,” Barrett frowned. “It’s different when you’re playing in Ireland or in your clubs, you miss a couple of chances but not all the time, you get punished.

You’re playing international football, you cannot afford to miss as many chances as we missed today. Against the likes of Ukraine and Germany, we’d be punished even further.

“Greece got one at the end, and if we had to have taken our chances another day maybe they wouldn’t have got it. I’m just hugely disappointed at the minute.”

While today was a crucial clash in the race for second place and Barrett, like many, considers it two points dropped, she was defiant in the knowledge that Ireland are most certainly still in it.

amber-barrett-celebrates-scoring-their-first-goal-with-teammates Celebrating Barrett's early goal. Source: Greg Hellas/INPHO

They stay in second place in Group I — three points ahead of Greece — but today’s result comes as a blow to their chances of picking up one of the automatic qualifying places available to the three best runners-up, with play-offs the other option. 

Next up for Pauw’s side is an interesting rematch with Greece in Dublin on 6 March 2020 before facing Montenegro away five days later. Then comes their first meeting with runaway group leaders Germany on 11 April.

This isn’t us dead or buried,” Barrett insisted. “It’s just a little bump on the road maybe that we didn’t expect.

“At the same time, Germany struggled here the first 35-40 minutes of their game. Hopefully after Christmas, we have to get as much support behind us as possible.

“We’re not dead and buried yet. A long way to go, we’ll be there.”

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Emma Duffy

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