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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

Iceland hand Stephen Kenny's Ireland first defeat of qualifying campaign

Sveinn Aron Gudjohnsen — son of former Chelsea player Eidur — scored the winning goal.

Stephen Kenny (file pic).
Stephen Kenny (file pic).
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

IRELAND U21S HAVE been beaten 1-0 away to Iceland in their European Championship qualifier today.

It is the first time they have lost in the campaign, having previously secured three wins and one draw.

Sveinn Aron Gudjohnsen — son of former Chelsea player Eidur — scored the winning goal from the penalty spot just before the half-hour mark, after Lee O’Connor was penalised for a handball

Ireland could not make the most of their second-half chances, while their misery was compounded late on, as O’Connor was sent off after picking up a second booking.

Michael Obafemi had been handed a first start at U21 level, with Aaron Connolly, Troy Parrott and Jonathan Afolabi all unavailable in attack.

There were two other changes from last week’s 0-0 draw against the group top seeds Italy — Kameron Ledwidge replaced Liam Scales and Connor Ronan made way for Danny Mandroiu.

The Boys in Green will have been disappointed to go in one-down at the break. Michael Obafemi saw a shot saved by Patrik Sigurdur Gunnarsson, while Adam Idah could not find the target with a header.

Dara O’Shea went close in the second half from Jayson Molumby’s free kick, but the defender’s close-range attempt could only find the side-netting.

Idah also could have equalised after a threatening run, but his attempt went wide.

Aaron Drinan and Gavin Kilkenny were both introduced in the dying minutes, but could not rescue a point, as Ireland suffered just their third defeat under Kenny, having previously been beaten by Brazil and Mexico (on penalties) during the Toulon Tournament in the summer.

Ireland remain top of Group 1 following today’s game on 10 points, though Iceland now trail them by just a point and have a game in hand. Italy sit third on seven points, though they have two matches in hand, while Sweden will move onto six points with two games in hand if they beat Luxembourg later today.

Ireland team: Caoimhin Kelleher; Lee O’Connor, Kameron Ledwidge, Conor Masterson, Dara O’Shea; Conor Coventry, Jayson Molumby; Danny Mandroiu (Drinan 86), Michael Obafemi (Kilkenny 75), Adam Idah.

Subs: Gavin Bazunu, Connor Ronan, Jason Knight, Nathan Collins, Jack Taylor, Gavin Kilkenny, Simon Power, Aaron Drinan, Liam Scales.

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Paul Fennessy

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