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Good evening and welcome along to our live coverage of the Republic of Ireland U21′s first leg of their first Uefa European Championship play-off against Israel.

This is crunch time for Jim Crawford’s side as they aim to reach the finals of the competition for the first time in history. The finals will be hosted by Romania and Georgia in June and July next summer.

We’ll have team line-ups and any late changes for you as we head towards the 7pm kick-off which is also live on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player.

Confirmation of the Irish team below…

Who do you think will go through?


Poll Results:

Ireland (503)
Israel (79)


Here’s the Israel team for this evening…

Israel U21s: 1. David Peretz 3. Ziv Morgan 5. Gil Cohen 7. Osher Davida 8. Mohammad Kanaan 11. Oscar Gloukh 12. El Yam Kancepolsky 17. Ido Shahar 19. Idan Gorno 20. Stav Lemkin 22. Roi Herman

Subs: 18. Omer Yaacov Nir On 2. Karm Jaber 4. Iuval Jaber 6. Zohar Zasno 10. Stav Nachmani 14. Tay Abed Kassus 15. Yoav Hofmeister 16. Hisham Layous 21. Noam Gil Malamud

“I spoke to him a couple of times. He’s been great since he came in and he’s looking forward to tonight.”

- Jim Crawford on Aaron Connolly’s inclusion in the team for tonight.

The teams are making their way out onto the pitch at Tallaght Stadium.

Anthems done, we’re just moments away from kick-off.

2 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Israel get us underway in this first leg at Tallaght Stadium. Good defensive play from Ireland against an early press from the visitors.

4 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Eiran Cashin puts his boot out to intercept a pass at the midfield line. Israel win it back and send it down to the Ireland box where goalkeeper Brian Maher deals with the danger.

7 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Good positioning by Joe Redmond to cut out the ball from a dangerous Israel attack. The visitors come again as Osher Davida tries to cut inside after bringing the ball in from the wing.

But Joe Hodge does well to dispossess him and clear the ball. Nervy opening few minutes for Ireland but they’re sharp in the face of these probing attacks.

10 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

That’s Ireland’s first real advance on the Israel defence. Aaron Connolly accelerates through and tries to link up with Tyreik Wright. But the pass fails to stick and the ball trickles out for a goal kick.

12 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Evan Ferguson almost sneaks through after getting on the end of a long ball, but Israel are alert to the danger and put the ball out for a throw-in.

Israel try to build up an attack but end up conceding a free which gives Ireland a chance to work possession around again.

14 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

POST!

Big chance for Ireland there as Connolly’s attempt comes back off the woodwork. Wright engineered that attack for Ireland that rebounds back into play. The ball eventually comes to Ferguson in the box who tries to let fly but his shot is blocked.

16 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Penalty call there for a clip on Ferguson that goes unawarded by the referee. The replays would suggest he had a decent case there but play is waved on.

18 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

WIDE!

Another big chance for Ireland, and Connolly. Great vision from Lee O’Connor to spot Connolly unmarked in the box. He controls the ball first time and tries to sneak his shot in at the back post but there’s too much spin on the kick, and the ball fizzes wide.

23 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Good pressure from Ferguson to force a throw to Ireland deep in Israel territory. Wright steps up to take, and the short pass is dispossessed. But only briefly as the attempted clearance comes back to Ireland again.

25 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Will Smallbone surges forward with the ball and tries to set up an attack, but his pass to Connolly is off target and Israel comfortably clear their lines. 

This is a good spell from Ireland though, and they’re enjoying a lot of the possession.

28 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Hodge steps in again with another important dispossession. He tracks the run of Oscar Gloukh down the middle and does enough to slow him down and give the Irish defence a chance to block up the pathways to the goals.

33 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Israel take a corner short and Ido Shahar tries to take a shot from distance that gets blocked away.

Smallbone then gets dispossessed to allow Israel go on a counter attack. They spread the ball around but the move ends up with Hodge getting on the ball and kicking it clear.

36 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Another corner for Ireland, taken by Wright. His effort lands in an inviting possession but the ball went out before curling back in, resulting in a kick-out for Israel.

41 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

SAVE!

Great effort from Smallbone that has plenty of pace behind it and forces a finger tip save from Israel keeper David Peretz. Ferguson and Connolly both got important touches on the ball to set up Smallbone and the final product was a piledriver. 

42 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Israel

Slight moment of worry as Maher as he parries the ball away from an Israel free that takes a tricky bounce along the way. Ireland deal with it though

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

Disaster for Ireland just before the break. After enjoying most of the possession and looking most likely to break the deadlock, they now find themselves trailing at half-time. 

It was Idan Gorno who grabbed the goal from a corner. He rose highest to get his head on the inflighting ball, as Ireland goalkeeper Maher got caught out of position. 

49 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

Yellow card for Cashin for a tackle that had a bit of mustard on it. Israel enjoying a few early attacks in the Irish half of the pitch.

53 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

Good work from Wright as he wins a free kick outside the Israel box, just inside from the corner flag.

The ball is whipped in invitingly and Cashin comes soaring through to get his head behind it but his effort glazes over the crossbar.

54 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

More impressive work from Wright to win the ball in and work a cross into the Israel area. Again, it’s Cashin who gets to it but Ireland come away with nothing again.

59 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

Lovely play for Ireland, switching the play over and back. They lose possession and get caught slightly on the counter.

The ball comes to Osher Davida who tries to work himself into a shooting position but Maher comes out to gather the ball.

Wright wins a corner down at the other end.

60 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

Israel making a few changes as we hit the hour mark.

62 mins: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Israel

Cashin leaps up again to float a header after a free kick in from Smallbone. The effort sails wide though, another chance frustratingly passing Ireland by.

But Ireland are still working hard as Connolly wins a corner.

67 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Ferguson gets the equaliser!

That is just reward for Ireland’s persistent efforts from the set pieces. It was possibly looking like the ball just would not go in for Ireland but that was a super header from Ferguson at the end of that corner to bring Ireland level in this play-off.

73 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Ireland make a change as Dawson Devoy comes in for Joe Hodge.

78 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Israel down to 10 men for a last-man tackle on Connolly. Stav Lemkin is sent to the line as Smallbone takes the free on the edge of the area.

80 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

It’s a powerful shot but the keeper gathers the effort to keep the score at level pegging. That was a dramatic few minutes. There were pleas for an Ireland penalty there but the referee ruled that Connolly was pulled down on the edge of the box.

Meanwhile, Festy Ebosele has come on for Tyreik Wright.

86 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Ireland are really pressing for the winner here to draw first blood heading to the second leg in Tel Aviv next week. 

Yellow card for Devoy as a break in play is called to get treatment on for an injured Israel player.

88 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Heading for the end of the 90 minutes. Will there be a winner in the first leg?

90 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Four minutes of added time to be played.

92 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Throw-in for Israel but Ebosele does well to win the ball back and get Ireland moving again.

93 mins: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

Connolly unleashes a power shot to try and get the winner but it’s rising all the time as it goes over the bar. Will the referee allow much more?

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Israel

It’s all square heading over to Tel Aviv next week. Ireland had their chances to steal the win but, overall, Jim Crawford’s side will be happy to finish the first leg of this play-off with a draw.

It was stunning header from Evan Ferguson to cancel out the suckerpunch goal they conceded just before half-time.

There’s a lot to feel encouraged by before the second leg, as the Ireland U21s continue in their bid to make history.

Well that’s all from us, folks. Thanks to you all for joining our coverage. Stay tuned to read our match report from Paul Fennessy at Tallaght Stadium. 

Until next time, good luck!

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