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Heartache for Ireland as late equaliser ends winning start to 2021 qualifiers

It finished 1-1 in Athens as Greece struck for an injury-time goal.

Ireland will be disappointed not to have come away with a win.
Ireland will be disappointed not to have come away with a win.
Image: Greg Hellas/INPHO

Greece 1

Ireland 1

IRELAND’S WINNING START to the Euro 2021 qualifiers has come to an end after suffering a late equaliser against Greece to ensure a share of the spoils.

Amber Barrett fired Ireland into the lead after just 12 minutes in the first half, but Vera Pauw’s side had to settle for a draw when Anastasia Spyridonidou struck for a late goal in the 93rd minute.

Ireland are still in second place in Group I, but they will be disappointed with that result having dominated for much of the clash in Athens.

In what was their first away fixture of the campaign, Ireland certainly made the brighter start. They physically dominated proceedings and quickly went on the attack to deservedly take the lead after 12 minutes.

Ireland captain Katie McCabe floated in a ball from deep which bounced into the path of Barrett. The FC Köln attacker hit the ball first time with a perfect lob over the head of the Greek goalkeeper and break the deadlock.

The visitors had several chances to extend their lead, with O’Sullivan coming closest to hitting the target in the second half.

amber-barrett-celebrates-scoring-their-first-goal-with-teammates Ireland players celebrate Amber Barrett's goal in the first half. Source: Greg Hellas/INPHO

The Cork woman managed to turn inside two Greek defenders with a lovely turn to create a one-on-one scenario in the box. But after taking a quick touch, she launched her shot straight into the arms of the keeper.

That missed opportunity shouldn’t detract from what was an otherwise superb display from the North Carolina Courage start, but she will disappointed not to have converted that chance.

Greece started committing players forward in the latter stages of the second half in a frantic search for an equalisier. And they were rewarded at the death when Spyridonidou snatched that injury-time goal.

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A dangerous ball was delivered into the Irish penalty box which Niamh Fahey and Louise Quinn both jumped to contest. Neither managed to connect with the ball which came to an unmarked Spyridonidou at the edge of the area.

She tapped the ball first time past the clutches of Marie Hourihan to snatch a draw, and halt Ireland’s winning run in the Euro 2021 qualifiers.

While it is a setback for Pauw’s charges, they remain undefeated in Group I with their next qualifier outing coming next March when they will take a trip to Montenegro. 

IRELAND: Hourihan; Russell (Keenan HT), Caldwell, Quinn, McCabe; Finn, Fahey; Kiernan, O’Sullivan, Whelan; Barrett (Roche ’83).

GREECE: Papakonstantinou, Kynossidou, Gkatsou, Kydonaki (Sarri ’61), Kakambouki (Kaldaridou ’70), Sidira, Chatzigiannidou, Moraitou, Markou (Spyridonidou ’83), Chatzinikolaou, Kokoviadou.

Referee: Henrikke Nervik (NOR)

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