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QPR's Ryan Manning grabs a brace as Ireland's U21s maintain 100% record in Euro qualifying

Reece Grego-Cox was also on target in Baku.

Image: Tom Beary; ©INPHO/Tom Beary/INPHO

THE 5,000KM TRIP wasn’t in vain as Noel King’s Republic of Ireland Under-21 side picked up a 3-1 victory against Azerbaijan in Baku to maintain their 100% start to European Championship qualifying.

QPR’s Ryan Manning scored twice while Reece Grego-Cox was also on the scoresheet.

King had described the fixture as a ‘daunting challenge’ given the distance, time-difference and conditions but the win puts them in good shape in Group 5.

They currently sit in second place, one point behind leaders Kosovo who have played two games more and who face top seeds Germany this evening.

Galway native Manning put the Irish in front after just 9 minutes but the home side equalised moments later.

Still, Manning popped up again to grab his second on 37 minutes while his club-mate Grego-Cox put the result to bed by adding a third shortly after the restart.

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Next up for the Republic are a couple of back-to-back home games against Norway and Israel next month.

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‘To go to Azerbaijan and win would be a huge result but it’s something we’re capable of’

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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