herald

Friday 24 November 2017

Norway snatch injury-time win

Norway 2  Rep of Ireland 1

Republic of Ireland U21 goalscorer Jake Mulraney. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland U21 goalscorer Jake Mulraney. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland's hopes of qualifying for next summer's European Under-21 Championship suffered a blow with a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Norway.

Ireland had won three of their opening four games in Group 5, with their only dropped points a goalless draw against Norway at home.

Iver Fossum was the late, later hero for Norway as he scored deep into injury-time to give his side a crucial victory and shatter the Republic of Ireland unbeaten run.

The winner came in the 91st-minute, when it seemed the visitors were set to pick up a point at the Marienlyst Stadium in Drammen.

Second-best

Noel King's side had been second-best early on as the Norwegians hit the ground running.

Brighton's Henrik Bjørdal forced Kieran O'Hara into a great stop after 12 minutes but the Manchester United goalkeeper was beaten shortly after, as Bjørdal again proved influential.

He latched onto a well-weighted pass into the left-channel, kept his composure and cut the ball back for Odegaard, who shimmied around O'Hara and tucked home.

But, to their credit, King's men forced their way back into it.

Harry Charsley had a penalty appeal waved away just shy of the half-hour mark but an equaliser followed soon after.

The Republic of Ireland were without top-scorer Reece Grego-Cox, who struck a hat-trick against Israel last time out. But, his replacement - Jake Mulraney, who plays his football with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Scotland, impressed and took his goal brilliantly.

Declan Rice's initial break into the Norwegian half led to a loose ball being taken on by Mulraney and he showed electric pace on his way to the edge of the area.

He flew past another Norwegian defender and, despite the narrow angle, kept it low and clinically swept it to the net.

The home side went close to regaining the lead on the hour mark when Odegaard stepped up and whipped a superb free-kick towards the corner but O'Hara superbly tipped it around the post.

But the 'keeper could do little to deny Fossum, who picked up a loose ball and fired to the net following Odegaard's corner to secure a vital Norway win.

Move

It means they now move into third place in the group, two points behind Ireland but having played a game more.

King's side are, themselves, two points behind leaders Germany, who defeated Israel 5-2 away last night.

The group winner qualifies automatically for the 2019 tournament while the best-four runners-up will move into a play-off.

Ireland are next in competitive action in March when they host Azerbaijan.

Norway: Bratveit; Hanche-Olsen, Ajer, Jenssen, Risa (Ingebrigtsen 85); Reitan (Johnsen 70), Odegaard, Fossum, Ryerson; Thorsby, Bjordal (Espejord 73).

Rep of Ireland: O'Hara; Kane, Sweeney, Donnellan, Whelan; Rice, Cullen, Charsley, Mulraney; Manning (Ronan 86), Curtis.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News