Ireland U21s enjoy thrilling injury time winner in opening qualifier

Ireland U21s enjoy thrilling injury time winner in opening qualifier

The Ireland U21s have beaten Turkey 3-2 with an injury time winner.

A last gasp winner from Millwall’s Aidomo Emakhu has secured the Ireland under-21s a dramatic 3-2 win against Turkey on the opening night of their European Championship qualification campaign.

Ireland, despite dominating possession, fell behind in the first half before responding after the break through a sumptuous volley from captain Andrew Moran.

The game hung in the balance at 1-1 for twenty minutes but in the 76th minute the visitors retook the lead through Cihan Citak. Ireland’s response however, was exceptional.

Ireland under-21s put in impressive second half performance.

Moran, who is currently on loan at Blackburn Rovers from Brighton, is considered the star of this current U21 crop and it was him who was influential again for the second goal.

His trickery inside the Turkish box drew a foul, the referee blew his whistle and Blackburn teammate Zak Gilsenan converted with aplomb in the 87th minute.

The momentum was firmly in Ireland’s favour at that stage. Sam Curtis and Sean Roughan offered the team a threat as they darted onwards from their wing-back positions, and Wigan debutant Baba Adeeko was a positive force in midfield as he helped the cause with infectious energy.

Injury time winner.

Ireland’s formation heading into the game could have been considered conservative.

Crawford started with five defenders and four midfielders, but in the closing stages of the game the manager unleashed his attacking replacements Tony Springett and Aidomo Emakhu to transformational effect.

Norwich man Springett darted down the right-wing deep into injury time and teed up Emakhu who unleashed a clean finish into the back of the Turkish net.

The celebrations in Cork were joyous and the team can head into Tuesday’s fixture with San Marino brimming with confidence.