Noel King’s Ireland under-21s recorded a huge victory at home to Azerbaijan on Tuesday night, thanks to some very late drama.
Shaun Donnellan’s goal six minutes into injury time gave the Boys in Green all three points in Tallaght, just as it looked as though they would have to settle for a point against the group’s bottom side.
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The visitors looked set to claim just their second point from the group from seven games, but the Yeovil Town defender’s injury-time strike sealed the win for Ireland and saw them leapfrog Norway and Kosovo and move back into second place in the group/
Indeed, Ireland have now narrowed the gap on group leaders Germany down to three points, and with a game in hand to boot. The Germans could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Kosovo in an earlier kick-off, ensuring that the race to win the pool and qualify automatically for next year’s finals is far from over.
It proved to be something of a mixed day for Ireland’s underage sides, as the under-19 team suffered a 4-0 defeat to Portugal to end their hopes of reaching their European Championship finals, while Colin O’Brien’s under-17s picked up a 1-0 win against Poland to ensure that they qualified for their particular finals unbeaten in their qualification group.