Stephen Kenny guided his Republic of Ireland U21 side to another well merited European Championship qualifying victory, with a three one defeat of hosts Sweden in Kalmar this Tuesday afternoon.
Ireland return to the summit of Group One with the maximum 9 points from their opening three contests. Top seeds Italy commenced their challenge this afternoon with a 5-0 home victory over Luxembourg.
Manager Kenny made three changes to the side which started against Armenia on Friday night with Jonathan Afolabi, Zack Elbouzedi and Dan Mandroiu replacing Adam Idah, Gavin Kilkenny and Troy Parrott.
Despite a solid start, Ireland fell behind on 19 minutes to a goal from Swedish captain Mattias Svanberg. Kenny’s charges maintained their composure and dominated play during the remainder of the first half but disappointingly failed to convert any of the goal scoring chances created.
The second period proved more fruitful with Ireland continuing to dominate possession and the 65th miss from the penalty spot by Aaron Connolly, after he himself had been fouled, was quickly forgotten as Jonathan Afolabi scored the equaliser four minutes later.
Ireland continued to dominate proceedings and their perseverance brought just reward with late goals from centre back Conor Masterson and substitute Troy Parrott.
Team: C Kelleher; LO’Connor, C Masterson, D O’Shea, D Leahy; D Mandroiu, C Coventry, J Molumby(C), Z Elbouzedi; J Afolabi, A Connolly
T Parrott for Mandroiu 51′
G Kilkenny for Elbouzedi 73′
A Idah for Afolabi 82′
P W D L F A Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 7 1 9
Iceland 2 2 0 0 9 1 6
Italy 1 1 0 0 5 0 3
Sweden 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
Armenia 2 0 0 2 1 7 0
Luxembourg 3 0 0 3 0 11 0
Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu(Manchester City), Caoimhin Kelleher(Liverpool)
Defenders: Darragh Leahy(Bohemian), Kameron Ledwidge(Southampton), Conor Masterson(QPR), Danny McNamara(Newport County on loan from Millwall), Lee O’Connor(Manchester United), Dara O’Shea(WBA), Liam Scales (UCD)
Midfielders: Conor Coventry(West Ham United), Jake Doyle-Hayes(Cheltenham Town on loan from Aston Villa), Zack Elbouzedi(Waterford), Gavin Kilkenny(AFC Bournemouth), Jason Knight(Derby County), Dan Mandroiu(Bohemian), Jayson Molumby(Millwall on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion), Jack Taylor(Barnet)
Forwards: Jonathan Afolabi(Glasgow Celtic), Aaron Connolly(Brighton & Hove Albion), Adam Idah(Norwich City), Troy Parrott(Tottenham Hotspur), Simon Power(Ross County on loan from Norwich City)