06.02.2010 at 11:00 Nora Stadium, Ferreiras
1 - 0
Ireland Under 16
Referee: Mr R Honig
Albufeira 4 Nations Tournament / TS-match
Albufeira 4-Nations Under-16 Tournament
Republic of Ireland0 Portugal 1
The Republic of Ireland slipped to a narrow defeat against Portugal on Saturday in their second game of the Albufeira 4 Nations Under-16 tournament played at the Nora Stadium in Ferreiras.
The only goal of the game arrived in first-half injury time when Portugal captain Joao Cancelo fed a pass to Frederic Maciel on the right and his cross from the end-line was tapped home by the inrushing Goncalo Paciemcia at the back post.
Following the goalless draw against Italy in their opening game on Thursday, Ireland manager John Morling opted to give all his nine substitutes starting roles for the second outing, with only Luke Gallagher and Michael Hehir-Drennan featuring again in the line-up.
Sami Ade-Osobe got on early header on target for Ireland but it was Portugal who came closest to breaking the deadlock on 12 minutes. Irish goalkeeper Conor O'Donnell advanced from his line to punch Maciel's cross away but seizing on the loose ball was Paciemcia whose volley smacked off the inside of both posts and back into play.
Three minutes later, Ireland were on the attack with Hehir-Drennan and Kieran Sadlier exchanging passes on the left and the latter delivering the ball into the box. Brandon Miele was left unmarked but lost his footing just as the ball fell invitingly into his path and the chance was gone.
Portugal bossed the final stages of the first half and signalled their intent on the half hour as Dioga Mota broke free 25 yards from goal and his half-volley forced a superb one-handed save from O'Donnell.
But just as Ireland appeared to have withstood the pressure until the break, they were undone during the one minute of stoppage time with Paciemcia's finish.
Seven minutes into the second period the Irish produced their first opportunity of the half through a speculative shot by midfielder Michael Hyland. The Millwall youngster tried his luck from 30 yards out and goalkeeper Miguel Oliveira needed to be alert to tip the ball over for a corner.
The aerial threat from set-pieces in the Portugal was provided by centre-back Lima Pereira and he gave the Irish defence a scare on 55 minutes by rising unmarked to meet a corner only to glance his header wide.
Kealan Dillon and Kenny McEvoy were introduced in a double-substitution for Ireland two minutes later and winger McEvoy was swiftly into the attack, setting up their best chance just past the hour mark.
The Villa flanker sped down the right-channel past a couple of defender before lofting a tempting cross into the path of Kieran Sadlier who couldn't keep his header on target.
Philip Roberts was brought on with ten minutes remaining and got on the end of two glorious chances to salvage a draw.
Five minutes from the finish, Dillon hoisted a pass into the area and the Norwich City striker nodded wide but his clearest opening came two minutes later as he raced clear yet skewed his lob wide with the goal at his mercy.
However, it was Portugal who concluded the game in the ascendancy with Irish goalkeeper McDonnell needing to pull off a marvellous double-save from Alexandre Guedes in the dying moments.
Republic of Ireland manager John Morling praised his players' afterwards.
He said: "It was probably a fair result in the end but I was more than happy with the performance from the lads.
"It was important to introduce the nine players for the game as it gives us the opportunity to assess them against a top-class side such as Portugal.
"In an Under-17 UEFA qualifiers setting like next season, it may not be possible to change the side around that much from game to game and that's why it's crucial we do it now to broaden the options for when Sean McCaffrey takes them into the U17 campaign in the Autumn.
"It was a bad time to concede but the lads kept right in the game up to the finish and might have taken a draw with the two late chances.
"Now, we've got to go out and finish the tournament on a high by playing well and getting a result against the Dutch on Monday."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Conor O'Donnell (Buncrana Hearts); Colm Horgan (Salthill Devon), Joseph O'Brien (Salthill Devon), Luke Gallagher (Cherry Orchard), Shane Griffin (Carrigaline Utd); Brandon Miele (Cherry Orchard), Sami Ade-Osobe (Glenmuir Utd), Michael Hyland (Millwall), Michael Hehir-Drennan (Evergreen); Kieran Sadlier (West Ham United); James Murphy (Reading).
Substitutes: Ken McEvoy (Villa, Waterford) for Miele and Kealan Dillon (Belvedere) for Hyland (both 54 mins), Carel TioFack (Ballincollig) for Drennan and Bradley Garmston (West Bromwich Albion) for Griffin (both 58 mins), Jamie Smith (Cherry Orchard) for Sadlier and Philip Roberts (Norwich City) for Murphy (both 73 mins)
PORTUGAL: Oliveira; Silva, Duque, Pereira, Cancelo; Maciel, Podstawski, Cortez, Mota; Matos, Paciemcia.
REFEREE: Mr. R Honig (Nethelands).
Tournament Fixtures and Results:
Thursday February 4
Netherlands 1-1 Portugal
Italy 0-0 Republic of Ireland
Saturday February 6
Portugal 1-0 Republic of Ireland
Netherlands 1-3 Italy
Monday February 8
Portugal v Italy - Nora Stadium, Ferreiras (13.00 hrs)
|Netherlands v Republic of Ireland - Municipal Stadium, Albufeira (16.00 hrs).