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07.09.2007 at 19:45 Turners Cross Attendance:
Under 21 0 - 2 Portugal
Referee: Mr. Manuel Grafe (Germany) European Qualifier-match

None. Paulo Machado 7 Mins,
Miguel Veloso 54 mins;
Opening squads
Darren Randolph
Stephen O Halloran
Eddie Nolan
Darren O Dea
Richard Keogh
Jim O Brien
Stephen Quinn
Stephen Gleeson
Patrick Cregg
Adam Rooney
Billy Clarke
Barista (Fulham);
Vasco Fernandes (SC Olhanense),
Manuel da Costa (PSV Eindhoven),
Coelho (Portimonense),
Antunes (FC Pacos Ferreira);
Vieirinha (Leixoes SC),
Manuel Fernandes (Valencia),
Veloso (Sporting CP,
Pele (Inter Milan);
Joao Moreira (CD Nacional),
Paulo Machado (Leixoes.
Darren Quigley
Conor Powell
Shane Mc Faul
Michael Collins
Owen Garvan
Conor Sammon
Rui Patrício,
Bruno Pereirinha,
Gonçalo Brandão,
Vitor Hugo Gome Silva,
Owen Garvan -> Patrick Cregg (46)
Michael Collins -> Stephen Gleeson (67)
Conor Sammon -> Adam Rooney (74)
Barbosa, (AACoimbra) for Machado 81 mins,
Coimbra (CD Nacional) for Veloso 84 mins,
Cicero, (Dinamo Moscow) for Moreira 88 mins
Yellow cards
Billy Clarke (9)
Richard Keogh (84)
Vasco Fernand 62 mins;
Manuel da Costa 84 mins;
João Coimbra 90+2 mins;
Red cards
None. None
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
The Republic of Ireland U21 team were rocked on their heels as a slick Portugal opened up their defence to take an immediate lead with a goal in the fourth minute of the opening qualifying tie in Group three of the UEFa U21 Championship at Turner’s Cross tonight.

It was the start Portugal needed to give them the confidence to strike their best form. And it took a long time for Ireland to put the disappointment of their slow start behind them to get into the game.

Portugal started in a very positive frame of mind and spent the opening minutes testing the Irish defence as they assumed immediate control in midfield.

Their pressure paid off when they attacked on the right wing as Pele linked with Vieirinha in midfield and he sent Joao Moreira sprinting clear on the right touchline.

Moreira’s cross was precisely aimed at Paulo Machado in the centre of the penalty area and his neat header from the edge of the six yards box was angled accurately away from goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

Randolph had to produce a magnificent save to keep out a free-kick from 25 yards from Miguel Veloso as Portugal grew still more confident and ambitious after their great start.

Ireland settled and with Stephen Gleeson, James O Brien and Patrick Cregg making it more competitive in central midfield, Ireland began to show their own attacking capabilities.

They were close to an equaliser in the 45th minute when Gleeson sent Billy Clarke sprinting through the heart of the Portugese defence. He was inside the penalty area and about to shoot when centre-back Manuel da Costa slid across him to knocked the ball off his toe.

Still Portugal had shown how dangerous they could be in the 39th minute when they were awarded a free 25 yards from goal on the right wing. Vieirinha hammered a powerful shot past the wall of defenders but goalkeeper Randolph produced a magnificent diving save to turn the ball outside the upright.

Irelands manager, Don Givens, introduced Owen Garvan (Ipswich Town) into central midfield for the second half and he brought a welcome level of composure to Irelands play.

Still they struggled to contain Portugal when the visitors attacked and they had no answer when Portugal drove home a stunning second goal in the 54th minute. Moreira, on the right, pulled the ball back to the edge of the penalty area for Miguel Veloso and he stepped wide of a tackle before crashing a shot just inside the upright and beyond goalkeeper Randolph.

Ireland were unlucky not to cut the deficit in the 72nd minute. Adam Rooney worked his way through the defence on the right and he turned the ball back to substitute Michael Collins just 12 yards from goal. His shot was straight at goalkeeper Batista and Portugal scrambled away the rebound.

Irelands substitutions helped them get into the game - Owen Garvan took control of central midfield and used the ball well while Conor Sammon livened up the forward line with his vigorous play.

Ireland finished the game by applying pressure of their own on the Portugese defence in the closing ten minutes and Stephen O Halloran had a shot on the call of full-time that was saved as Ireland came up short.

Don Givens said: “I was disappointed with the result, of course, but more disappointed with our performance. I knew the Portugese were a good team but I think some of their excellence was due to our poor performance … if we had performed, as I know we can, the gap would not have been so big tonight.”

Republic of Ireland: Randolph (Charlton Athletic); Nolan (Blackburn Rovers), Keogh (Bristol City), O’Dea (Celtic), O’Halloran (Aston Villa); Gleeson (Wolves) (Collins, Huddersfield Town 68), Cregg (Falkirk) (Garvan, Ipswich Town 46), Quinn (Sheffield United); O’Brien (Celtic), Rooney (Stoke City/Chesterfield), Clarke (Ipswich Town).

Portugal: Barista (Fulham); Vasco Fernandes (SC Olhanense), Manuel da Costa (PSV Eindhoven), Coelho (Portimonense), Antunes (FC Pacos Ferreira); Vieirinha (Leixoes SC), Manuel Fernandes (Valencia), Veloso (Sporting CP) (Coimbra CD Nacional 84), Pele (Inter Milan); Joao Moreira (CD Nacional) (Cicero, Dinamo Moscow 88), Paulo Machado (Leixoes) (Barbosa, AACoimbra 81).
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