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Ireland’s U21s draw a blank as Spanish training camp starts with Swiss defeat

Erik G

Switzerland U21 2-0 Republic of Ireland U21

RYAN JOHANSSON MADE his Ireland U21 debut as Jim Crawford’s side started their Spanish training camp with a friendly defeat to Switzerland on Sunday morning.

The Sevilla youngster, who has been at the heart of a protracted battle over his international eligibility, was one of four debutants in the starting XI alongside Oisin McEntee, Festy Ebosele and Lewis Richards.

But goals in either half from Leonidas Stergiou and Gabriel Bares gave Switzerland victory in Marbella.

Ireland now turn their attention to Wednesday’s meeting with Australia before finishing their camp with a game against Denmark next Saturday.

The three friendlies serve as preparation for Ireland’s European Championship qualification campaign which begins in September, as well as giving Crawford the chance to assess some of the newer call-ups to the squad.

Switzerland took the lead on 12 minutes when Richards failed to clear Kastriot Imeri’s deep free kick, and Swiss captain Leonidas Stergiou was on hand to fire past Bray Wanderers keeper Brian Maher from close range.

Ireland’s best chance of the first half arrived shortly before the break when Tyreik Wright took advantage of a quickly taken corner to find space inside the Swiss area, but flashed his effort just past Amir Saipi’s post.

And Switzerland pounced to double their advantage just seven minutes after the restart. Play was allowed to continue following Ebosele’s foul on Imeri on the edge of the box, and the ball broke to Gabriel Bares who beat Maher at his near post.

Switzerland could have added a third before the finish but were denied by a superb reflex save from Maher who tipped Christopher Lungoyi’s close-range effort over the bar.

An unbelievable save from Brian Maher! 😱🖐

The @BrayWanderers goalkeeper produces an incredible stop to deny the Swiss a third goal 👏#SWIIRL | @FAIreland pic.twitter.com/vYlEw7WUSG

— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) May 30, 2021

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SWITZERLAND: Saipi (Hammel, 46), Gantebein (Wallner, 46), Stergiou (Okoh, 46), Burch (Vouilloz, 46), Kronig (Hajdari, 46), Sohm (Marchand, 60), Jankewitz, Imeri (Di Gusto, 60), Males (Bares, 46), Mambimbi (Amdouni, 46), Stojilkovic (Lungoyi, 60)

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Maher, McEntee, McGuinness, Ebosele (Flynn, 75), Richards (Ferry 54), Coventry (Connell ,70), Johansson (Noss, 46), Watson (Gilbert 71), Grant (Kilkenny 54), Wright, Kayode (Afolabi 54).

Referee: Manuel Marcos Canton (ESP)

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Source: http://prntscr.com/fub00u

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