Friday saw the latest round of Under-21 European Championship Qualifying with Wales, Ireland, and Finland enjoying mixed fortunes.
It was a damaging night for Wales as Dinis Ieseanu’s first-half goal condemned them to defeat in Moldova. Fin Stevens played the full 90 minutes at the District Sport Complex in Orhei while Nathan Shepherd and Joe Adams didn’t feature. Fin has played every minute so far as Wales sit fifth in the group with four points from three matches. Next up is a trip to the Goffertstadion, Nijmegen, to face Netherlands on Tuesday.
It was a better night for Alex Gilbert and Republic of Ireland as they beat Luxembourg 2-0 in Dublin. The points came thanks to a first-half Joshua Ogunfaolu-Kayode goal and Conor Coventry’s second-half penalty. Alex came on for the final four minutes to win his fifth Under-21 cap. The Boys in Green stay third, three points off top, ahead of Tuesday’s away game in Montenegro.
In Sumgayit, Jaakko Oksanen was an unused substitute as ten-man Finland drew 1-1 against Azerbaijan. All the action came late with Terry Ablade picking up his second yellow for Finland with 24 minutes to play. Despite that disadvantage, the Finns took the lead nine minutes later through Arsen Aghjabayov’s own-goal. However, they couldn’t hold onto the lead as Rauf Hüseynli netted late to rescue a point for the home side. Finland go into Tuesday’s game against Group A leaders Austria in fourth with four points from three matches.
At Under-19 level, Val Adedokun played the final half hour as Republic of Ireland and Sweden shared four goals in Marbella. Ireland took an early 2-0 lead through Evan Caffrey and Zak Gilsenan but Ahmed Qasem’s penalty and an Arash Motaraghebjafarpour second-half goal ensured it ended all square. The appearance was Val’s first at Under-19 level with the two sides meeting again on Monday morning.