Last-gasp goal denies Ireland U-21s victory

Georgia U-21 1 Republic of Ireland U-21 1

Georgia U-21 1 Republic of Ireland U-21 1

The Republic of Ireland were denied victory at the death once again as they were held to a fourth successive European U-21s Championship qualifier draw in Georgia.

Don Givens’ men were leading 1-0, courtesy of substitute Graham Carey’s 48th-minute strike, with just six minutes to go at the Mikheil Meskhi stadium in Tbilisi.

However, a first victory in their fifth qualifying game was wrenched from their grasp when Georgia substitute Vakhtang Kvaratskelia levelled.

It was the second time the Georgians had struck late to snatch a point against Ireland with Giorgi Ivanishvili leaving it until the 89th minute at Tallaght Stadium last month to cancel out Alan Judge’s opener.

The result leaves Ireland with just four points from a possible 15 and with a mountain to climb if they are to emerge from Group Two.

Both sides had chances in a goalless first half, with Jano Ananidze prominent for the home side and Sean Scannell prospering for the visitors.

However, it was Carey, a 44th-minute replacement for Scannell, who make the breakthrough three minutes after half-time.

Ireland might have built upon their lead, but Georgia finished strongly and got their reward when Kvaretskelia ensured the spoils were shared.

Ireland now head to Yerevan for Tuesday’s clash with bottom-of-the-table Armenia, who claimed their first point today with a 1-1 home draw against Estonia, desperately hoping for a change in fortunes with their hopes of qualification hanging by a thread.

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