Ryan Manning grabs two as Ireland U21s keep up 100% start

Reece Grego-Cox also on the scoresheet for Noel King’s men

Ryan Manning scored twice for the Republic of ireland under-21s in the 3-1 victory over Azerbaijan in Baku. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Ryan Manning scored twice for the Republic of ireland under-21s in the 3-1 victory over Azerbaijan in Baku. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

 

Azerbaijan U21 1 Republic of Ireland U21 3

QPR midfielder Ryan Manning scored twice as the Republic of Ireland Under-21s maintained their 100 per cent start to the 2019 European Championship Group Five qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win over 10-man Azerbaijan in Baku.

Noel King’s side, who beat Kosovo 1-0 at the Tallaght Stadium in March, took an early lead in the ninth minute after Manning had been set up by Derry City forward Ronan Curtis.

Azerbaijan, though, were soon level as Qarabag striker and captain Mahir Madatov netted after 11 minutes.

Former Galway United player Manning found the net again five minutes before half-time after being played in by QPR team-mate Reece Grego-Cox.

The Hoops’ duo were involved as Ireland extended their lead soon after the restart as Grego-Cox followed up to make it 3-1 after 51 minutes.

The home side then quickly found themselves down to 10 men soon as, just two minutes later, forward Elnur Jafarov was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Huddersfield defender Danny Kane.

Manning went close to bagging a hat-trick during the closing stages, while Ryan Sweeney, on loan at Bristol Rovers from Stoke, also had a late effort blocked.

Speaking after the win, King was pleased with what he saw.

“We got a performance and it was player driven, which is very important. It was a difficult situation to be in, particularly with so long spent travelling to get here and acclimatise. The players adapted to the situation – they bought into what we did here this week and really wanted to back up their result against Kosovo.

“We started very well and got an early goal but then you have the situation where they get an equaliser and have their spell on top and we had to dealt with that. We settled things down then scored a good goal through Ryan Manning again and then the players spoke at half-time about adding to that and maintaining control of the game.

“I felt the players were very professional in how they managed the game. They kept possession for long spells and I’m sure the stats were very high in terms of our possession and we managed the game really well.

“The two QPR boys did very well. Ryan’s work-rate was great, he was a constant threat and contributed to the defensive side of things really well. Reece put in a great shift, he covered a lot of ground and deserved his goal. He did very well to create Ryan’s second goal also.

“We had four lads make their competitive debut at this level. Declan Rice started and Liam Kinsella, Joe Quigley and Ryan Delaney all made a contribution when they came in.

“We have two games at home to Norway and Israel next month and we’ll look to add some more players to the squad but we won’t be subtracting any and hopefully they are all fit and are in good shape for those two games. We’ll prepare properly for those games and know we’ll get the support to hopefully continue our winning start.”

Ireland meet Norway at Tallaght Stadium on October 5th and then host Israel four days later.

AZERBAIJAN U21: Mustafa Kemal Ozhitay, Sertan Tashgin, Vugar Hasanov (Ozan Can Koekcue, 67 mins), Bahlul Mustafazade, Serkan Baloglu, Alen Askerov, Gismat Aliyev, Elnur Jafarov, Mahir Madatov (Ilyas Safarzade, 80 mins), Alibey Mamedli (Ehtiram Shahverdiyev, 46 mins), Onur Albayrak.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Kieran O’Hara; Corey Whelan, Danny Kane (Ryan Delaney, 90 mins), Shaun Donnellan, Ryan Sweeney, Declan Rice, Josh Cullen, Harry Charsley (Liam Kinsella, 92 mins), Ryan Manning, Reece Greco-Cox (Joe Quigley, 87 mins), Ronan Curtis.

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