Troy Parrott sent off as Ireland stay top of group with draw against Italy
Moise Kean received straight red card for incident involving Ireland striker
Ireland striker Troy Parrott reacts after receiving a red card from referee Sascha Stegemann in the Under-21 European Championship qualifier against Italy at Tallaght stadium. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Republic of Ireland U21 0 Italy U21 0
Troy Parrott saw red against Italy at Tallaght stadium on Thursday night but the Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s remain on a green light toward a first Euro appearance.
This stalemate against the top seeds maintains an unbeaten start in the campaign for Stephen Kenny’s side, who stay top of their group heading into Tuesday’s visit to Iceland.
They might even have grabbed a memorable win late on against the pool’s top seeds when captain Jayson Molumby saw his free-kick turned over.
Parrott had been dismissed on 63 minutes for a second yellow card in an incident that saw Everton’s Moise Kean issued with a straight red card.
Left winger Gianluca Scamacca fashioned the first chance for the visitors when he cut inside after only six minutes but couldn’t keep his shot down.
While the sound of Parrott’s 50/50 challenge on Sandro Tonali pierced the Tallaght air, it seemed fair but not in the eyes of referee Sascha Stegemann. The German official issued a booking, one that would prove costly later on.
The five-time champions gained a foothold and almost snatched the lead on 17 minutes.
Left back Luca Pellegrini had dropped down from the senior squad and his habit of roaming from defence into attack was troubling Ireland.
From one such foray, Pellegrini’s lofted cross allowed Andrea Pinamonti cut across Dara O’Shea to connect with a header. Caoimhin Kelleher was left static on his line as the effort skewed marginally the wrong side of the post.
With that scare survived, Ireland began to get a grip in key areas. Two minutes later, a long punt by Kelleher minutes set Adam Idah off on a run at goal. Despite getting the ball caught under his feet, he managed to lay the ball off to Molumby who had Parrott for support.
The Tottenham forward had to turn to get his shot away but still managed to force Marco Carnesecchi into a low save.
Six minutes later, the Italian goalkeeper was again worked as the record crowd of 7,231 began to find their voice on a chilly night.
A flowing move from left to right saw Molumby find Ihah with his back to goal and he, in turn, fed the unmarked Connor Ronan. His rasping shot from just outside of the box was spilled by Carnesecchi, forcing Alessandro Bastoni to clear the loose ball with Parrott poised to convert the rebound.
Not content with the pattern of the opening 45 minutes, Italy took drastic action by introducing €60 million worth of talent in Kean and Wolves’ Patrick Cutrone at the interval. The Everton’s man wayward first touch was greeted by jeers from the home crowd.
Between the power of Kean and intricacy of Cutrone, the Azzurri attack showed a different complexion without a different outcome.
Indeed, Parrott came closest to breaking the deadlock with a 52nd-minute strike on the turn which fizzed a yard wide.
Then came the game’s flashpoint on 63 minutes. After Kean fouled Conor Coventry in the centre circle, Parrott went to retrieve the loose ball, much to the substitute’s annoyance.
Both had a shove at each other, Parrott left clutching his mouth as a result and eventually falling to the ground. Stegemann didn’t waste much time in brandishing cards to each, leaving both teams with 10 men for the final half hour.
Ireland finished the stronger, with the Italians failing to trouble Kelleher. Molumby was almost the match-winner with six minutes left but his thunderous free-kick was denied by Carnesecchi’s tip over.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: C Kelleher (Liverpool); L O’Connor (Celtic), D O’Shea (West Brom), C Masterson (QPR), L Scales (UCD); J Molumby (Millwall), C Coventry (West Ham United); Z Elbouzedi (Waterford), C Ronan (DAC Dunajská Streda), T Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur); A Idah (Norwich City).
Subs: J Knight (Derby County) for Ronan (62 mins), M Obafemi (Southampton) for Elbouzedi (68 mins), G Kilkenny (Bournemouth) for Molumby (85 mins).
ITALY: M Carnesecchi (Trapani); E Delprato (Livorno), A Bastoni (Inter), R Marchizza (Spezia), L Pellegrini (Cagliari); M Locatelli (Sassuolo), M Carraro (Perugia), S Tonali (Brescia); D Frattesi (Empoli), A Pinamonti (Genoa), G Scamacca (Ascoli).
Subs: C Adjapong (Verona) for Marchizza (22 mins), P Cutrone (Wolves) for Scamacca, Moise Kean (Everton) for Pinamonti (46 mins), R Sottil (Fiorentina) for Carraro (68 mins).
Referee: Sascha Stegemann (Ger)