Azerbaijan 1-3 Republic of Ireland

QPR midfielder Ryan Manning scored twice as the Republic of Ireland Under-21s maintained their 100% 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.
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 the Republic of 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.

They will meet Norway at Tallaght Stadium on October 5 and then host Israel four days later. Ireland beat Kosovo in their opening game in March.

"We got a performance and it was player driven, which is very important," said manager Noel King. "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.

"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."

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

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