Republic of Ireland 3-1 Azerbaijan
The Republic of Ireland's 3-1 win over Azeraijan coupled with Russia's 0-0 draw with Romania was enough to put Tom Mohan's side through to the UEFA European Under-19 Championships with a game to spare
It was Mohan’s team’s second win of the elite round and Russia's inability to beat Romania saw them through to the competition in Armenia in July.
Goals from Tyreik Wright, Jason Knight and captain Jonathan Afolabi proved enough as both sides missed from the penalty spot.
Wright gave Ireland the lead just before the break. His initial header from a corner was blocked, but Wright slotted home the rebound to give Ireland the lead.
Mohan’s side had the chance to double the lead after the break, but Will Smallbone’s penalty hit the crossbar. Ireland did double their lead on the hour mark, when Knight’s shot beat Azerbaijani goalkeeper Nijat Mehbaliyev.
Azerbaijan pulled a goal back with 20 minutes left when Kamran Guliyev scored from close range, after Brian Maher saved Turan Valizada's penalty.
The three points were assured in the final five-minutes when Afolabi took advantage of some slack defending to coolly slot the ball home.
Speaking after the match, head coach Mohan said he was impressed with his side’s grit throughout the game.
"It was a different game to the win against Romania. Azerbaijan were very difficult to break down. We have seven Under-18s and one Under-17 player in the squad today. For such young players, they showed great composure", Mohan said.
"Russia are our next opponents. The focus is now on them getting recovered and re-energised. It was a tough, hard, bruising encounter today. The lads showed a lot of character."
Ireland hammered Romania 5-0 in their first game and take on Russia at 2.0pm Irish time on Tuesday.
Republic of Ireland: Brian Maher; Andy Lyons, Oisin McEntee, Jack James (Mark McGuinness 90+1), Kameron Ledwidge; Luca Connell (Niall Morahan 90+3), Will Smallbone (Conor Grant 90+1), Jason Knight; Tyreik Wright (Ali Reghba 79), Jonathan Afolabi, Will Ferry (Festy Ebosele 90+3)
Azerbaijan: Nijat Mehbaliyev; Rauf Huseynli (90+2), Ibragim Huseinov, Elnur Ibragimov, Vusal Masimov; Tural Bayramov (Musa Gurbanli 66), Turan Valizada, Shakir Seyidov, Kamran Guliyev (Murad Mahmudov 78); Serhat Tasdemir (Rustam Nuruyev 66); Emil Gasimov (Elvin Jafarguliyev 46)