Published: 11:33 | 16/10/19

Kenny remains upbeat despite defeat

Republic of Ireland U21 boss Stephen Kenny remains confident that his side can still qualify for the 2021 finals despite falling to a 1-0 defeat against Iceland yesterday.

Svein Aron Gudjohnsen, son of former Chelsea player Eidur Gudjohnsen, netted the only goal of the game on the half hour following a contentious penalty award.

Although Ireland remain at the top of their group, other results over the past few days mean that there are now just four points separating the top four teams with only the group winner sure of a place in the finals while the runner-up faces a play-off.

Ireland travel to Armenia for their next game before hosting Sweden at Tallaght Stadium five days later (LIVE on eir sport 1).

The game in Reykjavik was played on an artificial pitch in front of 45 spectators in an arena with three open sides which, Kenny feels, turned the game into something of ‘a farce’.

In addition to the controversial penalty award, Ireland’s Lee O’Connor was sent off late on for a tackle on Jan Porsteinsson.

"Their player made the most of it," Kenny said afterwards.

"It feels harsh to lose the match on a penalty that wasn't a penalty.

"Lee was going to block the shot and it's hit his back. Then the referee books him. We feel very disappointed to lose the match on that decision.

"The match was played in a wind-tunnel and space was at a premium.

"When it's on a good pitch, like our meetings against Sweden and Italy, the game is based around who can win the game on skill and quality.

"This match became a farce, needing other qualities from our players. We showed some of those qualities but Iceland got everyone behind the ball once they scored. The margins are very narrow at this level."

Image: INPHO

***See the Republic of Ireland U21 v Sweden U21 LIVE on eir sport 1 on November 19th.

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