Moise Kean came off the bench and saw red in an ill-tempered and often ugly 0-0 draw between Italy U21s and the Republic of Ireland, with both teams down to 10 men.
The hosts had already won their three games so far in the European Under-21 Championship qualifying group, while the Azzurrini beat Luxembourg 5-0 in their only match.
Troy Parrott was fortunate to only get a yellow card for his awful studs-up tackle on Sandro Tonali’s ankle just 12 minutes in, but there is no VAR at this level.
Gianluca Scamacca’s free kick flashed just wide, then Andrea Pinamonti’s header skimmed the far post on a Luca Pellegrini cross, but Parrott did test Marco Carnesecchi on the counter after Riccardo Marchizza pulled up with a hamstring strain to leave a gap in defence.
Carnesecchi beat away a Ronan snapshot from outside the box, while Davide Frattesi blasted over after Manuel Locatelli’s attempt was charged down.
There was a bizarre moment just before half-time when Tonali and Jayson Molumby were having an altercation, but Connor Ronan dived in to push the Brescia midfielder over with a hand on his face. Again, this could easily have been a red card, but only resulting in a yellow for all three players.
Patrick Cutrone and Moise Kean had been expected to start, but were thrown on for the second half. Parrott drilled just wide from 12 yards after a smart Idah back-heel flick, while Claud Adjapong forced Caoimhin Kelleher to fingertip his strike round the post.
It was a very tense match, not helped by the referee’s often confusing approach to situations. He completely lost control of the game when flashing a straight red card to Kean for a push on Parrott’s chest – a less obvious gesture than the one Ronan was booked for in the first half – and Parrott received his second yellow for his part in the incident.
Carnesecchi did well to palm a powerful Molumby free kick over the bar, but Italy wasted a promising four against two counter-attack with a poor pass.
Manuel Locatelli had a shot charged down inside the box, but in stoppages Atalanta-owned Carnesecchi had to rush outside the box for a desperate tackle on Idah.
Rep Ireland 0-0 Italy
Republic of Ireland U21: Kelleher; Masterson, O’Shea, Scales; L O’Connor, Ronan (Knight 62), Coventry, Molumby (Kilkenny 85), Elbouzedi (Obafemi 68); Parrott, Idah
Italy U21: Carnesecchi; Del Prato, Bastoni, Marchizza (Adjapong 23); Locatelli, Tonali, Carraro (Sottil 68); Frattesi, Pinamonti (Cutrone 46), Scamacca (Kean 46)
Ref: Stegemann (GER)
Sent off: Kean 64 (I), Parrott 64 (RI)
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