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Football | Ireland U21s suffer defeat in Iceland

The Republic of Ireland U21s have been beaten 1-0 in Iceland. Iceland's Svein Aron Gudjohnson's penalty inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Boys in Green in Reykjavik. Stephen Kenny's side also had a player sent off for the second game running, losing Lee O'Connor to a second yellow late on. The defeat leaves Ireland on 10 points from their opening five qualifiers. They remain top of the group, but could be overtaken by either Iceland or Italy, who both have games in hand in Group I. Kenny made three changes from the scoreless draw with Italy in Dublin, bringing Michael Obafemi, Kameron Ledwidge and Danny Mandroiu into the team. Troy Parrott (suspended), Liam Scales and Connor Ronan were the three to make way. Iceland made a strong start in breezy conditions on the artificial pitch, with Caoimhin Kelleher being forced into an excellent save by Iceland captain Jon Dagur Porsteinsson. The breakthrough came in the 29th minute when Iceland were awarded a contentious penalty. The referee pointed to the spot after adjusting that Alex Hauksson’s shot struck O'Connor's arm inside the area, with replays suggesting it hit the defender's back. Gudjohnson, son of former Chelsea legend Eidur, kept his nerve to fire the hosts in front. Bohs star Mandroiu cleared the crossbar with two similar free kicks as the visitors hunted for an equalizer. Obafemi also tested Patrik Gunnarrson with a shot from Adam Idah's layoff. Idah then looped a header narrowly over the bar. The second half was disjointed and scrappy, and a breakthrough remained elusive for Ireland. A frustrated O'Connor was then shown his second yellow for a poor challenge on Porsteinsson. Defender Dara O’Shea had Ireland's best chance of the second period, but could only find the side-netting from Jayson Molumby's free kick. Idah also flashed a shot wide as Iceland held on to secure a crucial victory at Viking Arena. A coming together at the final whistle also resulted in a booking for skipper Molumby, who will now miss Ireland's next qualifier. "We're extremely disappointed with the result," Kenny claimed afterwards. "Looking back, the penalty looks extremely harsh and after that, Iceland made it very difficult for us. "We had a number of great chances but couldn't find the goal we needed and we've got to pick ourselves up from it. The conditions were very difficult for the players and Iceland defended very well." Next up for Kenny's men is November's double-header away to Armenia and at home to Sweden.

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