Ireland’s aim to become the first ever baack to back winners of the UEFA Regions Cup is firmly alive as they qualified for the final in Istanbul after a fantastic 4-1 win over Czech Republic side Olomouc. Stephen Kelly put Ireland ahead just after the twentieth minute but the were pegged back by Navratil ten minutes before half time.
This would not deter the Irish and they found themselves in front again just four minutes later when Eoin Hayes found the target. Hayes doubled the Irish lead five minutes into the second half and Jimmy Carr ended the game as a contest with seven minutes remaining.
The Irish result meant that they needed a favour from their Russian counterparts against Spain and this didn’t look likely when Garcia Puente put the Spanish two goals to the good by half time. Just as Ireland needed a miracle Nastashev pulled one back for the Russians with twenty-five minutes remaining. Russia then equalised from the spot with fourteen minutes remaining as Khodzhumyan slotted the penalty home with ease. Russia completed the comeback when Sokolov scored deep in injury time to send the Spaniards home and in turn Ireland to the final where they could face either Zagreb, Istanbul or Lisboa.
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