Savez Gradiška AMA 0-3 Region I AMA
Two goals from Ray Whelehan inspired the Irish side to an impressive win although it was not enough to keep alive their hopes of reaching the final.
Article top media content
Two goals from Ray Whelehan and one from David Lacey earned Region I AMA an impressive victory against Savez Gradiška AMA although it was not enough to keep alive their hopes of reaching the UEFA Regions' Cup final.
A calm finish in each half from Whelehan sandwiched Lacey's 77th-minute solo effort in Samobor. The Irish side will be heading home early, though, due to Castilla y León AMA's 4-1 defeat of Kempen AMA which means the Spanish outfit would have a superior head-to-head record if the teams finish level on points in Group B.
Savez Gradiška fashioned the first chance of note when, from a Region I corner, Srdjan Barović led the counterattack, exchanged passes with Nenad Kukić and sent a shot narrowly wide. However, after Slobodan Katić had fed Siniša Stojičić on the edge of the penalty area for the latter to stab an effort at Adrian Walsh, Region I took the lead on 26 minutes.
Laurence Dunne played a perfectly weighted pass to Whelehan, who despite taking a touch which forced him wide, managed to lift the ball over Zvijezdan Račić. The Bosnian team attempted a response which was not immediately forthcoming, although they almost equalised just before the break when Kukić's effort was smartly parried by Walsh and Stojičić put the rebound wide.
Having seen the assistant referee's raised flag halt Dean Kelly's celebrations eight minutes after half-time, Region I were indebted to Ross Carrig for his last-ditch challenge on Srdjan Aničić on the hour mark. The game was opening up and after Račić denied Lacey, Region I struck twice in quick succession. Lacey, a lively presence in attack, raced into the penalty area and slotted into the corner and, with ten minutes remaining and the visitors still recovering from the shock of conceding, Whelehan beat Račić in a one-on-one situation.