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Ireland end Italy's winning streak

Italy 2-2 Republic of Ireland
The Azzurri's impeccable record in Group 7 came to a halt after they surrendered a two-goal advantage.

The Republic of Ireland's Greg Cunningham wheels away in celebration
The Republic of Ireland's Greg Cunningham wheels away in celebration ©Sportsfile

Italy dropped their first points in Group 7 of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying round as they conceded a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with the Republic of Ireland.

The visitors led after three minutes at the Showgrounds in Sligo after Shane Duffy deflected an Alessandro Florenzi free-kick past Ian McLoughlin, his own goalkeeper. Ciro Immobile looked to have secured a sixth straight win for Ciro Ferrara's side in the group when he unleashed an unstoppable 30-metre strike in the 56th minute but the Irish soon fought back.

Robbie Brady's penalty – after a Mattia Destro handball – reduced the deficit in the 67th minute and four minutes later the same player swung in a free-kick that captain Greg Cunningham turned home.

Italy ended the match with ten men when Marco Verratti was shown a straight red card for a tackle from behind in added time. Despite the outcome Italy remain four points clear at the Group 7 summit, while Noel King's Irish sit third, two points behind second-placed Turkey but with two games in hand.

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