Northern Ireland fell to defeat to Romania in their second UEFA U19 European Championship elite round qualifier in France.
U19 Euro 2023 Elite Qualifying Round – Group 1
Northern Ireland U19s 1-3 Romania U19s
Northern Ireland U19s: Callum Marshall (pen 58')
Romania U19s: Sebastian Borza (43', 75'), Adrian Mazilu (90')
Stade Jacques-Mazzuca, Saran
Saturday 25 March 2023
This was the second of the U19 team's games in Group 1 of elite round qualifying for this year's UEFA U19 European Championship.
Northern Ireland lost their opening game by a single goal to hosts France, while Romania lost 4-0 to Norway.
Manager Gerard Lyttle made a number of changes, bringing Josh Roney, Sean Brown, Aaron Prendergast and Dylan Sloan into the starting XI.
Nottingham Forest midfielder Jamie McDonnell was named captain for the game.
How it happened
Romania started brightly, forcing keeper Josh Clarke into an early save to deal with a shot from Rareș Burnete, while Rares Pop failed to hit the target a short time later.
At the other end Tommy Fogarty was denied by David Dincă before a Sean Brown effort went wide a few minutes after that.
Romania forced a series of corners midway through the first half, all without success, with Răzvan Pașcalău then seeing an effort dealt with by Clarke, followed quickly by a David Maftei attempt.
Northern Ireland skipper Jamie McDonnell had a shot on goal saved just after the half-hour mark but, just a minute after that, he was dismissed by Croatian referee Ante Čulina following a challenge on Alin Boțogan, for which he collected his second booking of the game.
Romania looked to make their numerical advantage count with Denis Bujor twice teasing a save out of Clarke before, two minutes from the break, they moved in front through Sebastian Borza after he got on the end of an Alexandru Musi corner.
And they almost doubled their lead in first half stoppage time only for Bujor to strike the woodwork with another effort.
Half-time: Northern Ireland U19s 0-1 Romania U19s
Gerard Lyttle's side responded well after the break and duly levelled just before the hour mark after Callum Marshall converted from the spot following a Borza foul on half-time substitute Rio Oudnie-Morgan.
Marshall threatened again soon after but found Dincă equal to the challenge, while the Romanian keeper also denied Oudnie-Morgan a few minutes later.
It was entertaining game. Adrian Grigore-Huideș had a shot saved at one end before play switched for Darren Robinson to test Dincă again.
However, the Romanians gained the upper hand again with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining through Borza's second of the game which, like the opener, came as a result of a Musi corner.
Seeking a third goal, Romania came close with three minutes remaining when Musi struck the woodwork before Maftei had another shot on goal.
But they did grab their third right at the end of normal time when substitute Atanas Trică teed Adrian Mazilu up to direct the ball past Clarke.
Full-time: Northern Ireland U19s 1-3 Romania U19s
Northern Ireland U19s: Josh Clarke, Joshua Roney, Tommy Fogarty, Daithi McCallion, Sean Brown (Jamie Doran 46'), Jamie McDonnell, Darren Robinson (Conor Falls 86'), Aaron Wightman, Aaron Prendergast (Conor Scannell 37'), Callum Marshall, Dylan Sloan (Rio Oudnie-Morgan 46'). Subs not used: Pierce Charles, Mackenzie Kirk, Sam Glenfield.
Romania U19s: David Dincă, David Maftei, Adrian Grigore-Huideș, Răzvan Pașcalău, Sebastian Borza, Alin Boțogan (Vlasti Martinovic 64'), Cătălin Vulturar (David Sala 85'), Denis Bujor (Adrian Mazilu 64'), Rares Pop (Atanas Trică 77'), Rareș Burnete (Eduard Rădăslăvescu 85'), Alexandru Musi. Subs not used: Stefan Lefter, Robert Sălceanu, Márk Kovács, Stefan Duțu.