Republic of Ireland secured an important point against Italy as they remain unbeaten and top of the group in their UEFA European Championships qualifying campaign.
Both sides ended the game with ten men as Moise Kean was sent off for Italy and Republic of Ireland striker Troy Parrott was shown a yellow card after an altercation in the second-half.
Whilst Italy dominated much of the possession in the first-half, it was Ireland who created the better chances.
First, with 18 minutes on the clock, Adam Idah pounced on a long-ball forward before he found Jayson Molumby who knocked down for Parrott and he forced an impressive save out of Marco Carnesecchi.
Five minutes later, Connor Ronan almost marked his return to the team with a goal. Once again, Molumby’s fantastic pass found Idah who held off the defence to supply Ronan and his 20-yard effort was parried away.
The most dramatic moment of the game came in the 63rd minute as both sides were reduced to ten men. An altercation between Moise Kean and Troy Parrott saw Kean receive a straight red card before Parrott was shown a second yellow card.
Ireland continued to create chances as Molumby’s free-kick found O’Shea and after Liam Scales’ touch, O’Shea’s shot was well saved in the 72nd minute.
Ireland’s final chance of the game came with ten minutes to go as Jason Knight was fouled on the edge of the area and after Conor Coventry touched the ball, Molumby’s free-kick was tipped over the bar by the Italian keeper.
A record attendance for an Ireland U-21 match of 7231 witnessed Ireland secure a crucial point to remain unbeaten and top of the group.
“We’re disappointed with the result really as there is a real sense in the dressing room that we should have won the match,” said U-21 boss Stephen Kenny.
“It shows us how far we’ve came in such a short time that we competing with the first seeds in the group and one of the best teams in Europe.
“It was a fantastic crowd this evening, a record and they really got behind the team which was great to see.”
Republic of Ireland: Kelleher (GK), O’Connor, Masterson, O’Shea, Coventry, Elbouzedi (Obafemi 68), Molumby (C) (Kilkenny 85), Idah, Parrott, Ronan (Knight 62), Scales.
Italy: Carnesecca (GK), Pellegrini, Tonali, Bastoni, Frattesi, Carraro (Sottil 68), Pinamonti (Cutrone 46), (Scamacca 46) Del Prato, Marchizza (Adjapong 23), Locatelli (C).
Referee: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
Red Card(s): Kean, Parrott.