Nagjee Cup: Shamrock keeps semi-finals hopes alive

Shamrock Rovers, which has bounced back admirably after losing to Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the opening game, has six points now, but should be worried about its goal difference, which is zero.

Shamrock Rovers F.C. player Killian Brennan (11) scores a goal against Argentina U23 in the Nagjee international club football tournament   -  S. Ramesh Kurup

Killian Brennan bent one like Beckham to power Shamrock Rovers to a badly needed victory against Argentina Under-23 at the Mahindra & Mahindra Sait Nagjee international football tournament. The 1-0 win at the Corporation Stadium has ensured the Irish remained in the race for a berth in the semi-finals.

Shamrock, which has bounced back admirably after losing to Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the opening game, has six points now, but should be worried about its goal difference, which is zero. The Ukrainians are on top of Group B, with six points and a goal difference of plus four.

Only its match on Tuesday against TSV 1860 Munich, the last one in the league phase, will determine which teams would qualify for the knock-out stage. It is difficult to see Dnipro, which has played the most consistent football here, going out; for that to happen, it would have to lose by a margin of five goals or more.

The Irish would rather be hoping Dnipro would at least draw that match, which is a must-win for TSV. The Germans, boasting some promising young talents, have three points and a goal difference of plus two.

The Argentines would go home disappointed, without a point and without scoring a goal in any of their three matches. They did get a few opportunities to set that record straight on this night, but were done by their poor finishing yet again.

They could not even make use of a few well-taken corner kicks. Two of those corner kicks came within the first 16 minutes.

The opening half was not merely goalless, but devoid of exciting action, as well. It didn’t get much better in the second half, either. It did get a lot rougher though, as the match produced half-a-dozen yellow cards.

Yet, the match would be remembered for that superb kick in the 67th minute by Killian Brennan, who had come in as a substitute for Gavin Brennan in the first half. From just outside the box, he curled the ball in to the left-corner. He was also named the Man-of-the-Match.

On Monday, in the last Group A encounter, England’s Watford takes on Volyn Lutsk of Ukraine.

The result: Shamrock Rovers 1 (Killian Brennan 67) bt Argentina Under-23 0.