Deflated Northern Ireland manager Niall Curneen said yesterday’s 2-1 defeat to Israel was ‘gutting’ as his side ended their Women’s Uefa Under 17 Championship qualification campaign with a third straight defeat.
The Group 6 hosts were already out of the running for a spot in the Elite phase after losing to Finland and England and were made to pay for missed opportunities.
“When you look at the game we should have got something out of it” said Curneen.
“After the chances we had, hitting the woodwork three times and missing two penalties, it’s gutting.”
Marian Awad gave the visitors the lead after seven minutes. Northern Ireland failed to clear a corner and the Israeli playmaker fired into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Northern Ireland were back on level terms midway through the first-half when Moya Feehan punished indecision in the Israeli defence. Hollie Campbell launched a searching ball into the opposition half and Feehan headed home.
Caragh Milligan spurned the chance to give Northern Ireland the lead moments later when she failed to convert Campbell’s cross.
They were made to pay when Israel took the lead three minutes after the interval.
Defensive confusion resulted in second-half substitute Jessica Foy heading past an onrushing Nicole Adams into her own net.
The Northern Ireland girls were gifted a route back into the game when Karin Alul handled in the box after 50 minutes. Lauren Brennan stepped up, but saw her weak effort saved.
Ill-discipline from the Israeli defence gave Northern Ireland another penalty with eight minutes remaining but once again, they failed to beat the inspirational El Guamil. This time it was Campbell who was denied after another handball from Alul.
England beat Finland 4-2 to finish top of the group and both sides progress to the final stage of qualification for a place at the finals in Sweden next summer.
Northern Ireland: Adams; Quinn (Curran 73), McShane, Sheridan, McDade; McQuillan (McKane 60), Campbell, Milligan, Kivelehan (Foy 46); Brennan, Feehan
Israel: El Guamil; Achtel, Bakal, Awad, Bienstock, Darkwar (Erkaiba 71), Digalo (Amar 54), Fleiman, Ibrahim, Lugassi, Alul.
Referee: Vivian Peeters (Netherlands).