Cork City FC U19s travelled to Rome on Tuesday ahead of their Uefa Youth League Round of 16 second leg clash with their counterparts from AS Roma.
Stephen Bermingham’s squad were unfortunate to lose the first leg of the tie 3-1 in Turner’s Cross, having dominated much of the game and kept the score at 1-1 until the 86th minute of the contest, conceding a third deep in added time.
Nevertheless, the Leesiders have made the journey to the Italian capital fully aware that an early goal will open the tie back up and put the hosts back under considerable pressure.
Speaking to CorkCityFC.ie ahead of the game, Bermingham said: “The lads’ performance in the first leg was excellent from start to finish. That day will stand to them for the future and everyone in the stadium could see just how good they were.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of them as a manager, the way they played. And looking forward to the second leg, the performance in Turner’s Cross means we’re looking for a similar standard of performance against a top class academy.”
Goals from Davide Frattesi, Edoardo Soleri and Filippo Franchi have tipped the tie in the Italians’ favour; however, striker Aaron Drinan – also on the scoresheet against HJK Helsinki in the previous round of the competition – meant Roma were forced to battle every step of the way.
“Since the last game we’ve been training five times a week. The lads have pretty much been training full-time in between studies and they’ve worked extremely hard for the last number of weeks. We’ve had a lot of in-house games and a lot of very good training sessions to prepare for this game,” the CCFC U19 boss added.
“If we can get the performance we got the last day and grab an early goal, we’ll put Roma on the back foot. After that, anything that can happen. If we go over there and match the same intensity we had in the first leg, I think it will really help.
“The crowd were a huge help for the first leg – they were a huge driving force behind the lads – but we’ve done our match analysis of the first leg and the lads could see how many chances we had and how well we really did play. They are not going to fear Roma; in fact, they are looking forward to the opportunity to see what one of the top teams in Europe can do.”
Patrick Crowley will miss the game because of the leg injury he sustained in the second leg of the club’s tie against HJK. However, Garan Manley, who was injured in the first leg of the tie against the Finnish outfit, has returned to training and is available for selection.
Match updates available via ClubApp and the club’s official Twitter account.
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Editor’s Note: Cork City U19s are the first League of Ireland club to take part of the Uefa Youth League. The competition has been won by Chelsea FC for the past two years and this season’s extended format saw CCFC included, having won the U19 National League Elite Division title in 2015. Cork City U19s beat their counterparts from HJK Helsinki 1-0 on aggregate in the first round of the competition.