Cruel end for Ferguson as Euros dream dies

Evan Ferguson suffered play-off disappointment
Evan Ferguson suffered play-off disappointment

Evan Ferguson suffered cruel defeat with the Republic of Ireland.

The teenage Albion striker and his colleagues missed out on a place at the European Under-21 Championship finals after they were beaten on penalties by Israel.

Jim Crawford’s side had been hoping to qualify for the tournament for the first time but were denied 3-1 on spot-kicks after a goalless draw in Tel Aviv meant their play-off ended 1-1 on aggregate.

Tyreik Wright, Ferguson and Dawson Devoy all failed to score in the shoot-out at the Bloomfield Stadium.

Ferguson saw his effort saved as he went down the middle.

He had gone on as sub after a minor ankle issue was reported following the first leg, in which he scored.

Israel had gone into the game as favourites after drafting senior players Liel Abada of Celtic, Maccabi Netanya midfielder Eden Karzev and Olympiacos defender Doron Leidner into their squad.

All three, who played against Albania in the Nations League on Saturday, started the winner-takes-all clash.