Rocco Vata bags hat-trick as Republic of Ireland U21s put seven past San Marino

Celtic’s Rocco Vata struck a hat-trick to help Republic of Ireland Under-21s claim an excellent 7-0 win away to San Marino.

Vata was one of four Irish players on target to help the nation stay on track to qualify for the 2025 European Under-21 Championship.

Sinclair Armstrong, Andrew Moran and Armstrong Oko-Flex also found the net, while Giacomo Benvenuti scored an own goal to help Jim Crawford’s team keep pace with leaders Italy after six Group A fixtures.

QPR attacker Armstrong opened the scoring in San Marino after 26 minutes and while it remained 1-0 until half-time, the floodgates soon opened.

Moran doubled Ireland’s advantage in the 53rd minute, and it sparked a spell of five goals in 19 minutes.

Vata hit a quickfire brace after San Marino’s Benvenuti had put through his own net before Oko-Flex made it 6-0.

There was still time for Celtic attacker Vata to complete his hat-trick in stoppage time to cap a satisfactory night at the office for Ireland, who stay second and occupy a play-off berth.

Crawford’s men are a point behind leaders Italy with four fixtures left to play ahead of September group matches with Turkey and Latvia.


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