Club News

Mixed bag for internationals as Daryl Dike & Semi Ajayi start in victories

Daryl Dike in action for USA (Photo: USMNT)

There were mixed fortunes for Albion's jet-setters as the international break continued ahead of the month's end.

Daryl Dike, Semi Ajayi, Jayson Molumby and Dara O'Shea all featured for their respective nations on Monday.

Molumby and O'Shea both started for the Republic of Ireland in their UEFA Euro 2024 qualification clash with France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, but they couldn't help their side to a famous victory, as they lost 1-0.

Benjamin Pavard's strike proved the difference, although the hosts could consider themselves unlucky not to earn at least a draw as France goalkeeper Mike Maignan made a string of late saves to deny the Republic of Ireland an equaliser.

That result, the first of the Irish qualifiers for the tournament, leaves Stephen Kenny's side fourth in group B.

Jayson Molumby in action against France.

Semi Ajayi's Nigeria travelled to Guinea-Bissau in the second of their double-header clash against the West African nation in AFCON qualifying.

Having lost their previous encounter 1-0, the result was reversed on Monday afternoon as the Super Eagles claimed the only goal of the game to earn victory.

Ajayi started, and played the full 90 minutes at centre back, having come on in the previous fixture.

Moses Simon's penalty kick proved the difference, helping lift Nigeria back to the top of group A with four games played.

They will now face their final two fixtures of qualification in the summer, with Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe awaiting.

Daryl Dike's USA had a day to remember in Orlando, the former home of the Albion striker, as they secured their place in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals with a 1-0 win over El Salvador.

Dike made his first start for the USA since July 2021 at the Exploria Stadium, and played an hour before being replaced by Ricardo Pepi - who went on to score the winner in the 62nd minute.

Dike had almost forced the opener earlier in the second half, having seen a cross inadvertently nodded goalwards by Nelson Blanco, only for Roberto Domínguez to clear off the line.

However, Pepi's goal proved the difference as the USA made it three wins from four in group D, and booked themselves a place in Las Vegas for the finals of the competition, which take place in June.

That wasn't the only international action featuring Albion players over recent days, with Josh Griffiths and Reyes Cleary both part of England's U21s and U19s over the break.

Cleary came on from the bench in the U19s' 1-0 defeat to Iceland on Saturday, replacing Omari Nathan Forson on the 71st minute.

He couldn't cancel out Orri Óskarsson's 50th-minute spot kick though, as the Young Lions missed out on the chance to go top of their group in UEFA European U19 Championship qualifying.

Meanwhile, Griffiths was an unused substitute as England's U21s claimed a dominant 4-0 win over France in a friendly clash over the weekend.

Emile Smith-Rowe, Noni Madueke, Curtis Jones and Jacob Ramsey all found the back of the net in the comfortable triumph for the Young Lions.

England's U19s and U21s see out their international breaks with fixtures against Turkey and Croatia respectively, in which both Albion men will hope to play a part.

Lead photo credit: USMNT.