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San Marino U21 0-7 Republic of Ireland U21 - Rocco Vata scores hat-trick

Sinclair Armstrong and Giacomo Matteoni battle for possession
Sinclair Armstrong opened the scoring in the 26th minute

Celtic's Rocco Vata scored a hat-trick to help the Republic of Ireland Under-21s secure a dominant 7-0 win away to San Marino on Friday.

Vata was one of four visiting players on target to help the Republic remain on track to qualify for the 2025 European Under-21 Championship.

Sinclair Armstrong, Andrew Moran and Armstrong Oko-Flex also found the net.

Giacomo Benvenuti scored an own goal to help Jim Crawford's team keep pace with leaders Italy after six Group A games.

QPR forward 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 the visitors' advantage in the 53rd minute and it sparked a spell of five goals in 19 minutes.

Vata hit a quickfire double 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 for the Republic, who stay second and occupy a play-off berth.

Crawford's men are a point behind leaders Italy with four fixtures left to play, including September group matches with Turkey and Latvia.