Sport Soccer

Sunday 4 December 2016

Ireland v Russia: A night to forget

Published 10/10/2010 | 05:00

SHAY GIVEN 6

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His hesitancy led to the first goal, indicating that a lack of action may be taking its toll. Good delivery for the Route One plan, but variation is badly needed even if it paid off on one occasion.

JOHN O'SHEA 7

Hard to fault the Manchester United defender for any of the goals and was rock solid down his flank. Was pinned back though for the 90 minutes so wasn't able to link with Liam Lawrence for the occasional forward foray. Should be capable of another good game on Tuesday.

RICHARD DUNNE 6

He was unlucky to be whistled for foul that led to first goal and also unfortunate to put through his own goal for the third. Proved a menace when he went forward, but his absence from the back was a gamble that nearly came undone. Most important, he avoided the booking which would have put him out of the Slovakia game.

SEAN ST LEDGER 6

By his own admission, Russia were the best team he has ever played against, so he did well to stay with the pace as he did. Rightly booked for a wild challenge and unlucky to deflect Kerzhakov's shot for first goal. Must watch his step in Slovakia.

KEVIN KILBANE 5

A night to forget for Kilbane, who was caught ball-watching for the first goal and lost his man for the second. In fairness, the lack of cover from McGeady didn't help, but it may be time for younger legs to start, keeping the veteran in reserve.

LIAM LAWRENCE 5

He talked up Ireland's chances all week, but Dick Advocaat had done his homework on Lawrence and had him tightly marked so that he had no chance to shine before being replaced. Still the best free-taker and will start in Slovakia, even though he had to see the doctor afterwards with a hand injury.

GLENN WHELAN 5

Having been booked in Armenia, Whelan had to tread carefully to avoid missing Tuesday's vital game in Slovakia. Wasn't his usual aggressive self, and the Russians dominated the midfield exchanges for most of the game. Had one effort which stung Akinfeev's hands, but otherwise it was a poor return for the Stoke player.

PAUL GREEN 4

In the continued absence of Keith Andrews, Green is getting his chance to nail down a regular place, but not on this display. Left his mark on a few players, but his touch is not good enough at this level yet. Hopefully Slovakia won't be as challenging for him.

AIDEN McGEADY 5

Playing more regularly now, and in competitive Russian and Champions League games, but continuously tried to take too much out of the ball and ended up losing possession. Costly lapse of concentration for the Russians' second goal when he lost his marker.

ROBBIE KEANE 6

With so little football under his belt, how much has Ireland's scoring talisman got left in the tank for Slovakia? That's the big question after another solid 90-minute grind. Too often looked for the free instead of playing the ball on its merits.

KEVIN DOYLE 7

Fouled nearly every time he went for the ball, but Doyle (right) continued to put his body on the line. His ability in the air makes him ideal for Route One ball, but also makes the tactics predictable. Booked for a foul on Berezucky, before being replaced with a view to another hard slog on Tuesday.

SUBSTITUTES

SHANE LONG (above, for Lawrence, 61) -- Poaching skills and prodigious leap might earn more game time against Slovakia.

DARRON GIBSON (for Whelan, 65) -- Slotted in well defensively, but didn't get a chance to use his firepower.

KEITH FAHEY (for Doyle, 70)

-- Came in on the left, with Long switching to the point of the attack. Defensively sound, giving Trapattoni food for thought with a Slovak onslaught in mind.

MANAGER

Giovanni Trapattoni said he would know Advocaat's tactics after 10 minutes, yet it took him 60 minutes to make any change. Caution is good, but not when you are being overrun in midfield, and your left-wing is creaking. 5

-- SEáN RYAN

Sunday Independent

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