Sunday 17 December 2017

Game at a glance

David kelly

Man of the match

Shane Long

The Reading man has developed into a realistic option to play up front in Ireland's next qualifier. Trapattoni will have to decide whether to dump the out-of-form Robbie Keane and twin the Tipp man with Kevin Doyle.

Magic moment

Sean St Ledger demonstrated that he has the scoring knack in qualifiers as, after netting against Italy last year, he once again pounced here only to see a familiar pattern emerge, as Ireland ceded their advantage.

Turning point

Keane's penalty miss dampened Irish spirits before half-time and his late miss could have stolen a win in this joust between two average sides.

Talking point

Trap's men came into this game under severe pressure and they will rue this chance to put some daylight between themselves and their closest rivals for second place.

Referee watch

Alberto Undiano Malenco didn't do the home side any favours, especially with the overly generous penalty award at the end of the first half.

Manager watch

Trap came into this series hoping to secure four points from six; that he has only one to show for the exercise will heap further pressure on him.

Crowd watch

A large portion of the 1,100 Irish fans in the 12,000-seater stadium were buoyed by a free bar on the Bratislava-Zilina train, courtesy of FAI CEO John Delaney -- reportedly chaired upon their shoulders by the boozed-up fans. Their support was relentless.

Irish Independent

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