Sport Soccer

Friday 19 January 2018

How they rated

Seán Ryan

SHAY GIVEN: Making his 113th appearance, had to endure some laser treatment from the crowd, but he kept his cool, making excellent saves, especially when Pandev got through one-onone. Suffered a groin injury which required treatment and a half-time injection but soldiered on. 8


Chosen ahead of McShane, Foley and Coleman, all of whom had more first-team football in the past season, he was lucky to escape injury from a late Pandev challenge. Got great cover from the backtracking Hunt, and so was rarely exposed. 6


Left out of his club's Champions League final squad, he was taking over from Richard Dunne as the rock of the Irish defence, but found it difficult to pin down the elusive Pandev. On the ball delivered some penetrating long passes, but was lucky when he gave away a penalty Trickovski missed. 5


A mistimed jump flattened Naumoski, who had to be replaced, and he was in turn flattened by Given as the 'keeper punched clear. Showed his inexperience on occasion and distribution was poor. Will have benefitted from this tough competitive game and is likely to get more chances under Trapattoni. 5


Making his 66th successive competitive appearance, he showed all his experience by covering well for his centrebacks, and regularly used his aerial prowess to clear his lines. Probably made more clearances than all the other defenders together.



Started on the left and made tracks to end line on occasion but his crosses left a lot to be desired. Made a couple of good runs inside, but tended to overplay the ball. Got more attacking opportunities in the second half, but end product, apart from a couple of corners, was missing. 6


Another in the wars following a clash of heads. Did his best work defensively in front of the back four. Fired an exocet free which the goalkeeper couldn't hold, but no Irish forward was available to capitalise. His strength on the ball was evident throughout.



His first minute shot was off target, but generally his passing was sound, although he didn't get on the ball as often as he would have liked. An ever present in Trap's plans and will retain his confidence even if this was not one of his better days.



Started on the right and was also in the wars early on. Put his body on the line to make a good block, and his terrier-like play made sure that Popov's forward threat was curtailed. Sacrificed his attacking game to take care of Popov but was a key component of rare away win. 7


A master class in finishing from Ireland's captain. Took the first chance that came his way with the help of a deflection, and then scored a typical poacher's goal for his second, nipping in to avail of a defender's error. In between he put Cox through for goal ruled out for dubious offside. 9


A surprise choice ahead of the more experienced — at this level — Shane Long, he found it hard to make an impression as the aerial game didn't favour him. Unlucky to get a yellow card after scoring when called back for dubious offside.



For Cox, 64m. Not on long enough to rate.


Giovanni Trapattoni's gamble on a new centre-back partnership nearly came unstuck on a number of occasions, but his decision to put the combative Hunt on the dangerous Popov paid off in spades. 7

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