Saturday 14 December 2019

Martin O'Neill hails 'outstanding' Cyrus Christie after USA win

Republic of Ireland manager was delighted to end a disappointing week with a 4-1 victory over Jurgen Klinsmann's USA at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland changed all 11 starters from Friday's 1-0 defeat by Scotland in European Championship qualifying and went ahead in the seventh minute when Anthony Pilkington chipped U.S. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

Mix Diskerud equalized in the 39th after Jozy Altidore's cross was headed to him by Chris Wondolowski.

Robbie Brady restored Ireland's lead in the 55th after he got behind the defense and scored from seven yards. James McClean made it 3-1 in the 82nd with a shot that deflected off defender Geoff Cameron and past Hamid.

Brady scored his second of the night with a 25-yard free kick in the 86th.

O'Neill was clearly pleased after the game but he was particularly taken by the performance of debutant Cyrus Christie at right-back.

"It was very nice, nice to score goals and nice to play well. There were some excellent individual performances," he told Setanta Sports.

"I thought Cyrus Christie was excellent. He's a lot to live up to in that position with Seamus Coleman (normally there). He had a brilliant debut, really brilliant.

"I've seen a lot of him in recent months and I knew he would do well.

"He made a couple of early mistakes but he got over them but I thought he was outstanding, particularly in the second half."

O'Neill's Ireland record now stands at five wins, four losses and four draws but he is more concerned over what happens in qualifiers than in friendlies.

"The matches that concern me are the games that we play at a competitive level," he added.

"I got into the job, you've got to have a look at matches, some of the matches we lost, certainly Serbia at home, we had great chances to win that game and Turkey, they are immaterial."

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