Tuesday 21 November 2017

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Shay Given

Despite not playing for three weeks and with worries about a persistent knee problem, the Donegal netminder only needed 45 minutes to remind Irish fans of his priceless value with a hat-trick of world-class saves.

Magic moment

Few and far between on a night when Ireland toiled in front of goal; their best work was done in defence, Stephen Ward's first-half block the highlight of a series of last-ditch scrambles.

Turning point

None of much consequence, unless one asserts that Hungary had the chances to smash Ireland's unbeaten record into smithereens, undermining confidence ahead of the Euros opener.

Talking point

Jonathan Walters' late cameo, under anyone else's watch, may have spurred a manager into rearranging his plans for the next outing. Not Trapattoni, though. The watching Slaven Bilic will have seen little to frighten his confident Croatian side, apart from Ireland's redoubtable defensive spirit.

Crowd watch

A 350-strong Irish contingent -- 150 of whom received free tickets from the FAI -- braved the elements amongst the 10,000 or so crowd and aired a throaty rendition of "You'll never beat the Irish". Their closing "ooh ah Paul McGrath" chants reflected the glorious past, not the uncertain future.

Ref watch

Dane Kenn Hansen was forced to hold back the players for 15 minutes as lightning threatened to force an abandonment; ultimately his decision to proceed was fully justified and little more fussiness was attached to his evening's work.

Match statistics

Yellow cards: Hungary 1 (Korcsmar 43); Ireland 1 (Ward 58)

Red cards: Hungary 0; Ireland 0

Shots on target: Hungary 6; Ireland 2

Corners: Hungary 8; Ireland 3

What's next?

Ireland play Croatia in their opening Euro 2012 Group C encounter in Poznan on Sunday, at 7.45.

Irish Independent

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