Sport Soccer

Saturday 17 March 2018

Player Ratings

Shay Given 6

The Donegal man was a calming presence in the early stages, but was powerless to prevent Jan Durica's headed equaliser. Called into action in second half to smartly push away long range Hubocan attempt.

John O'Shea 6

The most assured of the Irish back four on Friday, although that wasn't saying much. Always calm under fire, but was given a few difficult moments in the second half here. Tried to get forward when the moment presented itself.

Richard Dunne 7

Steady touches amid early pressure and tried to set the tone with some relaxed passes from the back. Released McGeady for penalty incident. Brilliant tackle on Hamsik at start of second half, yet a sloppy pass to Given almost let Slovaks in. Made another important late block.

Sean St Ledger 6

A mixed first half for St Ledger, who scored the opener and started quite well before suffering a couple of nervous moments in the period after his own strike. Regrouped after the interval and kept the head under pressure.

Kevin Kilbane 6

Involved in a bit of verbals early on as Slovakia tried to advance down his flank. Generally played the percentages as hosts applied second half pressure, conceding throws and corners where necessary rather than doing anything daft.

Keith Fahey 7

First touch was a cushioned back pass to Given under pressure, an encouraging start that he followed up by delivering the free-kick to break deadlock and then almost adding second. Faded out of the game a little bit and limped off with 20 minutes left.

Glenn Whelan 6

The Stoke man was scathing of his own display at the weekend, and won't be happy with his role in Slovakian equaliser, switching off as the corner was flicked on. Some bright moments, but toiled in early stages of second half as white shirts took control.

Paul Green 5

The Derby man was sloppy with his first couple of touches before enjoying a good period around the midpoint of first half as Ireland took the lead, although he was berated by Trapattoni for slowing down a promising counter. Injury ended night early

Aiden McGeady 8

Probably Ireland's most effective player on the night, with his blistering pace enough to win the penalty from the advancing Mucha. Caused Zabavnik headaches throughout the evening, and defended well when required. Just needs to work on the final ball.

Shane Long 8

Eager display from the Reading man, who produced a few salmon leaps in early exchanges and won the free kick that led to St Ledger's strike. Pace caused problems before break and engaged in wrestling match with Durica thereafter. Good show.

Robbie Keane 5

Failed to produce when it mattered on the evening. Judged a few half chances wrong in the first half before unconvincing penalty was stopped by Mucha. Quiet after interval until late chance to strike presented itself. Alas, he missed. Lack of sharpness evident.

Giovanni Trapattoni 6

Went with the same system, but his players showed a more positive approach in the early exchanges. However, the lack of options on the bench exposes selection policy. Much work to do between now and March, but this is a respectable result.

Darron Gibson (for Green 41 minutes) 5

Showed for the ball and tried to make an impact, but was ponderous in his defensive duties and just seemed a yard short of what was required.

Andy Keogh (for Fahey, 70 minutes) 5

Difficult time to come into game with Ireland on the defensive. The Cardiff man did win a late free and put himself about while also supporting O'Shea.

Irish Independent

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