Sport Soccer

Thursday 23 November 2017

Russia leave Irish World Cup hopes in tatters

Ireland 1 Russia 3

Valentina Orlova, Russia, in action against Fiona O'Sullivan, Republic of Ireland
Valentina Orlova, Russia, in action against Fiona O'Sullivan, Republic of Ireland
Ksenia Tsybutovich, Russia, in action against Denise O'Sullivan, Republic of Ireland
A dejected Diane Caldwell, Republic of Ireland, following her side's defeat

John Fallon

IRELAND'S World Cup qualification ambitions are in ruins after they fell five points behind play-off rivals Russia last night at Tallaght Stadium.

Hopes were high for Sue Ronan's side following their narrow defeat to Germany last month but they failed to recover from conceding twice early on. Ireland's troubles began in the fifth minute when they were caught on the counter-attack.

Russia forced a corner and Elena Morozova found the unmarked Ekaterina Sochneva from eight yards out who headed past Emma Byrne.

It didn't take long for the home defence to be exposed once again when Sochneva was afforded space to surge down the left. Her cross along the six-yard box was tapped in by the sliding Ekaterina Pantyukhina.

Completely outplayed in midfield by then, Ireland manager Sue Ronan introduced Stephanie Roche for her Peamount team-mate Dora Gorman midway through the half.

The switch contributed to them reducing the deficit as Roche teed up Áine O'Gorman to cross from the right on 35 minutes and Fiona O'Sullivan volleyed the loose ball home after Russia could only half clear the delivery.

Russia failed to get rattled by that concession and promptly regained their two-goal cushion eight minutes later, albeit from more Irish generosity.

Sochneva's left-wing cross seemed under control until Ireland defender Sophie Perry chose to head the ball straight to Pantyukhina on the edge of the box. The Russian striker capitalised by drilling a low shot beyond Byrne.

IRELAND – Byrne (Arsenal); De Burca (Galway WFC), Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Perry (Millwall); Smyth (Amazon Grimstad), Gorman (Peamount United); O'Gorman (Peamount United), D O'Sullivan (Glasgow City), Russell (Peamount United); F O'Sullivan (SC Frieburg).

Subs: Roche (Peamount United) for Gorman (23), Killeen (Raheny United) for O'Gorman (70), Littlejohn (Sandviken) for Russell (88).

RUSSIA – Todua (Kochneva, 23); Dmitrenko, Tsybutovich, Orlova, Medved; Sidorovskaya (Makarenko, 85), Petrova; Terekhova, Morozova (Korovkima, 89, Sochneva; Pantyukhina.

Ref – T Mitsi (Greece)

Irish Independent

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