Sunday 18 February 2018

The game at a glance

Aiden McGeady: May seem trite to offer up a Man of the Match in such a risible representation of international sport but we'll plump for the Spartak Moscow man, in the vain hope he may now retain this consistency against better opposition.

Talking point

Stephen Ward's yellow card now takes him out of the equation for the game against Armenia and, with Kevin Kilbane injured, Ireland must reshuffle their defensive pack. Expect John O'Shea to go to left-back, with Stephen Kelly on the opposite flank while Richard Dunne returns from suspension.

Ref watch

Libor Kovarik had little to disturb him except to scribble some notes in his little black book and calm down McGeady after a tussle with his marker. The Czech with the curious jogging gait correctly booked Ward for simulation.

Crowd watch

As many Irish supporters remained stranded in Barcelona having given up all hope of securing a ticket, 150 lucky Irish fans -- and a John Delaney-organised raffle -- augmented the 200 who already had tickets, ensuring almost half the stadium's capacity were green-clad.

And finally...

Armenia will be a danger to Ireland's ambitions of reaching a play-off. Eight goals in their last two games represent a team on fire and they will be brimming with confidence heading into the Aviva showdown. Ireland could have done with a better performance to inject some momentum.

Match statistics

Yellow cards: Andorra 2 (Martinez 18, Ayala 67); Ireland 1 (Ward 31)

Red cards: Ireland 0; Andorra 0

Shots on target: Andorra 3; Ireland 5 Shots off target: Andorra 3; Ireland 8

Corners: Andorra 2; Ireland 9

Fouls Committed: Andorra 14; Ireland 15

Possession: Andorra 29pc, Ireland 71pc

Attendance: 850

Irish Independent

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