Friday 15 December 2017

Trapattoni misses Brady's super show

IRELAND U-21 2
LIECHTENSTEIN U-21 0
UEFA U-21 C'SHIP QUALIFiER

ROBBIE BRADY'S love affair with the Showgrounds continued last night as he put Liechtenstein to the sword.

The Manchester United winger, flourishing on loan at Hull City, had scored three times on his previous two outings for Ireland at the home of Sligo Rovers.

This time, in front of a crowd of just over 2,000, he opened the scoring on 13 minutes from the penalty spot, and then set up a second for Aidan White eight minutes before the break.

At this rate, Brady must be wondering if he might get a chance to prove his worth at senior level before the Euro 2012 finals.

Sadly, however, once again neither Giovanni Trapattoni nor any of his back-room team were present to check out the young guns with an eye to the future.

For now, it seems Brady is happy in his own skin. Alex Ferguson wants to extend the Dubliner's contract at Old Trafford and, with Darron Gibson seemingly on his way out, Brady could soon be Ireland's only hope with the Premier League champions.

Decision

Noel King's decision to stick with the same starting line-up which beat Liechtenstein 4-1 on their travels last month was certainly vindicated as Ireland were utterly dominant throughout.

Within 12 seconds, the visitors defence was exposed and only a late intervention by defender Fabian Eberle prevented Conor Clifford tapping the ball home from close range.

The dominance was too much for Liechtenstein to handle and Olcay Gur was penalised for dragging James Collins to the ground on 13 minutes as the pair challenged for a White cross.

Collins had netted a hat-trick last time out but left the spot-kick duties to Brady, who sent the 'keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.

The Irish sensed more goals and continued to press home their territorial advantage. Greg Cunningham got forward from left-back to flash his volley just over and Brady, from the other wing, veered a rocket wide of the far post.

Brady then embarked on a mazy dribble through the middle, taking out three defenders in the process, before teeing up winger White to score his first international goal for Ireland.

Liechtenstein hadn't mustered even a shot on goal in that opening half and the one-way traffic was maintained by Ireland following the turnaround.

Cunningham strode forward but scuffed his shot wide on the hour before Adam Barton was similarly profligate with an effort he sent a yard off-target.

The victory pushes Ireland to within three points of co-leaders Italy and Turkey, whom they host in the space of two months next summer.

During the eight-month interim, King intends to arrange at least one friendly match. Fortunately for him, and the team, he'll likely have Brady at his disposal.

IRELAND -- I McLoughlin (MK Dons); M Connolly (Bolton), S Duffy (Scunthorpe), R Kiernan (Wigan), G Cunningham (Man City); R Towell (Hibernian), C Clifford (Yeovil Town), A Barton (Preston); R Brady (Hull ), J Collins (Shrewsbury), A White (Leeds). Subs: Sheppard (Shamrock Rvs) for Collins (72), Hendrick (Derby ) for Barton (81), Greene (Sligo Rvs) for Clifford (86).

LIECHTENSTEIN -- Caluori; Hanselmann, Gur, Flatz, F Eberle; Kieber, L Eberle, Ospelt, Hasler; Wieser, Pirker. Sub: Brandle for Ospelt (86).

REF -- E Hoxha (Alb).

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