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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 26 May, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick of is at 5pm Irish time.

Here’s the Ireland team to play Georgia: Randolph, Christie, Clark, Duffy, Ward, Whelan (c), Arter, Brady, McClean, Walters, Long.

What do you think? Should Wes Hoolahan have started?

Ireland’s subs have also been confirmed: Westwood, Elliot, O’Shea, Keogh, McGeady, Murphy, O’Dowda, K. Long, Hoolahan, Hourihane, Meyler, Hayes.

“We want a really disciplined performance,” says Liam Brady on RTÉ, who adds that putting Brady at left-back to accommodate Wes Hoolahan would have been more adventurous selection.

Interesting stat on Wes Hoolahan from RTÉ.

Ireland get 2.15 points on average when he starts and 1.32 points when he doesn’t.

The temperature is sufficiently low that the referee has decided there now won’t be water breaks, according to RTÉ.


Shane Duffy loses possession and Georgia are on the attack.

However, Ananidze, who is regarded as a key player for Georgia, overhits his cross.


Christie lofts a free kick in and Duffy gets to the ball ahead of the goalkeeper to head home.

Great start for Ireland.


The goalkeeper took a bit of a knock as he went up for the ball with Duffy.

The Georgians might feel aggrieved that they didn’t get a free kick there.


Georgia have had a decent spell of possession since the goal, but haven’t created a clear-cut chance yet.

Ireland are already sitting quite deep and inviting pressure.


Brady curls a free kick towards goal, but it’s slightly overhit and misses everybody.

Not bad at all so far for Ireland.


Ananidze’s been getting on the ball quite a bit of late and dictating play.

The Spartak Moscow star is certainly a player Ireland need to be wary of.


Ireland have a chance to counter-attack.

Long gets the ball but overhits an attempted pass to McClean.

As predicted, it hasn’t been pretty to watch.


Good pressure from McClean forces the goalkeeper to slice the ball out for a throw-in.

Ireland have been solid rather than spectacular so far.


Georgia are controlling the game now.

A deflected cross just misses the lurking Kvilitaia.

Down the other end, McClean heads a decent chance wide from a Walters cross.


Randolph is forced to parry away a dangerous cross, as Georgia threaten again.

Ireland just can’t keep the ball at the moment, and the hosts are growing increasingly dominant.


Arter gives the ball away very cheaply after receiving it from Christie.

Ireland are treating the ball like a hot potato at the moment.


Ireland are going to find this difficult to maintain for 90 minutes.

They’ve been consistently chasing the ball and allowing the hosts to dominate.


Better from Ireland.

Brady carries the ball forward before playing it to the onrushing McClean, who is subsequently tripped by the defender.

However, the subsequent set piece is easily cleared by Georgia.


Georgia equalise and it’s been coming.

The hosts play a few neat passes and Qazaishvili finds himself through on goal, before finishing clinically.


Kvekveskiri gets booked for a late challenge on McClean.

This is a big 10 minutes for Ireland.


Ananidze’s shot is deflected into the hands of Randolph.

Georgia are still well on top and Ireland badly need the half-time break.


A free kick is headed on by Duffy, before the Georgian defender heads clear for a corner.

Duffy’s header from the subsequent corner is saved by Makaridze.

A set piece looks like Ireland’s only real chance of a goal.


Dunphy: “I can’t think of a worse Irish performance. It’s shocking.”


According to RTÉ, Georgia had 76% possession in that first half.

The hosts completed 351 passes compared to 79 passes for Ireland.


The second half is under way…


Ireland hammer a long ball up the field straight from kick-off.

Looks like not much will change  in terms of style for this half anyway.


Ananidze shoots just wide of the post from the edge of the area.

The Spartak Moscow man has been the best player on the pitch so far.


Georgia continue to dominate possession with Ireland chasing shadows.

At the moment, the 29th-ranked team in the world are being outclassed by the 112th-ranked team in the world.


At the moment, Ireland are clinging on to the ball.

Georgia are being made to look like Barcelona.


McClean’s attempted cross is deflected out for a corner — Ireland’s second of the game.

Brady’s subsequent ball in is just missed by Duffy.


Georgia have had 76% possession so far.

As I type, Arter’s shoots straight at Makaridze from the edge of the area.


Aiden McGeady replaces Harry Arter.

It’s not Wes Hoolahan, as many people would have hoped, but it’s a positive change by Ireland.


Jighauri gets booked for cynically taking down McClean.

Ireland have been a bit better in recent minutes.


Valeri Kazaishvili celebrates scoring Georgia's Valeri Kazaishvili celebrates scoring their first goal of the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


Christie finds himself in a decent position on the right but there is no Ireland player in the box to challenge for the ball in.

There’s been a distinct lack of ambition shown by Ireland today.


Ireland counter-attack.

Christie’s cross finds Long, who can’t hit the target with his header.


Whelan plays an overly ambitious ball that goes straight out of play.

This has been dire from Ireland.


McGeady beats his man and carries the ball forward, but his eventual shot is straight at the defender.

Moments later, Brady tests the keeper with a long-range drive.

Better from Ireland.


Good spell now for Georgia.

Out of the two teams, the hosts are looking more likely to get the winner.


McClean beats his man, but the West Brom winger’s cross is parried out by Makaridze.

Meanwhile, Daryl Murphy has replaced Glenn Whelan.


Brady crosses but it’s straight into Makaridze’s arms.

A late winner for Ireland now wouldn’t really be deserved given how poorly they have played.


Ireland have five minutes plus stoppage time to prevent a result that would be a big blow to their qualification hopes.


Big chance for Ireland.

McClean runs through on goal after good work by Long, but the goalkeeper makes a block with his legs before gathering the ball on the rebound.


Georgia continue to dominate the ball.

You get the impression they would be happy enough with a point though.

As I type, Dvalishvili fires a shot wide.


There will be four minutes of injury time…


Murphy heads on to McGeady from a free kick.

The Sunderland man can’t get the ball down quickly enough though, and shoots well over.


So Ireland’s 100% record against Georgia ends.

A poor display from Ireland in which they were outplayed by the hosts for long periods.

What’s worse is that a draw really flatters Ireland.

That’s all from me for now but there’ll be plenty more reaction to follow.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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