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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 13 December, 2019
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Game 3 – here we go!

After making a winning start to their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign, Ireland are looking to pick up their third win on the bounce when they take to the field against Greece in Panionios, Athens, this afternoon.

This is their first away game of the qualifiers and their last game of 2019 as Vera Pauw’s side look to keep a tight hold of their second spot on the Group I table.

We’ll have team news for you in a few moments, with kick-off to come later at 1pm.

Ireland:

Hourihan, Russell, Caldwell, Quinn, McCabe, Finn, Fahey, Kiernan, O’Sullivan, Whelan, Barrett.

Subs: Moloney, Reid Burke, O’Mahony, Toland, Jarrett, Roche, Mustaki, O’Riordan, Shine, Ziu, Keenan, Nolan.

Ireland make five changes as Denise O’Sullivan prepares to earn her 75th cap today. Jamie Finn makes her senior debut while Emily Whelan earns her first competitive start for Ireland.

There’s plenty of experience in that Ireland team, although they are without the services of Megan Campbell and Megan Connolly through injury. Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan has also been ruled out.

Heather Payne and Harriet Scott are unavailable to line out for Ireland after their respective colleges apparently refused to release them for the game in Athens today.

And here’s how Greece will line out:

Papakonstantinou, Kynossidou, Gkatsou, Kydonaki, Kakambouki, Sidira, Chatzigiannidou, Moraitou, Markou, Chatzinikolaou, Kokoviadou

You can also watch the clash between Ireland and Greece live on RTÉ 2.

Speaking ahead of kick-off, Pauw says that Rianna Jarrett suffered a slight twist in her knee at the end of the FAI Cup final. She’s fit to play but Ireland didn’t want to risk her as she takes her place on the bench.

Always a brilliant attacking option to bring in.

The teams are standing for their national anthems now. We’re getting close to kick-off.

1 min: Greece 0-0 Ireland

Amber Barrett gets us off the mark in Athens!

2 mins: Greece 0-0 Ireland

Good start from the visitors. Amber Barrett and Leanne Kiernan both moving well as Ireland earn a free-kick in a really inviting position on the edge of the square.

3 mins: Greece 0-0 Ireland

McCabe drills her shot low but it comes back off a Greek foot. She tries a follow-up shot, but that too is blocked.

5 mins: Greece 0-0 Ireland

O’Sullivan’s challenge on Kynossidou is adjudged to have been over zealous out near the wing but the hosts fail to make anything of the opportunity and Ireland clear their lines with ease.

8 mins: Greece 0-0 Ireland

Ireland definitely have the edge on the physical exchanges so far. Louise Quinn goes in hard for a ball with Kokoviadou. The latter takes the brunt of the clash and is withdrawn for some treatment.

Up the other end, Ireland set up for the first corner of the game which will be taken by McCabe.

9 mins: Greece 0-0 Ireland

McCabe’s delivery has plenty of curl on it but the ball ends up in the side-netting. Another opportunity evades Ireland but they’re certainly still on top in these early stages.

11 mins: Greece 0-0 Ireland

Great defensive work from Julie Ann Russell, Diane Caldwell and Leanne Kiernan to keep the Greeks in the corner before winning possession back and taking the ball out of danger.

13 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

What a goal!! Super little chip shot from Amber Barrett to lob the ball over the Greece keeper and send the ball bouncing into the net.

McCabe sent a deep ball in from the sideline which bounced over the head of O’Sullivan and a Greece defender before Barrett applied a lovely touch to stick it in the net.

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25 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

CLOSE!! McCabe whips in a lovely ball from a free-kick into the Greece penalty area. Quinn races in and gets a foot to the ball first, but her touch is just a bit too heavy and the ball skims over the bar.

Still lots of positive attacking play coming from Ireland.

30 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Smart play from Denise O’Sullivan. The Greeks tried to be too clever from a corner kick and end up giving a free out when O’Sullivan pounced to close them down.

Emily Whelan tries to link up with Kiernan at the other end but the pass just passes by the West Ham star.

Meanwhile, Ireland are still in control of the physical exchanges as another Greek player requires treatment.

31 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

More brilliant play from O’Sullivan. She wins the ball back from Kokoviadou, who hauls the Cork woman down and gives away a free.

The Greeks are really struggling to match the strength of the Irish team. 

35 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Another free for Ireland outside the Greek box. Moraitou is the guilty party after she lunged in on McCabe.

The resultant free comes back off the wall though as Ireland prepare to take a throw-in.

40 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

CLOSE!! Moraitou’s shot is blocked.

A couple of testy challenges go in from both sides shortly after. The referee looks like she’s going to hand out the second yellow card of the game as Gkatsou gets booked. 

Ireland’s Julie Ann Russell got the first yellow earlier in the game.

42 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Caldwell so unlucky there. She gets her foot under the ball in the Greek penalty area but her effort goes over the bar.

She’s livid with herself for not making more of the opportunity as she jogs back.

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45 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

SAVE! Greece come very close to getting the equaliser. Kokoviadou creates space for herself after sending Quinn and Caldwell the wrong way.

She angles a shot at goal but Marie Hourihane is equal to the effort and gets down low to block the ball away.

Greece are coming more into the game, although Ireland are still on top.

45 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Three minutes of added time will be played at the end of this half.

48 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Ireland come close again as Barrett feeds the ball across to Niamh Fahey. Fahey gets her boot behind the shot but fires her effort well over the bar.

Half-Time: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Amber Barrett’s stunning goal separates the sides at the break.

Ireland will be happy with their performance in that half. O’Sullivan has been superb, while Russell has impressed in the Ireland defence and Leanne Kiernan and Amber Barrett have been busy up front.

But there have some momentary lapses of concentration that almost allowed Greece back into the contest.

Here’s that reckless challenge on O’Sullivan in the first half.

Greece 0-1 Ireland

We’re getting ready for the second half. Can Ireland keep their momentum going?

45 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Ireland have made one change at half-time as Keeva Keenan comes on for Julie Ann Russell to make her second cap for Ireland.

Pauw’s side have already gone on the attack in the second half. They’re not wasting any time looking for that second goal.

50 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

SAVE! O’Sullivan comes so close to getting a second goal for Ireland. She gets inside two Greek defenders with a great turn to set-up a one-on-one.

But her final effort is saved and Barrett can’t get in in time to finish from the rebound.

56 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

More encouraging play from Ireland. Jamie Finn floats in a ball from deep towards the Greek box.

Barrett races through to try and get on the end of it but goalkeeper Papakonstantinou gets out in time to smother the ball and avert the danger.

61 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

MISS!! Barrett slices the ball across an open Greek goal. It looks like she was trying to hit Whelan with a pass in front of goal but it drifts out over the endline.

Ireland deserve to be further ahead, and they’re doing all the hard work, but frustrating themselves with the final product. 

Here’s that super movement from O’Sullivan that deserved a goal

64 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Some indecision in the Irish defence leads to a corner for Greece. It’s well defended and eventually cleared. But that was a bit sloppy from Ireland.

Kiernan tries to engineer a goal opportunity at the other end as she cuts the ball back inside from the endline. But there’s no Ireland jersey there to dink the ball home.

70 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Another yellow card for Greece as Markou gets booked. And again, O’Sullivan is the recipient of a bad challenge.

78 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Greece are really committing players forward. They float in a free-kick into the Irish penalty area but the final shot is blazed over the bar.

Barrett is on the deck receiving treatment for what looks a cramping issue. 

80 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Barrett is unable to continue as she’s helped off the pitch. Stephanie Roche comes into replace her for the final 10 minutes.

90 mins: Greece 0-1 Ireland

Caldwell is down after getting knock to the face.

There’s five minutes of added time to be played as Ireland continue to hold that slender lead.

Greece 1-1 Ireland 

What a disastrous end for Ireland.

They were so dominant for large parts of the game, but Greece looked more and more threatening coming towards the end. They committed players forward and finally broke through in the 93rd minute.

Anastasia Spyridonidou was waiting on the outside of the Irish box for a late ball in. Louise Quinn and Niamh Fahey both contested it, but it bypassed both and came to an unmarked Spyridonidou who tapped the ball first time past the clutches of Hourihane.

Ireland really needed a win there to strengthen their chances of taking second spot in the group, so that will nearly feel like a loss for the visitors. 

Well that’s all from us, folks. It wasn’t to be for Ireland but they’ll have plenty of chances to rectify that result in the new year.

Have a read of our short match report before you go, and stay tuned for a longer report coming in the next few minutes.

Goodbye for now.

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