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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 27 June, 2019


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We were live from the Aviva Stadium as the Republic of Ireland hosted Austria in a must-win World Cup qualifier for both countries.

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

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Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria

Good evening and welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of tonight’s World Cup qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Austria, coming to you live from the frost-bitten press box in Fortress Aviva.

With the race for second place in Group C wide open following Friday night’s draw in Stockholm, tonight’s is a game that Ireland desperately need to win. And if you go on to the Austrian equivalent of, whatever that is, we’re guessing they’re saying the same thing too.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm

First things first, here are the teams.

As you’ve probably heard, Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has decided that tonight’s the night to give Derby County striker Conor Sammon his first competitive international start. To save you the bother, here’s the token reference to “sink or swim”, “fish out of water” and “feed the fish.” Is that all of the fish puns out of the way?

Glenn Whelan also starts in the only other change from Stockholm. Marc Wilson has recovered from a groin strain and starts.

Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O’Shea, Clark, Wilson, Walters, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Sammon, Long.

Here’s how the visitors line out. Philipp Hosiner is the man to keep an eye on. The Austria Vienna striker wins only his third cap tonight but he has scored 27 goals in 26 games for his club this season. Nothing to worry about, eh?

Austria: Linder, Garics, Dragovic, Pogatetz, Fuchs, Arnautovic, Alaba, Junuzovic, Harnik, Kavlak, Hosiner.

Ronan Clarke writes: “Reading this here in Australia 6.30 am on the way to work thanks for the updates looking forward to this game #coybig”

Big howaya to the lads in Oz!

It’s now snowing in Ballsbridge which means that I might have to stop every now and again to brush the snowflakes off my keyboard.

I won’t repeat what my colleague Ben Blake has just said about his fingerless gloves. Post-watershed stuff.

It’s showtime… or nearly showtime anyway. Both teams are out on the pitch, sampling the nippy wind while they wait to greet President Michael D Higgins.

Gaius Gracchus writes: “I hope I haven’t jinxed him, but I really like the look of David Forde, fingers crossed for tonight.”

The anthems are done. So who wants to be the first to give us a few bars of “Feed the fish and he will score”?

It’s a big night for ex-UCD and Derry City man Conor Sammon — and for Trap who has placed all his trust in him and Shane Long to lead Ireland’s line.

Before we start, there will be a tribute to Irish football legend Con Martin. RIP.

KICK OFF: We’re up and running and within the first minute, James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan both give the ball away with silly mistakes.

Bayern Munich’s David Alaba tries his luck with a free from all of 35 yards out and it’s not far off the mark. David Forde was scrambling towards his right post there.

The first contentious decision of the evening. John O’Shea wins a header unchallenged in the centre circle and it falls to Shane Long inside the Austrian penalty area. He’s flagged for offside but replays show that he may well have been level with the last Austrian defender.

Long sneaks up behind Alaba and nicks the ball off his toe but when McCarthy tries to set a counter-attack in motion, it breaks down quickly.

Sammon and Long have both worked back well in these first six or seven minutes. Trap will be delighted with such commitment and enthusiasmus.

Great vision by McCarthy to open up the play and bring McClean and Wilson into the attack on the left wing. McClean tries to run at the defence but gets his feet in a bit of muddle before laying it back to Wilson who has moved up in support. His cross to the back post finds Sammon but the big man’s header is deflected behind for a corner. Comes to nothing.

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 0-1 Austria (Harnik, 11′) Disaster from Ciaran Clark. After Wilson gets caught dithering over the ball, the Aston Villa man does the exact same thing and is robbed by the alert Zlatko Junozovic. He squares to Martin Harnik and from there it’s all too simple. A gift of a goal from Ireland — and rather similar on first look to the mistake Clark made against Man City not too long ago. Nothing Forde could do.

That goal has really sapped the life out of the Aviva Stadium. All the noise is coming, as you might expect, from the travelling supporters behind Heinz Linder’s goal.

Shouts for handball as Jon Walters tries to flick McClean’s cross on to the back post. It looks like it may have come off Alaba’s hand as he jostled with Walters for position.

The 50/50s from referee Marijo Strahonja and his assistants aren’t going Ireland’s way either. Long appeals for both free-kick and corner as Pogatetz outmuscles him in the corner but gets neither. The ball came off the West Ham man last.

Oof. James McCarthy tries to put his stamp on the midfield battle with strong sliding challenge on Junuzovic. Referee Strahonja sees it as studs up though and shows a yellow which rules the Wigan man out of the next game.

PENALTY TO IRELAND! For once, not having any men up in support pays dividends for Shane Long. He chases a ball down the right channel and with nobody in the box to square it to, he cuts back inside from the byline. Pogatetz clatters into him from behind and the referee (after a brief pause) points to the spot.

Walters to take…

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-1 Austria (Walters pen, 25)

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. Ireland back on level terms as Walters thumps it past Linder.

Shane Long makes his contribution to the highlights reel with a clever little flick in behind the Austrian defence as they look to see the ball out. McClean is alert to the trickery but so too is Austrian sub Julian Baumgartlinger (who has come for Junuzovic who never really recovered from that McCarthy cruncher.)

Good work again by Long who is finding plenty of opportunities down the right. He digs the ball out for Sammon but Dragovic is first to the header. Austria can’t clear their lines though and when McClean (who has been very lively on the left so far) sends it back in for Walters, Pogatetz has to clear.

O’Shea clunks through the back of Hosiner and is booked for his troubles.

How close was that from Shane Long?! Conor Sammon climbs highest to flick on a long ball from David Forde and when McClean plays it into the box, it squirms past both Austrian centre-halves. Long has his back to goal and rather than waste time turning, he improvises, heeling the ball past Linder. The keeper is beaten but the post comes to his rescue. Just.

Austria threaten through Kavlak and Harnik. There was a little tug from Wilson as the latter charged into the box but the referee didn’t spot it.

Less than five minutes to the break here in the Aviva — and it is snowing. Heavily. I feel like Tom Crean with a laptop (and without the pint of Guinness).

Sammon gets up to highest to win the header again but it carries through to Linder. Just before that, Kavlak was booked for a trip on Long.

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 2-1 Austria (Walters, 45+1′)

Ireland make their pressure pay. Whelan swings over an excellent corner, Walters wins his personal duel with Fuchs and nods it in off the inside of Linder’s left post. Great turnaround by Ireland after a disastrous start.

HALF TIME: Republic of Ireland 2-1 Austria

Ireland turn it around and go in at the break a goal up thanks to a Jonny Walters double. Back in five.

You’d never believe the size of the queue for a bag of chips. Anyway, that’s beside the point. The teams are back out — no changes to either side.

SECOND HALF: Long starts the second half where he left off in the first, causing more trouble for the Austrian defence. Sammon gets his wires crossed and runs behind Fuchs who steps in to clear.

James McClean tries his luck with a curling free but it’s side-netting only. Half of the ground thought that one was in.

Forde has to be alert as Garics lays the ball off to Harnik who swivels and shoots low into the left corner. He gets down well to save.

Harnik and Garics combine again, the latter hitting his shot into the ground and then appealing for a corner as it bounces past Forde’s post. Garics has obviously been given licence to roam forward by Marcel Koller in this second half.

Snow update: it’s happening again.

Long tries to latch on to a long ball but Garics (he’s everywhere at the moment) cuts it out and then the West Brom striker is penalised for a shirt tug.

Substitution: Veteran striker Marc Janko comes on up front, replacing Philipp Hosiner.

Clark and Pogatetz try their hand at a bit of wrestling inside the box as Alaba swings over an Austrian corner. Both take a tumble but the referee awards a goal kick.

Another chorus of Stand Up for the Boys in Green? Shure why not? Ireland have been second best so far in this half. 65 minutes played.

Top class save from Linder in the Austrian goal. Even after watching five replays I’m not sure who got the final touch on McClean’s cross — Garics I think — but the keeper springs to tip it over the bar.

More pressure from Ireland and Wilson flashes a tough header by the right post.

Substitution: This one’s for you, Villa fans. Andi Weimann comes on to replace Kavlak,

A slight let off there for Ireland. McClean clipped Harnik on the edge of the box but as the linesman on that side flagged for a free, the referee signalled for the advantage… even though there was none.

Substitution: St Ledger comes on to replace Clark, who looks to have been carrying a knock since that penalty box tussle.

Weimann threatens down the left but Janko get enough on his cross at the front post to cause Forde any real problems.

Just under 15 minutes to play here.

“Wes Cam” looks like it might become the new “ROG Cam”. The TV director cuts to a shot of a glum-looking Hoolahan sitting on the bench. It doesn’t look like he’ll be given the chance to steady the ship in these last 10 minutes.

Shane Long has a nibble from behind at Baumgartlinger’s ankles and is booked for his troubles.

Substitution: Trap rolls the dice, bringing on Paul Green to replace Shane Long for the final seven or eight minutes. Long will surely be near the top of any Man of the Match shortlist. Excellent tonight.

That change means Walters goes up top alongside Sammon. Green is on the right wing, rather than in his usual Gattuso role in the middle of park.

Weimann flings himself towards a ball on the edge of the six yard box but it nestles safely in Forde’s hands. The band strikes up The Fields of Athenry. Two minutes plus stoppage time left.

John O’Shea is penalised for a nothing foul on Janko and it gives the Austrians a chance to flood into the Irish box. A clever free-kick routine has the Irish defence completely flummoxed. They leave Harnik unmarked at the back post but thankfully, Forde is in the right place to stop his header.

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria (Alaba, 90+3′) Killer blow for Ireland as Alaba snatches a point deep into stoppage time. His shot from the edge of the penalty area looked to have taken a big deflection off St Ledger and Forde had no chance.

*Insert own expletive here*

FULL TIME: Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria

That’s what a sucker punch feels like. Heads bowed, Ireland trudge off at the final whistle to a chorus of boos from the Aviva Stadium. In truth, their performance — particularly in the first half — deserved much more than that but instead it’s another pretty sizable set back on the Road to Brazil.

That’s all from me for now but we’ll have plenty of reaction and analysis later this evening. Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly