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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 16 May 2021
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Ireland 0-1 Luxembourg

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

It’s now nine winless games under Stephen Kenny, but the Ireland manager will be hopeful they can end that run today.

Luxembourg are widely considered one of the weakest sides in Europe, and anything other than a victory would be a real blow to the Boys in Green’s qualifying hopes.

Three changes to the Irish team, one of which was enforced, suggests Kenny wasn’t too displeased with the performance in Serbia.

It’s an especially big night for Gavin Bazunu, who makes his debut, and fellow youngster Jason Knight, who comes into the side in place of Jayson Molumby, as Kenny again has demonstrated his willingness to trust in youth.

Speaking to RTÉ, Kenny highlights Bazunu’s distribution as one reason why he comes into the side.

He also says Jayson Molumby had an “excellent” match in Serbia, but a lack of game time at club level is partially why he’s been replaced by Jason Knight, who has been a regular in the Derby team this season.

Confirmation of the Irish team below. Kenny has confirmed to RTÉ that it will be three at the back again.

Who do you think will win tonight?


Poll Results:

Ireland (652)
Luxembourg (409)
Draw (269)



Confident start from Luxembourg.

Thill has a shot from the edge of the area, after some good build-up play.

It’s straight at Bazunu, however, and comfortably saved by the youngster.

It’s been a scrappy start.

Ireland haven’t really threatened or acquired any real rhythm in their attack play as of yet.

Knight puts in a dangerous cross.

Brown goes for the header but ends up clattering into Martins and giving the free kick away.

Meanwhile, Matt Doherty has gone down with a hamstring injury, though it looks like he’ll be okay to continue for now.

Olivier Thill has just been booked for a late sliding challenge on Knight.

Ireland continue to look sloppy, with Clark putting a ball straight out of play.

Vincent Thill puts in a dangerous free kick.

Ciaran Clark has to head it behind for a corner.

Robinson plays in a great low cross after good build-up play starting with Bazunu.

The ball in finds Collins, whose sliding effort is saved by Moris.

Olivier Thill puts a cross in but Bazunu gathers it comfortably.

The young goalkeeper has looked really assured so far.

This game has gone a bit flat in the last few minutes.

Plenty of patient build-up play from the Irish team, but they’re struggling to create clear-cut chances.

As I type, Coleman’s cross into the area is too heavy and eludes everyone.

Browne puts in a dangerous corner, but the goalkeeper Moris just gets there ahead of Doherty.

Moments later, the Preston star is involved again, as his cross just misses Robinson.

Better from Ireland.

Luxembourg counter.

Thill plays it to Rodrigues, but Clark does well, putting a last-ditch block in to prevent the visitors getting a clear shot at goal.

Nice ball from Cullen to pick out the onrushing Browne.

The Preston man attempts to go around the goalkeeper from a tight angle and takes it out of play as he does so.

Scare for Ireland!

Out of nothing, in shades of Wednesday night with Tadic, Rodrigues attempts to lob the goalkeeper from distance.

However, Bazunu is alert, showing good feet to get back quickly and stop the ball from creeping into the net.

Coleman hangs a cross in.

However, Collins is penalised for leading with the arm as he goes up to challenge for the ball with Moris.

So half-time and it’s been a frustrating 45 minutes from an Irish perspective.

The biggest positive has been Bazunu — the 19-year-old has shown no sign of nerves and has done everything he needed to well.

It’s been a scrappy match with few chances.

Collins had the one big chance for Ireland that Moris did well to save.

Otherwise, the hosts have struggled to create chances, while there have been very occasional scares down the other end, such as Rodrigues’ well-executed lob from distance that Bazunu did well to keep out.

Ireland have made a change at the break.

Doherty, who picked up a hamstring injury in the first half, is replaced by Robbie Brady.

The Burnley man will go into the 10 role, while Alan Browne will shift to the right.

The second half is back underway.

Olivier Thill attempts an audacious free kick from about 30 yards out.

It has Bazunu scampering, but it ends going a few inches wide.

It continues to be a scrappy game.

There are too many stray passes from the Irish team at the moment.

Close!

Brady curls in a good free kick from the left.

He finds an unmarked Browne, whose header drifts just wide.

This time, Brady’s free kick from the right goes straight into the arms of Moris.

That wasn’t his best moment, but the Burnley man is giving Ireland something a bit different in attack.

Ireland make another change.

McClean is replacing Ciaran Clark.

It means Stevens will become the left-sided centre-back, with McClean slotting in at wing-back.

As I type, Vincent Thill is afforded far too much space in the Irish box, as the ball ricochets favourably into his path, but Bazunu again does well, getting out quickly to close him down.

Half-chance for Ireland.

Luxembourg get dispossessed playing out from the back.

Robinson then finds himself in a decent position just inside the box, but blasts it well over.

Close!

A well-worked move ends with Brady lofting a cross in and Collins attempting an audacious overhead kick that goes just wide.

20 minutes left.

Ireland make another change.

Shane Long replaces Callum Robinson, who hasn’t had the best of games.

An immediate involvement for Long.

Brady delivers a good cross in but he’s quite far away from goal and can’t generate the requisite power to trouble the ‘keeper with his header.

There’s a stoppage at the moment.

Jans is down after a coming together with Jason Knight, though it looks like he’ll be okay to continue.

Brady puts in a dangerous cross.

Long dives towards it but can’t quite get on the end of it.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg make a change. Vincent Thill makes way, with Deville, who plays in the German third tier, coming on instead.

It’s starting to look a little bit desperate from an Irish perspective.

A long, hopeful ball from Coleman is comfortably cleared, before Cullen is booked for a cynical foul.

Ireland attempt to counter after a good spell of pressure from Luxembourg, however, Brady badly overhits the pass.

The hosts have made too many poor decisions in the final third this evening.

O’Shea finds Long with a long ball, but the attacker is correctly adjudged to have controlled it with his hand.

Nothing is going right for Ireland at the moment.

Out of nothing, Luxembourg take the lead.

The ball breaks kindly for Rodrigues on the edge of the area, and he scores with a superb low finish into the corner of the net.

This looks set to be an embarrassing defeat for Ireland.

Double substitution for Ireland.

Cullen and Collins are replaced by Parrott and Molumby.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time…

A Brady cross is parried clear by Moris.

Luxembourg make a defensive change, with Gerson replacing Sinani.

Brady attempts an ambitious through ball, but it’s too heavy for Parrott.

Those kind of situations have been far too commonplace.

So that’s that.

A poor performance from Ireland and a result that surely ranks among the worst in their history.

It was established that Luxembourg would no be no pushovers before the game, but it’s still a side ranked 98th in the world, 56 places lower than Ireland.

It’s now 10 games without a win under Stephen Kenny.

The manager deserves credit for trusting in youth, but the team still delivered an awful performance against a team they should be beating.

The hosts simply didn’t create enough chances on the night.

They weren’t good enough in the final third, and seemed to grow more desperate and less effective as the game wore on.

Luxembourg, of course, deserve credit for being well-organised. They also had very few chances, and there was little between the teams, before Dynamo Kiev star Gerson Rodrigues’ fine finish in the dying minutes.

This result is likely to add fuel to Stephen Kenny’s critics’ fire, while Ireland’s World Cup hopes, which were already looking remote, are now surely all but over after two games.

maxime-chanot-celebrates-gerson-rodrigues-scoring-a-goal Luxembourg's Maxime Chanot celebrates Gerson Rodrigues scoring a goal. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Stayed tuned, as we’ll have plenty more reaction to come on the site this evening.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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