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Ireland 0-1 Ukraine

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

We’re set for an intriguing fixture.

Both these sides come into tonight’s match on the back of disappointments at the weekend.

Ukraine saw their World Cup hopes end amid a heartbreaking loss to Wales, while Ireland got their Nations League campaign off to a losing start in Armenia.

Stephen Kenny will feel tonight’s match is certainly winnable though — not only are the Ukrainians likely to have somewhat of a World Cup playoff hangover, but they have also opted for a largely second string team with 10 changes made from the Welsh match.

Some pre-match reading for you…

Who do you think will win?

Poll Results:

Ukraine (397)
Draw (207)
Ireland (158)

Stephen Kenny’s thoughts ahead of the game.

We’re underway…

Decent start from Ireland.

Jason Knight makes a good purposeful run through midfield, but Robinson can’t quite control his through pass.

More positive play from Knight.

He evades the challenge of three defenders wide left, but his subsequent low shot is saved with relative ease by Lunin.

Ukraine threaten on the counter-attack but Collins shows good pace to get back well and make the recovery tackle.

It’s been a lively start, with Ireland’s pressing causing the Ukrainians to concede possession sloppily on more than one occasion.

Space opens up for Knight on the edge of the area and his powerful strike is tipped away for a corner by Lunin.

The Derby youngster has started this game like a man with a point to prove.

It’s now Ukraine’s turn to threaten.

Mudryk makes a purposeful run towards the area but his subsequent strike is well off target.

Robinson finds himself in a promising position on the counter-attack, but his cross goes straight out of play.

Ireland need to be better in those kinds of areas where they were far too wasteful at the weekend

As I type, Mykolenko flashes a shot from distance a few inches wide.

Mudryk escapes the attention of Collins and runs into the area, but can’t quite get a hold of his shot.

There have been signs lately that Ukraine are coming more into this game.

Collins plays a good ball forward for Ogbene, who shrugs off the attentions of his marker, before seeing his attempt at goal block and then giving away a cheap free-kick as he challenges for the loose ball.

Better from Ireland.

With half an hour played, this game is finely balanced.

After a bright opening from Ireland, Ukraine have come into it more, though neither side has been particularly dominant.

Zubkov tries a shot from distance, but it’s straight at Kelleher.

Both sides have been largely restricted to those kinds of ambitious efforts so far.

Hendrick plays an incisive through ball for Robinson as the hosts counter.

The West Brom attacker goes down in the area under the defender Bondar’s challenge as he charges towards goal but the referee waves away Ireland’s penalty claims.

Judging by the replay, it was probably the correct call.

It initially appears as if Ukraine have taken the lead after Kacharaba puts the ball in the net with a stunning effort after the ball falls to him on the edge of the area.

However, after the referee consults with VAR, it’s ruled out for offside in the build-up.

That’s a bit of a let-off for Ireland.

Cullen goes down following a stray elbow off the ball from Mudryk.

The referee gives the free-kick but the Ukraine player is not punished further.

So half-time and it’s been somewhat reminiscent of the weekend.

Ireland started brightly but struggled to maintain that momentum thereafter, with Ukraine coming more into it as the half progressed.

Kenny’s side have had some decent spells in possession but as with the weekend, too often appear toothless and ineffectual in the final third.

You get the sense a change is likely needed to prevent a similar outcome to Armenia, with Ukraine looking increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack.

The second half has begun.

Ukraine have made one change at the break.

Zubkov is replaced by Tsygankov

Half chance immediately.

Ogbene crosses for Knight, whose goalbound shot is blocked.

Ukraine take the lead through the substitute only just on the field.

Tsygankov’s inswinging free-kick from the right-wing eludes everyone including Kelleher, who can only help it on its way into the net.

A bad start to the second half for Ireland.

Moments later, Collins has to make a last-ditch block to stop Dovbyk’s shot from the edge of the area.

Cullen has just been booked for a late challenge on Sydorchuk.

Ireland look second best and badly in need of inspiration as it stands.

There’s a stoppage now as John Egan is receiving treatment.

Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious.

He just pulled up awkwardly with no other player near him.

Dara O’Shea is going to come on to take his place.

Dovbyk puts the ball across the area.

It’s a nervy moment as it could easily take a deflection with all the bodies in there, but ultimately, Kelleher gathers it comfortably.

Ireland have offered very little as an attacking force and it feels like a change is needed.

As I type though, they win the ball in a good area before Hendrick’s shot is deflected wide.

Triple change for Ireland.

Obafemi, McClean and Browne are on for Robinson, Stevens and Christie.

It looks like Browne will play right wing-back.

Ukraine make a double change.

Kacharaba and Mudryk are replaced by Pikhalyonok and Karavaev.

Cullen crosses for Obafemi who heads it to Duffy, but the defender completely mishits his attempted shot on the volley.

That sums up Ireland’s night so far.

Ireland make another change.

Ogbene comes off, and CJ Hamilton makes his debut.

So close!

Obafemi’s cross finds Duffy and the defender’s header hits the cross bar before being cleared for a corner.

Another decent chance.

Cullen’s corner is headed on by O’Shea for Obafemi, who nods it just wide.

Cullen flashes a shot from distance wide after a good run down the right from Hamilton in the build-up.

Meanwhile, the latest Ukraine change has seen Sikan replace Dovbyk.

Less than five minutes of normal time remaining.

Can Ireland find an equaliser?

McClean curls in a free-kick that Duffy heads just wide, though replays suggest he would have been offside anyway.

Another Ukraine substitution sees Sydorchuk replaced by Ignatenko.

There will be five minutes of stoppage time…

The attendance tonight has been confirmed as 40,111.

And the player of the match has been announced as Jason Knight.

A cross from Browne deflects into the path of Knight.

However, he can’t keep it down and puts it well over, much to the majority of the crowd’s frustration.

Tsygankov almost makes it two.

He receives the ball in acres of space, but Collins makes a good block to deflect it off target.

So that’s that.

Another disappointing night for Stephen Kenny and the Irish team.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians joy is evident as they go over to their pocket of fans to celebrate.

It was similar to Saturday in that the Boys in Green started brightly but faded as the match progressed.

Ukraine were the better team and probably deserved the victory on the balance of play.

Ireland had a couple of half-decent chances towards the end but again just did not look potent enough in the final third.

With two more matches in this window still to play, Kenny and his staff have much to contemplate.

Right, that’s all from me for now.

We’ll have more reaction to follow.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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