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Dublin: 13°C Sunday 9 May 2021


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Qatar 1-1 Ireland

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog. In the context of everything that’s gone on over the past week, this feels a little more significant than the average friendly.

The Nagyerdei Stadion in Debrecen is the unlikely venue, as Ireland bid to end a 10-match winless run under Stephen Kenny (and 11 matches if you factor in the Mick McCarthy era).

Qatar, Ireland’s opponents this evening, are unlikely to be any pushovers. They have already beaten Azerbaijan and Luxembourg, the side who toppled the Boys in Green on Saturday night.  

Stephen Kenny has recalled a number of experienced players for this game, and it will fascinating to see whether they can show him that they should have been starting the qualifying matches.

Confirmation of the Irish team…

Who do you think will win tonight?

Poll Results:

Qatar (720)
Ireland (535)
Draw (506)

Not a great omen (no pun intended) ahead of the game…

We’re underway…

Good reverse pass in behind Qatar’s backline by Hendrick to Long.

The Bournemouth attacker’s cross is then half cleared, before Hendrick can’t test the goalkeeper with his shot.

It’s a well-worked move.

Daryl Horgan plays a corner short before his low cross finds McClean.

The Stoke winger’s shot from the edge of the area finds the net via a wicked deflection.

Incredible stuff.

The referee initially awards a Qatar penalty, after Bazunu takes down Miguel, with the goalkeeper booked as a result.

However, the challenge clearly took place outside the area and after consultation with his assistant, a free kick rather than a penalty is awarded.

A Long cross is almost turned into his own net by Al Rawi, with Al Sheeb making a good save.

That emanated from a well-worked attack from Ireland.

The Qatar right wing-back, Carvalho Deus Correia, won the free kick that was almost a penalty, and looks dangerous with his pace.

James McClean, who is slotting in at left wing-back, will need to keep a close eye on him tonight.

Good ball in from Carvalho Deus Correia.

Zainalabiddin Abdulla escapes the attentions of Shane Duffy and heads just wide.

Setback for Ireland, as Robbie Brady unfortunately has to limp off injured.

Troy Parrott will take his place.

Zainalabiddin Abdulla finds himself in a good position on the right, but James McClean does well to get back and make an important tackle.

As I type, Mohammed underhits a backpass. It falls to Long, but he can’t finish when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Al Haydos receives the ball in a promising position on the edge of the area and fires it just wide.

Qatar are coming into it a bit more now and starting to dominate possession and territory.

Nice link-up play involving Parrott and Hendrick.

Christie then receives it wide right. He turns inside and shoots well off target from the edge of the area with his left foot.

james-mcclean-celebrates-scoring-their-first-goal-with-robbie-brady Ireland's James McClean celebrates scoring their first goal with Robbie Brady. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Here’s a look at the only goal so far…

Parrott and Christie link up really well down the right.

However, the full-back can’t pick out an Irish jersey with his cross.

Another nervy moment for Bazunu.

He comes for a cross and uses his hands but then realises his momentum is about to take him out of the box and he quickly lets the ball go before clearing it.

Good quick thinking from the 19-year-old.

Qatar have had 53% possession so far.

As I type, Duffy has to make a last-ditch challenge to deny the Qatari attacker, after Horgan gives it away in a dangerous area.

Interestingly, Luxembourg have taken the lead against Portugal, thanks to a player who will be a familiar name to Irish fans…

The second half is underway…

Zainalabiddin Abdulla finds space and plays it to Mohammed, who fires it into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.

It’s a very similar goal to Luxembourg’s winner at the weekend, and as on that occasion, Ireland afforded the attacker far too much space to shoot.

Good link-up play involving Christie, Molumby and Coleman.

Ultimately though, Christie’s shot is tame enough and it’s a comfortable save for Al Sheeb.

Better from Ireland — they’ve looked dangerous on more than one occasion down the right-hand side.

Ireland make a double change.

Callum Robinson and Jason Knight are on in place of Shane Long and Daryl Horgan.

Robinson receives the ball in a promising position, but overhits his through pass to Knight.

Ireland need to be more clinical in those situations.

Down the other end, Al Haydos sidefoots the ball from the edge of the area, but Bazunu saves it with relative ease.

Ireland have become very sloppy in recent minutes.

They’ve given the ball away too cheaply, and Qatar are getting on top of this contest.

Hendrick shows good perseverance to win the ball back after initially giving it away.

He then plays it to Robinson, who spins away from his marker, but his subsequent shot is straight at the goalkeeper.

Here’s a look back at the equaliser…

This game has hit a bit of a lull.

Neither side has created a clear-cut opening in recent minutes, with certain Irish players looking tired.

Very little has been happening in the past few minutes.

Qatar are dominating possession without really threatening.

Mohammed finds plenty of space, before shooting a few inches wide.

Qatar are looking the more likely of the two teams to find a winner as it stands, albeit it’s still very tight with chances at a premium.

Qatar make a change.

Al Hamawende replaces Abdulaziz Hatem.

Triple substitution for Ireland.

McClean, Hendrick and Molumby are off.

Manning, Browne and Cullen are on.

mohamed-muntari-celebrates-scoring-their-first-goal-as-seamus-coleman-looks-on-dejected Qatar's Mohamed Muntari celebrates scoring their first goal as Seamus Coleman of Ireland looks on dejected. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Big chance for Ireland!

Christie’s cross causes mayhem as the goalkeeper comes and fails to claim it.

It falls to Robinson at the far post, but he scuffs it slightly and the effort goes just wide.

Jason Knight wins a free kick in a decent position, after being taken down by Hassan Fadlalla.

He’s looked lively since coming on.

On RTÉ, Kenny Cunningham gives Dara O’Shea a deserved man-of-the-match award.

There will be three minutes of stoppage time.

Very close!

It’s a great cross by Christie, and Cullen’s header at the far post forces a good save by Al Sheeb.

So that’s that.

An improved display compared with the Luxembourg debacle, although still not totally satisfactory.

Ireland began really brightly, but faded as the game wore on.

That said, Josh Cullen had a great chance to win it late on, while Qatar seldom troubled Bazunu after the equaliser, despite enjoying plenty of possession.

Overall, Stephen Kenny will know there is still plenty of work to be done — with Ireland yet again not clinical enough in the final third — but there are some positives, with youngsters like Bazunu, O’Shea and Molumby acquiring valuable experience at this level.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have plenty more reaction on the site shortly.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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