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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 26 November 2020
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Wales 1-0 Ireland

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

It’s very much a case of two sides with very different fortunes at the moment.

Wales are unbeaten in nine competitive matches and could potentially win this Nations League group with a victory today.

For Ireland, meanwhile, it’s been just over a year since their last victory — a 3-1 friendly defeat of New Zealand.

Stephen Kenny’s side, who are battling relegation from the group, have just one goal from his six games in charge, a late Shane Duffy header in the 1-1 draw with Bulgaria at the start of September.

And unlike the visitors, Wales have secured a spot at the Euros next summer.

The Boys in Green will be hoping for a big improvement on Thursday’s 3-0 friendly loss to England, while the game is far from insignificant, with World Cup ranking points up for grabs, as explained in detail here.

Who do you think will win?


Poll Results:

Wales (640)
Draw (236)
Ireland (226)



Confirmation of today’s teams…

Some pre-match reading for you…

Interestingly, Ireland have gone long twice already within the first minute.

Kenny’s side were criticised for overplaying at the back at times against England.

Decent set-piece delivery from Robbie Brady.

It finds Shane Duffy, but the ball appears to come off his shoulder and goes wide of the target.

Dan James escapes down the left, but Duffy is well placed to make a good recovery tackle.

It’s been a fairly cagey start to this game.

Teemu Pukki has given Finland the lead against Bulgaria in the other game in this group.

That’s good news for Ireland’s hopes of avoiding relegation.

A Dan James corner finds the head of Joe Rodon.

However, the Spurs man can’t direct a difficult chance from far out on target.

Gareth Bale chips a ball through for Dan James, but Randolph is alert and gets there ahead of him.

Down the other end, a Horgan cross causes chaos in the box.

It eventually falls to Robbie Brady, whose shot from the edge of the area goes just over.

Brooks tests Randolph with a shot from the edge of the area after a defensive mix-up between O’Shea and Long.

This game is starting to liven up now after a slow opening.

Gareth Bale fires a free kick from at least 30 yards out.

It’s an impressive effort that has Randolph worried, as it shaves the crossbar.

Neco Williams is currently limping, but should be okay to continue.

Jurgen Klopp could do without another injury to a Liverpool defender.

At the moment, this match is panning out in a very similar manner to the game in Dublin.

It’s a bit scrappy and stop-start, with the neither side looking particularly threatening.

Good lofted ball by Brady to find McClean.

The Stoke star finds space behind the Welsh backline and his subsequent low shot from a tight angle is saved via the foot of Danny Ward.

So far, Ireland have had 45% possession and four shots to Wales’ three, one of which has been on target for the visitors.

It’s been fairly evenly fought so far, with neither team particularly dominant.

Brady plays a good through ball for the onrushing Idah.

However, Rodon does well to make the recovery tackle.

Idah is down receiving treatment after that run, and he may be unable to continue.

Molumby has picked up a booking for preventing Wales taking a quick free kick.

That was needless from the Brighton youngster.

rhys-norrington-davies-with-matt-doherty Wales' Rhys Norrington-Davies with Matt Doherty of Ireland. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Wales counter swiftly.

Norrington-Davies crosses but Duffy is in the right area to make the clearance.

Looking back at the replay of that Molumby incident, Morrell is perhaps a little lucky to avoid serious punishment after blatantly kicking out at the Ireland player.

McClean puts in a good tackle on Bale.

Brady then finds himself in a promising position on the edge of the area, but he produces a poor effort that goes well over the bar.

0-0 at half-time and it’s been very similar to the game in Dublin between the two sides.

Both sides have created a couple of chances, while neither have been really dominant

Brady, Horgan and Idah have had a couple of decent moments in attack, but you certainly wouldn’t bet against it finishing 0-0.

Wales were arguably fortunate to avoid a red card, after Morrell kicked out at Molumby in an off-the-ball incident.

It’s certainly been an improved performance from Ireland, compared with Thursday.

They’ve looked far more solid, albeit against significantly inferior opposition.

O’Shea loses the ball with a heavy touch.

It falls to Bale on the edge of the area, but the Tottenham star’s shot is tame and easily saved by Randolph.

Davies is booked for a late challenge on Molumby.

It’s been a decent performance so far from the 21-year-old midfielder.

As I type, Robbie Brady’s curling free kick is too far beyond Duffy.

Norrington-Davies gets away from Doherty, but his subsequent cross is cleared by Duffy.

The 28-year-old centre-back had a tough time against England on Thursday, but he has looked much better today.

Ireland make a change.

Jason Knight comes on for his second cap. He replaces Horgan, who has had a quiet game.

It looks like a straight swap, with the Derby youngster playing from the right-hand side.

A deflected McClean cross falls to Mepham.

Idah then nicks it off the Wales defender, before the Norwich man’s shot is deflected out for a corner.

From the ensuing set piece, Brady finds Duffy, but he heads over from an awkward angle.

Meanwhile, Wales make a change, with Kieffer Moore replacing Norrington-Davies.

Moore goes down with Duffy in close proximity.

The striker then gets booked by the referee for diving, and it looks the correct decision judging by replays.

James’ cross is headed across the area by Duffy, but Bale heads it back into the danger zone and Brooks heads home from close range.

That’s a frustrating setback for Ireland, who haven’t been under too much pressure for much of this game.

In response to the goal, Ireland make a double change.

Hourihane and Collins are on, while Molumby and Idah are off.

Both departing players haven’t had much first-team football this season, so perhaps it’s no surprise that they are tiring.

The Luton star is involved straight away. His low shot from the edge of the area is saved by Ward, after the ball breaks kindly to him after a defensive mix-up by the hosts.

Hendrick loses it, allowing Wales to counter.

Brooks then shows great pace to go through on goal, but his shot is brilliantly saved by Randolph.

Hendrick gets booked for a cynical kick on James as Wales break. Bale ultimately tries an ambitious shot that does not hit the target.

Ireland make more changes. Jack Byrne and Callum O’Dowda replace Robbie Brady and Dara O’Shea.

McClean’s cross is headed clear by Mepham.

Moments later, there is a collision involving Duffy, Mepham and Rodon, with all three down injured as a result.

With Ireland in desperate search for an equaliser, this game has become far more open.

Wales are looking very dangerous on the counter-attack at the moment.

Byrne plays through Collins.

It’s a difficult attempt from a tight angle, and the Luton star’s shot fails to trouble Ward unduly.

Meanwhile, Wales make another change, as Roberts comes on for the goalscorer Brooks.

Byrne finds Collins, but he doesn’t get a clear enough contact on the header and Ward saves easily.

The Shamrock Rovers star has made an impact since coming on.

There will be five minutes of stoppage time…

Moore’s effort is straight at the goalkeeper and saved by Randolph, as Wales go close again.

It’s looking like the hosts are set to see this game out.

A short pass is cut out by Roberts who sprints clear on goal.

Hendrick tries to make a last-ditch tackle, but the Wales attacker gets there before him.

The referee consequently is left with little choice but to issue the Newcastle man a red.

So that’s that.

It was a game very much typical of the Stephen Kenny era so far.

The visitors played some decent football and had a couple of chances, but ultimately were left ruing not being clinical enough in the final third.

It’s 10 competitive games unbeaten for Wales, who were impressive defensively, while Brooks took the winning goal well.

It’s now seven games without a win under Kenny for Ireland and six games without a goal.

It also means the Boys in Green must avoid defeat against Bulgaria on Wednesday to escape relegation, while the defeat also means Ireland will more than likely be consigned to the dreaded Pot 3 for the World Cup qualifying draw. 

james-mcclean-dejected-after-conceding-a-goal Ireland's James McClean dejected after conceding a goal. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Right, that’s all from me for now. Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here and we’ll have further reaction to follow.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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