The Republic of Ireland cruised to a 3-0 victory against Luxembourg in their final FIFA World Cup Qualifier, giving Stephen Kenny a major boost in his bid for a contract extension. Shane Duffy, Chiedozie Ogbene, and Callum Robinson scored in the final 22 minutes to give Ireland their second win in as many games, and third place in Group A ahead of Serbia and Portugal.
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Leader Gerry McAnaney and chief management officer Jonathan Hill were between a groups from the Football Association of Ireland at the Stade de Luxembourg as they ready to meet to discuss Kenny’s future after a movement that started badly but concluded with more ability.
Luxembourg was a big part of that surprising start when they beat Ireland 1-0 at the Aviva Ground in March, but despite having a goal correctly chalked off with the score at 0-0, they rarely exposed a repetition in front of a 9,268-strong crowd at their new stadium.
In front of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who was booed by the crowd, and Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri, Luxembourg goalkeeper Ralph Schon was the first to react, headfirst to his left to award away Robinson’s reducing ninth-minute strike after the unsettled Ogbene had been played into space down the right and delivered an attractive cross. For more to know about FIFA World Cup Tickets Click here
The pace of Ogbene and Robinson, as well as the extent provided by James McLean, were producing major complications for Luxembourg, but Gavin Bazunu had to react swiftly to acrobatically turn away Olivier Thill’s drive from the bench, which had clipped Josh Cullen en route to goal. With his deception and astute movement, Gerson Rodrigues, who had scored five of his team’s eight goals prior to the game, was in charge of the Republic’s backline, while Thill was full in midfield but with tiny or no end produce.
With Ireland looking more likely to take the lead, Schon wanted powerful hands to deflect Ogbene’s flying shot five minutes before the break and then claw away John Egan’s header. Idah glanced a Jeff Hendrick cross over with Robinson possibly better situated behind him as Ireland continued their resolve, and the Newcastle midfielder attached a shot wide from Matt Doherty’s through-ball.
With the momentum building, Doherty shot high and wide from long range, though it may have died on 54 minutes when the home side thought they had seized the lead. After excellent Laurent Jans’ cross past Bazunu, Danel Sinani was well into his party, but Hungarian umpire Tamas Bognar wrecked his evening by yelling for a foul on Duffy by extra Maurice Deville during the build-up.
Selimovic got his head to Josh Cullen’s free-kick after being called for a foul on extra Jason Knight, but could only help it on to Duffy at the far post, who motored it into the net from point-blank range. It initiated seven minutes progressive when Hendrick nominated out Knight’s run into the box and bravely back-heeled the ball square for Ogbene to lift the ball over Schon, and ended two minutes later when Knight turned McLean’s cross back across goal for Robinson to touch into an empty net.
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