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Ireland end World Cup Qualification on a high with 3-0 Luxembourg win

The Republic of Ireland have ended their World Cup Qualification bid with a 3-0 away win over Lux...



Ireland end World Cup Qualific...
Soccer

Ireland end World Cup Qualification on a high with 3-0 Luxembourg win

The Republic of Ireland have ended their World Cup Qualification bid with a 3-0 away win over Luxembourg. 

Stephen Kenny's side secured third spot in Group A with three points on Sunday night.

The result also means they have only lost once now in 10 games and have kept four consecutive clean sheets.

Although both sides knew coming into the game at the Stade de Luxembourg the home side applied good pressure in the first few moments.

The game was pretty even then as both sides settled and came into it.

Both made early calls for penalties with the hosts feeling Shane Duffy handled the ball in the sixth minute but the referee waved play on.

Then nine minutes later, Idah went down in the box after what looked like a push in the back.

The referee again indicated to play on and VAR choose not to intervene.

The home side's best chance of the first half came in the 23rd minute when a powerful strike from Thill outside the box took a deflection off Cullen, it looked like it was heading into the back of the net before Bazunu got a hand to it to force it around the post.

19-year-old Bazunu as alert and sharp as ever.

Ireland's closest attempt then came in the 40th minute.

Robinson’s shot was blocked but Martins got the clearance all wrong.

He sent it out straight to Ogbene who fired a shot through the crowd causing goalkeeper Schon to have to get his body behind it to make a good save as he pushed it over the bar.

Just a few moments later the keeper was forced to make another important save.

John Egan got up highest to meet Cullen’s corner and floated it towards the far post but the 31-year-old shot-stopper scrambled over to clear it.

The sides went in 0-0 at the break after both had chances with Ireland enjoying 60% possession in the opening 45 minutes.

Again in the opening stages of the second half, both sides had chances with Hendrick and Doherty both sending shots wide.

Then in the 54th minute, Luxembourg struck and scored.

Sinani put the ball in the back of the net but the ref had allowed play to continue after a push on Shane Duffy which should have been blown for.

The goal was chalked off and they played on, phew, but Luxembourg were well on top here in the early stages of the second half.

After 64 minutes McClean did test their keeper.

His cross curled towards the back post before Schon eventually dived to send it wide, unfortunately, nothing came from the resulting Irish corner.

Then less than four minutes later Shane Duffy beat their keeper to score his seventh goal for his country.

A lovely ball in from a Cullen free-kick found the big man in the box who headed home to put the Republic of Ireland 1-0 up and the 1,000 traveling Irish fans in the stadium were ecstatic.

The first goal might have been from a set-piece but the second was just a little bit special.

In the 75th minute, Ogbene slotted home to put Stephen Kenny's side 2-0 up after a really impressive passage of play with 14 (yeah, 14) passes.

Hendrick played a lovely reverse pass back inside to substitute Knight who had made such a difference to the game since his introduction.

He timed his run perfectly to stay onside and backheeled it for Ogbene to run onto and clip it over the advancing keeper to get his second international goal.

And in the 88th minute more evidence of the fruition from Stephen Kenny's project was on show.

Ireland cut Luxembourg apart for their third goal and substitute Jason Knight was involved once again.

He got into space towards the back post as Ireland countered.

James McClean picks him out for the cross, he flicked the ball across the face of the goal to allow Callum Robinson to tap it into the net and make it 3-0.

Ireland finish the campaign in a far better place than they started - playing nice football, scoring, and winning.

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