Republic of Ireland draw in Georgia and miss chance to take control of Group D

first_imgAaron Connolly, on debut, almost snatched victory after coming off the bench to spark a late surge for the Republic of Ireland who laboured to a goalless draw in Georgia.The 19-year-old forced a 90th-minute save from Giorgi Loria and then fired into the side-netting when he might have done better in a cameo that almost paid rich dividends.Defender Shane Duffy headed straight at Loria from an injury-time corner, but Ireland ultimately had to make do with 0-0 in Group D of Euro 2020 qualifying. 22 Navalovski 22 Long 9 Okriashvili Substitutes 6 Daushvili 1 Loria 8 Browne Share on Pinterest Goal attempts 23 Randolph Match stats 19 Shengelia Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Republic of Ireland 7 Doherty 11 Kvilitaia 18 O’Dowda Georgia 18 Grigalava (s 90′) (s 73′) 7 Kankava 4 Duffy 2 Kakabadze 14 Georgia Off target 4 Rep of Ireland 0 Georgia On target 3 Rep of Ireland Georgia 4 Kashia 14 Lobjanidze 8 9 Georgia 0-0 Republic of Ireland: Euro 2020 qualifier – as it happened 13 Hendrick (s 73′) match reports Ireland’s manager, Mick McCarthy, was happy with the point and said: “If somebody had said to me at the start when we were playing Georgia we’d get four points from them, I would have taken that.“They are a good side. We saw it against Denmark. They’ve had a lot of the ball, Darren [Randolph] has not made a save but it was a tough game. It is a good point to take away.”Regarding Connolly, McCarthy said: “I thought he was excellent. He was not on that long but he is sharp. The one where he got in, I fancied him to score, I thought it was going to be a perfect debut, and he hit the one with his right foot and made the keeper save. He is lively and I’m delighted with him.”Asked if the teenager had given him a bit of a headache in terms of selection for Tuesday’s match against Switzerland, McCarthy said: “Absolutely. He was in contention today – he wouldn’t have been in the squad otherwise, but I did feel we needed a presence up front which James Collins gave us.”Ireland deserved no more than a point from a performance that, barring a late onslaught, lacked inspiration against a side that was far more creative, but could not find the cutting edge.Their qualification hopes were hit as a result of the two points left behind at the Boris Paichadze Arena with Tuesday’s trip to Switzerland now looking more difficult.The Republic found themselves back-pedalling within seconds of the kick-off when Valeri Qazaishvili exchanged passes with Jano Ananidze on the edge of the box before screwing a shot wide.However, Georgia manager, Vladimir Weiss’s, worst fears were almost realised with just four minutes gone.John Egan met Conor Hourihane’s free-kick to glance a header across the helpless Loria, only to see the ball come back off the post.Georgia’s assault continued apace with Otar Kiteishvili orchestrating from the middle of the pitch behind the lively Ananidze and Qazaishvili, prompting a determined rearguard action from Ireland, who were creating little of note in response.Strong in the tackle and decisive on the ball, the home side pressed Ireland back into their own half to leave striker James Collins painfully isolated in his first start for his country.Matt Doherty, playing at left-back in the absence of the suspended Enda Stevens, threatened to change the flow of the game when with 27 minutes gone, he surged into the penalty area, but was unable to deliver his cross before the ball ran out of play.The traffic remained largely one-way and Ireland were indebted to Duffy, whose presence was in doubt until Wednesday because of a calf injury, as he repelled a series of crosses from full-backs Jemal Tabidze and Otar Kakabadze.But for all their possession and intent, Georgia were unable to create clear-cut opportunities with Qazaishvili dragging a 42nd-minute effort from distance well wide at the end of a counter-attack launched by striker Giorgi Kvilitaia after James McClean had underhit a pass to Glenn Whelan.The visitors continued to defend stubbornly after the break with Egan matching Duffy’s aerial prowess inside his own box, although Darren Randolph was relieved to see Ananidze’s 66th-minute free-kick sail high over his crossbar.McCarthy made his move with 11 minutes remaining when he sent on Connolly for his first senior cap, and the youngster might have won it at the death with a low drive that prompted a solid save by Loria, before blasting into the side-netting. 17 Kupatadze 15 Aburjania 23 Lobjanidze Rep of Ireland 11 McClean 10 Hogan 10 Ananidze 1 O’Haracenter_img 3 Khotcholava 2 Coleman 12 Makaridze (s 79′) Read more 16 Tabidze 14 Hourihane Corners Share on LinkedIn 9 Maguire 21 Collins 19 Judge 5 Kvirkvelia The Observer 3 Williams 17 Connolly 5 Egan 20 Cullen Possession 20 Kharaishvili (s 90′) 16 Travers 13 Kiteishvili IRL GEO 6 Whelan Fouls Share on Facebook Topics Lineups 44 56 Euro 2020 Euro 2020 qualifying Share on Messenger Share on Twitter IRL44GEO56% 5 3 12 Robinson 15 Byrne Substitutes 8 Qazaishvili (s 79′) Reuse this contentlast_img

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