Full Ireland ratings as Stephen Kenny's men put Luxembourg away
LUXEMBOURG 0-3 IRELAND
Stephen Kenny's men were give a couple of scares but revenge, when it came, was sweet. Our Ireland ratings feature one super-sub that scored highly.
Ireland had the lion's share of possession in the first half but were left rueing the referee's decision to dismiss a strong Adam Idah penalty shout.
The home side fashioned the best chance of the first 45 minutes, though, when Gavin Bazunu was at full stretch to tip a deflected shot wide:
Bazunu out here defying the laws of gravity and biology! pic.twitter.com/9HZPfdRfTH
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 14, 2021
The best Irish chance of the half fell to John Egan but his header, from an out-swinging corner, was well saved by the goalkeeper.
Ireland got off to a ropey start, after the break, but still worked a chance for Jeff Hendrick that the midfielder skewed wide.
There were hearts in Irish mouths, on 57 minutes, when Luxembourg thought they had scored, only for the goal to be ruled out for a push on Shane Duffy.
Stephen Kenny changed things up by bringing on Jason Knight for Adam Idah. That gave Ireland a bit more control and the attacks flowed from there. James McClean went close with an in-swinging cross, but it was about to get better.
On 68 minutes, Knight was fouled on the edge of the box. Josh Cullen swung in a beauty that was going straight in. Shane Duffy was practically standing on the goal-line and added an extremely close-range flourish for his seventh international goal.
Ireland were not finished there. The goal that doubled their lead contained 14 passes and finished with a slide-rule Hendrick ball, a Knight back-heel and a sliding Ogbene finish. That was all she wrote. An uplifting finish to a campaign that got off to a horrendous start.
Gavin Bazunu - 8
Stunning first half save. Solid under crosses. Lucky, on one occasion, when ball was lobbed into his arms after he was caught off his line.
Seamus Coleman - 7
Another solid outing.
John Egan - 7
Threat at set-pieces and crucial interventions in his own box.
Shane Duffy - 8
So vital to this side's fate. Great blocks and scored the opener.
Matt Doherty - 6
Another decent performance. Wore the grass out on his flank.
James McClean - 7
Came close with a cross-cum-shot. Searching ball into the back post led to Robinson's goal. Did well.
Josh Cullen - 7
Tidy throughout. Peach of an in-swinger for the opener.
Jeff Hendrick - 7
Started well. Missed one good chance. Was revived when Knight came on.
Chiedoze Ogbene - 8
Followed up the Portugal game with another fine performance. Capped off with his second Ireland goal.
Adah Idah - 6
Did his best to hold up the ball and bring teammates into the game. Should have won his side a penalty but call inexplicably went against him. Drifted out of the game in the second half.
Callum Robinson - 7
Popped up all over the pitch. Was smothered out by the Luxembourg defence on a few occasions. Willing runner and chaser. Rewarded with a late goal before he went off to wide acclaim.
Jason Knight (for Idah '58) - 8
Super-sub. Came on and made a difference. Foul on him led to free for opener and he set up the second. Set up the third while he was at it.
Alan Browne (for Browne '81) - 6
Came on to help see out the game.
Andrew Omobamidele, Troy Parrott and Conor Hourihane (all came on '89) - Not on long enough to rate