Ireland player ratings as Stephen Kenny’s team survive scare against Armenia 2 months ago

Ireland player ratings as Stephen Kenny’s team survive scare against Armenia

Ireland 3-2 Armenia.

The Republic of Ireland recorded a 3-2 victory over Armenia on Tuesday night in their final Uefa Nations League game of the campaign.

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Stephen Kenny's team were 2-0 up and cruising in the game until Armenia scored twice 20 minutes from the end. The visitors, ranked 92nd in the world, needed just one more goal to relegate Ireland.

The home side, however, were awarded a late penalty, and Armenia had two players sent off. Robbie Brady scored from the spot to spare Ireland from an embarrassing result.

Ireland v Armenia: First half.

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Kenny made two changes to the team which lost 2-1 to Scotland on Saturday night. Josh Cullen was suspended and was replaced by Jeff Hendrick in midfield, while Brady replaced James McClean at left wing-back.

While Hendrick's impact was minimal, Brady's inclusion proved decisive against Armenia. The Preston North End wing-back was at the centre of Ireland's best openings, with the majority of the team's attacks coming down the Dubliner's flank.

Brady set up Ireland's first goal after 18 minutes with a perfectly placed corner, finding skipper John Egan who guided home his header to give the home side the lead.

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The Sheffield United defender scored his fourth goal for Ireland on his 29th cap.

Ireland's goal, however, did not bring Armenia out of their shell. The team ranked 92nd in the world were content to sit deep and allow the home side control possession.

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The main takeaway from the first half was trying to figure out how Ireland managed to lose to Armenia in June. The visitors were desperately limited and offered almost no threat to Gavin Bazunu's goal.

Meanwhile, Ireland pressed well and were adept at winning back possession, particularly Jayson Molumby and Jason Knight, but weren't as effective with the ball. Kenny's team were relying on Brady's deliveries and set-pieces to create goal-scoring chances.

Ireland v Armenia: Second half.

Ireland doubled their lead after half-time. Conor Hourihane, on as a substitute for Jayson Molumby, played a pass into Michael Obafemi's feet. The Swansea City striker turned away from two Armenia defenders and rocketed a low shot into the bottom corner to give Ireland a 2-0 lead.

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Ireland were ahead and cruising and looked set to record their third win of the campaign and avoid relegation to League C.

Armenia, however, burst into life 20 minutes from full-time. Bichakhchyan shot from distance and saw his shot saved by Gavin Bazunu. The ball struck the post and bounced loose, Ireland failed to clear it and Dashyan fired the ball into the net.

Two minutes later, the visitors were level. Hourihane played a terrible pass which was intercepted by Eduard Spertsyan, who carried the ball forward and buried it past Bazunu to make it 2-2.

Ireland were scrambled and desperately pushed for a winner while knowing that another goal for Armenia would relegate them.

Kenny's team, however, were given a lifeline with three minutes to go when the referee awarded a penalty for a handball in the penalty area. The Armenia players furiously protested the decision and were so incensed that two players, Hambardzumyan and Dashyan, were sent off.

Brady scored from the penalty spot to give Ireland a 3-2 win against the team ranked 92th in the world. Armenia, with nine players, couldn't find another equaliser and Kenny's team held on for the win.

Ireland player ratings.

Gavin Bazunu: 5
Matt Doherty: 5
Nathan Collins: 6
John Egan: 7
Dara O’Shea: 5
Robbie Brady: 8
Jayson Molumby: 5
Jeff Hendrick: 3
Jason Knight: 5
Troy Parrott: 5
Michael Obafemi: 7

Substitutes.

Conor Hourihane: 3
Alan Browne: 5
Scott Hogan: N/A
Callum Robinson: 5