Player ratings as Ireland lose 1-0 to Ukraine in the Uefa Nations League
Ireland 0-1 Ukraine.
The Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 against Ukraine in the Uefa Nations League on Wednesday night. The visitors made 10 changes for the game at the Aviva Stadium, but still found a way past Stephen Kenny's team.
Before Wednesday night, Ireland had failed to win a competitive match at home in almost three years, and they had yet to win a game in the Nations League. Those unwanted runs go on.
Here is how we rated the Ireland players.
Ireland v Ukraine: Player ratings.
Caoimhin Kelleher - 5
The Liverpool goalkeeper kept his place in the starting XI to earn his sixth cap. Kelleher was kept busy by Ukraine and made several comfortable saves.
He arguably should have stopped Viktor Tsyhankov's free-kick from going into the net, but he could also claim that the defence should have cleared the ball.
Nathan Collins - 6
Collins was given another opportunity to cement his place in Ireland's back-three and he didn't disappoint. The Burnley defender won the ball several times and read the game well in an aggressive and proactive display.
Earning just his third cap, the 21-year-old was a calm and authoritative presence at the back for Ireland. He also helped stop a couple of Ukraine's counter-attacks.
Shane Duffy - 6
Duffy started at the centre of Ireland's back-three and captained the team in the absence of Seamus Coleman, who is nursing a groin injury.
The Brighton defender was loose in possession in the first half, misplacing several passes and failing to find success when he went long.
Duffy has recorded 19 of Ireland's 101 shots in the Nations League, and his goal threat was evident when almost scored an equaliser, only for the ball to smash off Ukraine's crossbar.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 8, 2022
John Egan - 5
Ireland's most reliable defender retained his place from Saturday's defeat to Armenia. Egan was comfortable in possession and passing out from the back. He was forced off with a knock after 60 minutes. Like the rest of Ireland's defence, he probably should have done more to prevent Ukraine's goal.
Cyrus Christie - 5
Christie started in place of the injured Coleman to win his 30th cap for Ireland.
The Fulham full-back, who spent last season on loan at Swansea City, was tasked with providing more of an attacking threat than Coleman did against Armenia on Saturday.
Christie did that, and put some crosses into the box, but there was rarely anyone on the other end to attack them.
Enda Stevens - 5
Enda Stevens retained his starting spot at left wing-back after a mixed performance against Armenia, where the Sheffield United full-back looked rusty.
Stevens got forward and provided Ireland with width, but was rarely involved. Only Robinson and Ogbene had fewer touches than Stevens of Ireland's outfield players who started the game.
Josh Cullen - 5
Cullen started his 13th consecutive competitive game for Ireland at the base of midfield, and once again was given the job of starting the majority of Ireland's passing moves and winning the ball back.
The Anderlecht midfielder, however, didn't excel at either facet of the game. Cullen was, at times, too conservative with his passing. He appeared happy to pass it backwards or sideways and let Ireland's defenders play a long ball, rather than look for a forward pass himself.
Cullen was better defensively, winning the ball back and disrupting moves, but he and Hendrick need another midfielder alongside them.
Jeff Hendrick - 4
Hendrick started well against Armenia before fading badly from the match and struggling to make an impact on both the defensive and attacking sides of the game. It was a similar story for the Dubliner, earning his 71st cap, on Wednesday night.
He often got too far ahead of play and needed to drop in alongside Cullen when Ukraine were in possession. Yet, there was often a large space behind Ireland's midfield that needed to be covered. Cullen and Hendrick need a third midfielder alongside them or that will continue to happen.
In possession, Hendrick offered very little as his passes were not incisive nor particularly accurate. The Newcastle United midfielder could be seen calling for the ball and eventually receiving it, only to then play a square pass or lay it off to a teammate. He also struggled to get the ball out of his feet when in the final third.
Ireland circulated the ball around the pitch but rarely through the middle. The midfield is, without any question, the biggest issue facing Kenny's team.
Jason Knight - 7
Knight replaced Troy Parrott in the starting lineup and played on the left of a forward three. The Derby County midfielder, 21, was Ireland's best player in the opening half and was centrally involved in all of the team's positive moments.
Knight was comfortable taking the ball in tight spaces and driving his team up the field. He opened up the game with his brave play.
In one move in the first half, he collected the ball on the halfway line, moved past two Ukraine players and went on a 30-yard run. Knight had some shots on target and was the one starting Ireland's pressing moves.
Chiedozie Ogbene - 4
Ogbene has played the majority of his games at right wing-back for Rotherham United but started on the right of a forward three again for Ireland.
The 25-year-old has been a bright spark regardless of where he plays for Ireland, scoring three goals in eight caps so far. On Wednesday night, however, he never looked like adding to that tally.
Ogbene appeared to be a yard or two off the pace in the first half. His passing and decision making were, at times, below the standard required.
Callum Robinson - 4
Robinson once again led the line for Ireland. The West Bromwich Albion forward scored five goals in two games for the Boys in Green last year, against Azerbaijan and Qatar respectively.
Robinson, however, never looked like scoring on Wednesday night and was on the edge of the game as the gap between Ireland's midfield and the forward line turned into a chasm. He offered no threat to Ukraine's goal.
Dara O'Shea - 5
On for the final 30 minutes and a bit loose in possession, O'Shea settled into the game as it went on and helped Ireland win a corner with a long pass toward Obafemi.
Michael Obafemi - 5
Made his presence felt when he came on for the final 20 minutes and may get a chance against Scotland after the poor display from Ireland's starting forwards.
James McClean - 6
On for the final 22 minutes and put some decent crosses into the box.
Alan Browne - 5
Browne came on for the final 22 minutes but made no impact on the game.
CJ Hamilton - N/A
Hamilton made his Ireland debut, coming on for the final few minutes, but wasn't on long enough to be rated.