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04th Apr 2022

Irish abroad: Chiedozie Ogbene screamer secures silverware at Wembley

Luke Jennings

It was a great weekend for Irish players across the water.

Following the Republic of Ireland’s friendly matches, the resumption of club action saw Chiedozie Ogbene score the winner at the Wembley Stadium to win the EFL Trophy.

Elsewhere, Matt Doherty and Michael Obafemi got on the scoresheet as Cyrus Christie turned provider from defence. On the other hand, John Egan had a day to forget.

Stephen Kenny will be looking to build on his win against Lithuania and his draw against Belgium as his squad face four Nations League games in June.

Chiedozie Ogbene

Chiedozie Ogbene – Wembley glory.

Ogbene contributed a goal and an assist as Rotherham United beat Sutton United 4-2 after extra time at Wembley Stadium to win the EFL Trophy.

Fast forward eight days from his goal and assist against Belgium, Ogbene was instrumental once more as he helped guide the Millers to silverware.

The Cork native provided the assist for Jordi Osei-Tutu to equalise in the 95th minute and bring the final to extra time just as Sutton looked likely to pull off an upset.

Ogbene stole the show in the opening half of extra time. The Irish international produced a stunning strike from 25 yards, which found the back of the net to put Rotherham in the lead.

Chiedozie Ogbene

After full time, Ogbene credited his goal to being fatigued. He referenced how physically taxing it was to maintain his fitness levels throughout the 120 minutes.

“It was extremely hard for us today. We all have tired legs, it set well for me and they dropped off, I had to take a shot,” Ogbene told Sky Sports.

Ogbene is out of contract at the end of the season. Regardless of Rotherham’s charge for promotion, the 24-year-old has options in the Championship [and possibly higher] due to his form for club and country.

Matt Doherty – wing-back excellence.

Doherty’s Spurs renaissance continued under Antonio Conte as he contributed a goal and an assist in their 5-1 win over Newcastle United, on Sunday, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs’ emphatic victory over the Toon moves them above fourth-placed Arsenal on goal difference, who have two games in hand, as the race for the final Champions League spot gathers pace.

After Newcastle took an early lead, Doherty’s 48th-minute header tilted the result in Spurs’ favour, which was his second goal in the Premier League this season.

Chiedozie Ogbene

Doherty turned provider for Emerson Royal, as his cross resulted in Conte’s side scoring their fourth goal of the evening.

The 30-year-old was playing out of position at left wing-back, however, he said Conte gave him the license to attack in possession.

“The way the manager wants the wing-backs to play, he wants us to defend at the back post and be at the back post at the other end,” Doherty told Sky Sports.

Doherty has been a mainstay in Conte’s team in 2022. If Spurs achieve a top-four finish, Doherty will be the first Irish outfielder to play Champions League football with a Premier League club since 2011.

Michael Obafemi – scores a brace.

Obafemi was instrumental as he scored two goals in Swansea City’s 4-0 win over Cardiff City on Saturday at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Ireland striker now has six goals in his last six appearances in the Championship. Obafemi aims to earn a call-up to Kenny’s squad for the four Nations League fixtures in June, as he asked to be excused from the squad in March due to only returning from injury.

Swansea manager Russell Martin praised Obafemi’s ability to accept criticism and be himself during his daily approach to training.

Chiedozie Ogbene

Martin never questioned the 22-year-old’s ability, it was just a matter of translating that to goals on match-day.

“I put it down to finding a level of consistency in his daily approach and his willingness to accept criticism and be honest with me and his team-mates. Most of all, he’s dropped his guard and is being himself,” Martin said to WalesOnline.

“He’s just worked really hard, good attitude, and the rest comes. We’ve said that to him all the way along.”

Cyrus Christie – the perfect all-round performance.

Christie was vital to Swansea’s 4-0 win over Cardiff on Saturday as he set up two of the goals as well as keeping a clean sheet.

The 29-year-old will be looking to pave his way back into Kenny’s plans for his upcoming Nations League squad in June.

A record statistic was set following the result. It was the first time that either Swansea or Cardiff won a league double over each other in the 110 years of the Welsh derby.

Christie has four assists from defence this season, despite only making 15 appearances in the Championship since his move from Fulham.

The Irish international will be looking to add to his 29 caps for Kenny’s side. His last appearance came against Qatar in November. If Christie builds on the Cardiff performance, he could earn himself a recall to the squad for the Nations League matches in June.

Chiedozie Ogbene

John Egan – a match to forget.

Egan had a weekend to forget as his own goal resulted in Sheffield United gifting Stoke City all three points in a 1-0 loss, at the bet365 Stadium.

The Corkman had a fantastic performance against Belgium over the international break, where he was arguably man-of-the-match.

The 77th minute saw Stoke open the scoring following their relentless pressing. Josh Tymon whipped the ball into the box which hit the hand of Egan, the deflection wrong-footed goalkeeper Wes Fotheringham for the only goal of the afternoon.

The result leaves the Blades eight in the Championship, one point off the play-offs with seven games to play. Egan has been a main-stay in defence for United this season, playing all 39 of the games.

Despite Egan’s performance to forget, there will be interest in the 29-year-old in the summer, who will be eager to make a return to top-flight football.

Chiedozie Ogbene

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