Rodrigues piledriver stuns Ireland in the Aviva

By Daire Walsh

Gerson Rodrigues’ outstanding 85th-minute finish succumbed the Republic of Ireland to their second consecutive defeat in Group One of the World Cup qualifiers at the Aviva Stadium this evening.

The hosts had looked set for their fourth scoreless draw under Tallaght man Stephen Kenny, until the Dynamo Kyiv attacker fired to the Irish net to give Luxembourg a famous 1-0 victory in Dublin.

Now 10 games into his tenure, Kenny is still searching for a win and the Republic now find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table.

Stephen Kenny

Tallaght's Stephen Kenny will be disappointed with the outcome against Luxembourg on Saturday evening

The big team news from an Irish perspective was the selection of Firhouse teenager Gavin Bazunu between the sticks for his senior international debut.

Joining him in the starting line-up were Dara O’Shea and Enda Stevens, natives of Templeogue and Drimnagh respectively. 

The Republic were agonisingly close to opening the scoring on 18 minutes, when James Collins’ close-range effort was turned away by Anthony Moris.

Gavin Bazunu

Gavin Bazunu from Firhouse made his senior international debut against Luxembourg tonight

However, Luxembourg were close to breaking the deadlock themselves in the latter stages of the opening half, with the backtracking Bazunu managing to claw away an ambitious Rodrigues lob to keep Ireland on level terms at the break.

The longer the game remained scoreless, the more the visitors grew in confidence. Vincent Thill burst into the penalty area just past the hour mark and Bazunu was once again pressed into action, as he turned the ball away from danger.

 

Moving into the final-quarter, Shane Long and James McClean were introduced off the bench as Ireland continued their search for a breakthrough, but it was at the opposite end that the damage was ultimately done.

After the Irish defence struggled to deal with a long punt up the field, the ball broke to Rodrigues who fired home with a fierce 30-yard strike off his right-foot. 

This put Ireland in a race against time to secure an equaliser, but Luxembourg held firm to claim all three points.

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