Football

Ireland Player Ratings As Kenny's Side Frustrate Returning Fans In Azerbaijan Draw

Ireland Player Ratings As Kenny's Side Frustrate Returning Fans In Azerbaijan Draw

Gary Connaughton providing the Ireland player ratings from the Aviva Stadium

And just like that, much of the good will earned in Portugal earlier this week has already gone. Ireland needed to follow that game up with a win against Azerbaijan in Dublin this evening, but they failed to deliver it.

It could have been much worse. Ireland trailed against the world's 112th best side as we entered the final ten minutes, with only a late Shane Duffy header stopping the side from falling to another defeat. 1-1 and another frustrating night for this team.

As the final whistle blew, boos rang around the Aviva Stadium on the return of Irish fans for the first time in 22 months. Back to square one for Stephen Kenny.

Here's our Ireland player ratings for the performance on the night.

Ireland Player Ratings

Gavin Bazunu - 7

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Pulled off a couple of smart saves early in the game, but there was little he could do about the opener as Azerbaijan were once again given too much time at the edge of the box to pick out a shot.

Made a good save with his foot late on to stop the visitors extending their lead and helping earn Ireland a point.

 

Seamus Coleman - 5

Was not afraid to push up the pitch despite starting as one of the centre backs, including one occasion where he popped on the edge of the box with the goal gaping. Unfortunately, the left footed shot sailed over the bar.

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However, he had to do far more to stop the shot from the edge of the box for the Azerbaijan opener. It was something he was guilty of a few times in the first half.

While he contributed in forward areas, this lapse in judgement proved to be a telling moment in the game.

 

Shane Duffy - 6

Dealt well with the aerial attacks as expected and defended well, but Duffy's passing let him down on a number of occasions.

Despite this, he was the one to step up as Ireland chased that late equaliser with an excellent header.

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John Egan - 6

Produced a few lovely lofted passes to move the ball out of the defence early on, switching the point of attack and showing one of the reasons he is so valuable to this team. That continued throughout the game, but unfortunately this could not help Ireland further up the pitch.

Showed a willingness to get forward and was perhaps unlucky not to connect with a couple of headers.

 

Matt Doherty - 5

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Played incredibly high, often standing on the shoulder of the opposition defence when Ireland were on the ball. However, he got little joy after that opening ten minutes.

He did have more of an influence in the second half, as he pressed high up the pitch. Replaced by James Collins with ten minutes to go as Ireland chased the game.

 

James McClean - 5

McClean was caught out of position defensively on a couple of occasions in the opening period, while also not offering the same attacking threat as Doherty on the opposite flank.

Came to life a lot more in the second half, often acting as a major attacking threat as they attempted to get back into the game. Unfortunately, his crosses were very hit and miss once he got into promising positions.

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Josh Cullen - 7

Consistently did the simple things right in the opening half, breaking up play and making the simple pass. He made a few impressive switches of play at times as well.

This continued throughout the second half as Cullen successfully filled the role he was asked to carry out. The midfielder also provided the cross for Duffy's equaliser, something his performance deserved.

On a day when few others performed, he was probably Ireland's best player.

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Jayson Molumby - 4

Worked hard in hassling the opposition in the early stage, but struggled to make the ball stick after winning it back, including a couple of occasions when Ireland looked to launch a dangerous counterattack.

Came close to giving Ireland the lead just before the half hour mark when his shot near the edge of the box whistle beyond the far post.

Things only seemed to get worse in the second half as he missed another good chance from a header and continued to lose the ball in dangerous areas. Replaced by Conor Hourihane.

 

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Troy Parrott - 5

Seemed to get lose in the play a bit as he drifted infield to give Doherty the space to operate on the right.

Grew into things a bit more in the second half, stinging the palms of the opposition goalkeeper with a shot from outside the area. However, he was not involved enough in the game.

 

Adam Idah - 7

One of the stars of the Ireland player ratings in Faro. Linked the play well once again in the opening half, although he did miss an excellent opportunity to give Ireland the lead from a Connolly cross.

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He would miss another glorious headed chance in the second half. Despite this, it was another excellent all around performance from the Norwich City striker. He just needs to add that finishing touch in front of goal.

 

Aaron Connolly - 5

Connolly consistently looked to get in behind on the left flank, but things just weren't working out for him. However, we were given a glimpse at what he could offer when he beat a man and lofted a beautiful cross into the box for Idah to head just wide.

Unfortunately, that was about as good as it got for him as he was replaced at halftime.

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Substitutes

Daryl Horgan - 5

Was a real live wire right from his introduction at the interval, setting up a golden opportunity for Molumby only a minute after coming on.

Unfortunately, he struggled after that initial burst. He gave the ball away in dangerous positions on a number of occasions and did not get in behind like you would have hoped.

 

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Conor Hourihane - 6

Injected a bit of life into Ireland's passing play after coming on, with his set-piece delivery always an asset to have in the team.

You certainly feel like Ireland could have done with him from the start as they so often lacked any sort of flow of play in the middle third.

 

Callum Robinson - 6

Robinson worked hard and was constantly on the move after coming on, although he got little joy as Azerbaijan sat deep to defend.

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He did have one good chance as the ball fell to him in the box late on, but his snap shot would dribble wide as he failed to work the goalkeeper. He did brilliantly to take the ball down and turn in the box in injury time, but could not beat the goalkeeper.

 

James Collins & Alan Browne - N/A

Not on long enough to rate.

SEE ALSO: A Ridiculous XI Of Ireland Players Who Never Played At A Major Tournament

Gary Connaughton

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