Ireland suffer after Jensen strike in Kenny’s home bow
Fredrik Jensen ruined Stephen Kenny’s big night as the Finland substitute came off the bench to fire them to Nations League victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Jensen had been on the pitch for just 18 seconds when he scored somewhat against the run of play to ensure the manager’s first home game ended in a 1-0 defeat at an empty Aviva Stadium.
After a pedestrian first half, Ireland finally established some momentum with Aaron Connolly and substitutes David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson threatening either side of Jensen’s strike, but as the home side pushed for an equaliser, they were hit repeatedly on the counter.
Shane Duffy, the captain, headed agonisingly over at the death after goalkeeper Darren Randolph had kept Finland at bay, but there was no way back. The defeat, coupled with Thursday night’s 1-1 draw in Bulgaria, left the Republic still awaiting a first Nations League win.
Having handed a debut to 19-year-old striker Adam Idah in Bulgaria, the manager included his former Under-21s captain Jayson Molumby in an entirely new midfield trio alongside Harry Arter and Robbie Brady.
Brady was prominent as Ireland attempted to take the game to the visitors from the off.
Ambitious appeals for a 40thminute penalty were waved away by the Italian referee, Fabio Maresca, after Duffy had gone to ground.
Finland took the lead when Jensen converted Robert Taylor’s inviting cross.
Duffy almost repeated his heroics from Sofia when he equalised late on to seal a 1-1 draw for Ireland by nodding in, as he met Brady’s 88th-minute corner with a thumping header, but this time cleared the crossbar.