Ire­land suf­fer af­ter Jensen strike in Kenny’s home bow

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Damian Spell­man

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.

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