Euro Qualifier Report: Republic of Ireland 1 – 2 Netherlands

Adam Idah celebrating scoring his early penalty against the Netherlands

Adam Idah celebrating scoring his early penalty against the Netherlands Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

Luke Jordan reports from the Aviva Stadium

A disappointing night in the Aviva as goals from Cody Gapko and Wout Weghorst were enough to seal the three points for the Dutch in Dublin after Ireland had taken an early lead from an Adam Idah’s penalty.

The Boys in Green have now just three points from their opening five games in the group as their qualification hopes are living on a play-off prayer.

Stephen Kenny knew that tonight was another big night in his Irish managerial reign as the pressure continues to grow on his future in the job.

There were both boos and cheers for the Ireland boss pre-match as his name was read out by the stadium announcer. This captured the mood of the football public as his position is again another talking point during an international window.

The Irish manager made two changes to the line-up from Paris with the experienced James McClean and Matt Doherty restored to the side. Doherty had been suspended for the French game after his red card in Athens back in June.

Ronald Koeman made three alterations from their 3-0 victory over Greece in Eindhoven. Martin De Roon, Lutsharel Geertruida, and Wout Weghorst, who scored in the 3-0 win, all dropped to the bench for Matthijs De Ligt, Donyell Malen, and Mats Wieffer.

Manchester City’s Nathan Aké who was an injury doubt coming into the match was passed fit to play by the Dutch medical team.

Ireland could have scored within the first two minutes when Flekken was pressed by Browne, the ball ending up with Idah who didn’t sort his feet out quick enough as the Dutch regrouped to prevent the goal.

From the resulting corner, Dutch captain Virgil Van Dijk was adjudged to have handled the ball as his arm was in unnatural position by the Bosnian referee.

Up stepped Idah who made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 1-0 to the Boys in Green. A huge moment for the Cork man in a green jersey as the stadium erupted with noise.

His strike partner and fellow Cork man Cheo Ogbene were causing multiple problems for the star-studded Dutch back three with Ogbene and Aké having a great battle of strength and speed.

Despite the great start, Kenny will be furious with the cheap concession of a goal which could have been avoided. A poor header by Doherty in the midfield sees Cody Gapko pick up the ball and play a wonderful to Denzel Dumfries who was taking down by the on-rushing Gavin Bazunu in the penalty area.

Liverpool’s Gapko slotted his spot kick home to equalise for the away side.

Malen was causing issues with his pace in behind the Irish defence, and some poor defending by Shane Duffy and John Egan allowed the Dutch forward in on goal but Bazunu was equal to the effort.

Ireland should have scored a second when the tireless Alan Browne pressed Frenkie De Jong into another error on the edge of the penalty area. Idah laid it to Ogbene who looked certain to score but he took an extra touch before shooting which allowed Aké to block the Luton man’s effort.

Just before half time, Bazunu was once more called into action to make another stop from Malen to keep the tie level going into the interval.

Ronald Koeman made changes at the half time break, switching to a 4-3-3 shape, and brought on Weghorst and Reijnders.

The switch worked, with Malen and Dumfries getting more space to exploit the gaps in behind the wing backs, and on 56 minutes their second goal came.

A clip over McClean’s head found Dumfries who picked out substitute Weghorst who beat Duffy to the ball to score to make it 2-1 to the Oranje.

The Dutch began to control proceedings for a period after the goal as Ireland dropped into low block trying to ride out the orange storm.

There were claims for another penalty as Ogbene went down after a slight shove by Van Dijk. VAR agreed with the on-field decision, and it was waved away. 

Ireland was struggling to create chances from play in the second half and were relying on set pieces to force the equaliser.

Kenny rolled the dice in the final quarter as he switched to a 4-3-3 shape withdrawing a centre back to try get the elusive second goal.

Substitute Noa Lang had an opportunity to seal the win and grab a third after Knight was dispossessed fairly despite the complaints of the home fans, but Duffy did enough to quell the chance.

Kenny made further changes late on in the hope of snatching a draw, one of them being Tallaght native Sinclair Armstrong who made his debut after a good start to the season with QPR.

Ireland huffed and puffed with putting crosses in the box but the Dutch leave Dublin with all three points.

A bitterly disappointing night after such promise with an Adam Idah opener. Ireland now need results to go their way over the next couple of months to have any chance of getting a Euro 24 play off position.

Rep. Of Ireland: Gavin Bazunu; Nathan Collins, Shane Duffy, John Egan (Will Smallbone 73); Alan Browne (Jamie McGrath 73), Joshua Cullen, Matt Doherty (Festy Ebosele 87), Jason Knight (Sinclair Armstrong 87), James McClean (Ryan Manning 64); Adam Idah, Chiedozie Ogbene.
Subs not used: Caoimhín Kelleher, Max O'Leary, Andrew Omobamidele, Dara O'Shea, Jayson Molumby, Jeffrey Hendrick, Aaron Connolly. 
Booked: Gavin Bazunu (18), Chiedozie Ogbene (42), Jason Knight (67). 

Netherlands: Mark Flekken; Nathan Aké, Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk; Daley Blind (Wout Weghorst 46), Frenkie de Jong, Denzel Dumfries, Xavier Simons (Steven Berghuis 89), Mats Wieffer (Tijani Reijnders 46); Cody Gakpo (Noa Lang 80), Donyell Malen (Teun Koopmeiners 68).
Subs not used: Andries Noppert, Bart Verbruggen, Stefan de Vrij, Quilindschy Hartman, Micky van de Ven, Joey Veerman, Marten de Roon. 
Booked: Mats Wieffer (16), Cody Gakpo (67), Wout Weghorst (87). 

Referee: Irfan Peljto (Bosnia & Herzegovina).
Attendance: 49,807 Player of the Match: Jason Knight (Republic of Ireland)