Ogbene plays a man of the match role as Ireland end their campaign on a high with a big win over Luxemburg

The Cork man has now scored two goals for his country and is one of the finds of this campaign for manager Kenny
Ogbene plays a man of the match role as Ireland end their campaign on a high with a big win over Luxemburg

Chiedozie Ogbene of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's second goal away to Luxembourg. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Luxembourg 0 

Republic of Ireland 3 

A player of the match display from Cork’s Chiedozie Ogbene and his first goal for the Republic of Ireland, helped Stephen Kenny’s side end their World Cup qualifying campaign on a positive note with victory over Luxembourg at the Stade de Luxembourg on Sunday evening. 

The victory means Ireland finish third in Group A and should also reduce the pressure on Kenny with his future as Ireland manager still in doubt.

Kenny made two changes from the side that drew with Portugal last Thursday, with Cork native Adam Idah coming into the side in place of Jamie McGrath, and James McClean was preferred at wing-back to Enda Stevens.

John Egan received his 21st cap for his country, while Chiedozia Ogbene remained in the team after an impressive display against Portugal in what was his first competitive start for Ireland.

Luxembourg started the better of the sides. The home side were comfortable in possession and easily coped with Ireland’s high press.

John Egan of Republic of Ireland in action against Leandro Barreiro of Luxembourg. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
John Egan of Republic of Ireland in action against Leandro Barreiro of Luxembourg. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

However, it was Kenny’s side that created the first opening of the game. Ogbene broke free down the wing and his cross found the onrushing Callum Robinson but his well-struck effort was well saved by Ralph Schon.

Idah will feel he should have been awarded a penalty just before the quarter of an hour mark when the Norwich striker appeared to be bundled over in the penalty area, but his appeal was waved away by the referee.

Ireland started to get a foothold on the game with Ogbene causing the hosts defence a lot of problems. The Luxembourg defenders were struggling to contain the Rotherham United player but unfortunately for Ogbene, his final pass was letting him down.

Luxembourg would have taken the lead in the 22nd minute had it not been for the brilliance of Gavin Bazunu. The Irish goalkeeper somehow managed to get his fingertips to Olivier Thill’s deflected effort and steer the ball around the post. It was a world-class save from the teenager and highlighted just how important a figure the Manchester City keeper has become for Ireland.

Luxembourg were doing their best to help Ireland take the lead. The home side were careless in passing out from the back and Ogbene almost took advantage, but his driven shot was straight at Schon, who managed to fist the ball over the crossbar.

Egan registered Ireland’s last attempt of the half, however, Schon managed to parry away his headed effort.

Adam Idah of Republic of Ireland is tackled by Vahid Selimovic of Luxembourg. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Adam Idah of Republic of Ireland is tackled by Vahid Selimovic of Luxembourg. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Idah almost gave Ireland the lead after the restart. The striker got on the end of Jeff Hendrick’s cross but couldn’t find the target with his acrobatic attempt.

Ireland took the lead in the 67th minute after Shane Duffy got his head to an inswinging Josh Cullen free-kick after Schon had made a mess of trying to deal with Anderlecht player’s delivery.

Obgene doubled Ireland’s lead with 15 minutes remaining when he was in the right place to take advantage of Jason Knight’s excellent pass and calmly finish into the net.

Robinson rounded off the scoring in the 88th minute tapping home from Knight’s bullback.

Luxembourg: Schon; Jans, Chanot, Pereira (S Thill 86) Pinto; O Thill, Barreiro, Selimovic, Sinani; Sanches (Deville 52), Rodrigues.

Republic of Ireland: Bazunu; Coleman, Duffy, Egan; Doherty (Omobamidele 90), Cullen (Hourinhan 90), Hendrick, McClean; Ogbene (Browne 81), Robinson (Parrott 90), Idah (Knight 62).

Referee: Tamas Bognar (Hungary)

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