Hi there! It’s Anthony Onifade, and I’ll be taking you through this evening’s UEFA Nations League fixture between Wales and Republic of Ireland.
Wales will be looking to keep hold of top spot in their UEFA Nations League group when they take on Republic of Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Wales, who drew their friendly with the United States midweek are top of League B Group Four with two rounds of fixtures to play, while Republic of Ireland will be aiming to put their friendly defeat with England behind them, but remain out of contention for promotion from the group.
Gareth Bale is set to be involved in the game with Republic of Ireland after being rested against the USA, but fellow key man Aaron Ramsey is not part of the squad yet again.
Kieffer Moore was brought into the starting line-up against USA in one of nine changes and was surprisingly given more than an hour.
The Cardiff City striker is Wales’ only recognised forward and assistant coach Rob Page – standing in for Ryan Giggs who decided to step down temporarily due to assualt allegations – will hope Moore is in full flow once the game kicks off.
With Wayne Hennessey and Adam Davies both nursing injuries, third choice keeper Danny Ward will continue in goal for the second game running.
Seamus Coleman missed the England game with a hamstring problem, only adding to manager Stephen Kenny’s injury woes, as Enda Stevens is also absent.
John Egan suffered an injury blow against England also, and is unlikely to feature again for Ireland in these next two games.
The Boys in Green also lost Callum Robinson who tested positive for coronavirus, and now Alan Browne has also since tested positive.
Aaron Connolly is also a doubt, so Stephen Kenny will be expected to ring the changes once again in Cardiff.
- The goalless draw against USA makes it just one defeat in 12 for Wales, with their only loss since June 2019 coming in the friendly defeat to England last month.
- Wales have only scored three times in their last six outings.
- Republic of Ireland are winless in seven games since victory over New Zealand 12 months ago.
- This will be the sixth meeting between these sides in the last three years. Wales have lost only one of those past encounters – albeit the biggest game of the lot in World Cup 2018 qualifying.
Players to watch:
WALES: David Brooks
IRELAND: Adam Idah
After making nine changes against USA, Robert Page reverts to a side showing four changes from last month’s Nations League win in Bulgaria.
Gareth Bale is back from injury to captain his country, replacing Kieffer Moore, who is on the bench.
Danny Ward replaces injured goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, midfielder Joe Morrell returns in place of Matt Smith and David Brooks replaces the suspended Harry Wilson.
Republic of Ireland:
Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny makes five changes from Thursday’s friendly defeat against England at Wembley.
Out go defenders Cyrus Christie and John Egan – who is injured – and midfielders Conor Hourihane and Callum O’Dowda, who drop to the bench. Fellow midfielder Alan Browne misses out after testing positive for coronavirus.
In come Kevin Long, Dara O’Shea, James McClean, Jayson Molumby and Robbie Brady.
0′ AND WE’RE OFF! Ireland get us goingEmbed from Getty Images
1′ Goals may be at a premium today, with both sides not known for their goalscoring exploits but should be an interesting battle nonetheless
2′ CHANCE! Free-kick taken by Robbie Brady but Shane Duffy fluffs his line, good opening opportunity for Ireland.
4′ Ireland controlling proceedings, Wales shepherding off well..
5′ Long ball by Ben Davies finds the onrushing Daniel James, but it comes to nothing. His pace and movement will be a worry for Ireland this evening.
7′ Ireland pressing high up the pitch whenever Wales have the ball, forcing them into mistakes.
9′ Ireland the better of the two sides so far, some good passage of play by Jeff Hendrick who finds McClean but his cross is comfortable for Ward.
11′ Wales looking comfortable at the back so far, but also trying to find their openings.
12′ Corner for Wales after some good football.. can they make anything of this?
13′ CLOSE! Daniel James’ corner is headed over by Joe Rodon under pressure from his marker, never troubling the keeper.
16′ Collision between Dan James and Randolph after a long ball by Gareth Bale looks to have played him through. Bit naughty from the Welshman. Randolph alert to the danger.
17′ CLOSE! Couple of chances for Ireland, some patient buildup before Robbie Brady’s shot goes over the bar. Good play from Ireland.
18′ Now a chance for Wales, some sloppy play by Ireland allows Brooks in, but his deflected shot is comfortable for Randolph.
19′ Ireland must be more careful with the playing out from the back, can’t be allowing Brooks, Bale and James a sniff or they will be punished.
21′ Both teams struggling with each other’s pressing, could be decisive in the whole game..
23′ CLOSE! Gareth Bale freekick from all of about 35yards dips but it just passes the cross bar! Great effort from the Tottenham forward.
27′ Both teams still trying to grab hold of the game, nothing major to report so far.
28′ Ireland pressing Wales very well.Embed from Getty Images
29′ CHANCE FOR IRELAND! Wales survive another scare after good movement from McClean in the box, he picks up the long ball by Brady, gets it onto his right football but Ward is equal to it with his feet.
32′ Encouraging performance so far from Ireland, having the better of the opportunities and football.
34′ Fantastic challenge by the talented Joe Rodon on Adam Idah, who looked to be through on goal for shot after a fast break. Perfectly timed tackle. Idah picks up a knock as a result, requires some treatment..
35′ Not looking good for the Norwich man who is hobbling off…
36′ The play continues without Idah.
37′ Idah is back on after treatment. Some real energetic play from Molumby who tries to nick the ball of his man twice which leads to a scuffle between both sets of players right under the referee’s nose. Joe Morrell very fortunate not to get in trouble there, who lashes out at Molumby.
40′ Little opening from Wales on the counter but Norrington-Davies’ cross is cut out from the Irish back-line. Brooks, James and Bale really struggling to conjure any real openings for Wales.
43′ Shot from Robbie Brady flies high and wide.
45′ HALF-TIME in Cardiff. Wales 0-0 Ireland Ireland have certainly had the better of the half with some good passages of play and couple of opportunities but lacking that real cutting edge to hurt Wales. The Welsh front three will be disappointed with each of their showings so far.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY:
45′ No half-time changes to report as Wales get us underway.
47′ CHANCE! Lively start from Wales. Neco Williams plays in Gareth Bale in the box but his dragged shot is saved from Randolph.
48′ Jayson Mulumby is fouled by Ben Davies in a dangerous area, free-kick for Ireland. The Welshman is also booked so he’s now suspended for the game in midweek.
49′ Irish free-kick comes to nothing.
51′ Positive play from Wales again on the left, but N Davies’ cross is cut out by Ireland’s back line!
52′ Norrington Daviess also has a go at goal but his effort is very comfortable for Randolph.
53′ Much much better from Wales in these opening minutes of the second-half.
56′ Derby County’s Jason Knight coming on for Ireland…
56′ Free-kick in a dangerous area for Ireland but Brady’s cross is dealt with it resolutely.
57′ Jason Knight on for Darryl Horgan.
58′ Kieffer Moore getting readied on the Welsh bench.
60′ Ireland creating the openings now and nearly have a chance as Mepham takes a dangerous touch in his own area and Idah nearly capitalizes but his shot is blocked by the Bournemouth defender.
61′ Kieffer Moore replaces Norrington-Davies.
64′ Penalty shout for Wales but Ref is having none of it. Kieffer Moore is booked! On second viewing, the striker is looking for it… correct call by the referee.
66′ GOAAAAAAL FOR WALES! David Brooks heads Wales in front! Fantastic cross from Daniel James, which is headed up in the air by the Duffy for Gareth Bale who heads it across for David Brooks to creep in and score from close range. Deserved goal in all fairness, much better half from the Welsh.Embed from Getty Images
69′ Neco Williams shoots, but his speculative effort drifts well wide.
Much better from Wales in this second half and they are now back at the top of their Nations League group.
70′ Conor Hourihane getting readied for Ireland.
71′ How will the Irish respond now? Nowhere near their efforts in the first half, Stephen Kenny’s side will have to find that clinical edge to breach this compact and organised Welsh defence. The Welsh have not conceded a goal in over seven hours of football, a record.
75′ Two changes for Ireland. James Collins on for Adam Idah. Conor Hourihane on for Jayson Molumby.
76′ CHANCE for Ireland! Substitute Collins looking to get in the thick of the action right away but his shot is saved well by Ward.
77′ Neco Williams penalised for a foul on Collins. Dangerous area for the free-kick on Ireland’s left..
77′ CHANCE! Corner is defended brilliantly from Kieffer Moore, and Wales go up the other end, Brooks is one on one with Randolph but its a fantastic reaction save from the West Ham keeper. Brilliant!Embed from Getty Images
79′ Jason Knight booked for a needless challenge on Morrell.
80′ ANOTHER CHANCE FOR WALES! Gareth Bale’s shot from 25-yards is skewed wide… difficult one to pull off!
80′ Jeff Hendrick booked for a kick-out on Daniel James in the lead up to that chance. Naughty.
81′ O’Dowda and Byrne comes on for O’Shea and Robbie Brady.
84′ Shane Duffy booked for a challenge in the air on Chris Mepham who needs treatment but he’s okay to carry on.
86′ CHANCE! Ireland conjure up another opportunity, but Collins shot is easy for Ward. He had a couple good options either side of him but decides to go for goal himself.
87′ Goal-scorer David Brooks is replaced by Tyler Roberts.
88′ Great cross from Jack Byrne but Collins header is comfortable for Ward. Wales’ brilliant defensive record looks to continue on. Crucial all or nothing tie against Finland on Wednesday, a win will seal top spot for them.
90′ So as it stands, Wales need a point on Wednesday against Finland to win the group.
Ireland need a point to stay up.
Neither side really needs a win.
90′ 5 minutes added on.
90+2′ Corner for Ireland… can they conjure up something?
90+2′ CLOSE! The Corner nearly creeps in at the near post!
90+3′ RED CARD! Jeff Hendrick is hooked for a desperate last-man foul on Tyler Roberts who was through on goal. A tackle he had to make in all fairness but Ireland down to 10 men for the second game in a row against Wales.Embed from Getty Images
90+4′ Wales defending brilliantly, sweeping away every Irish cross.
Wales continue their good form and the brilliant defensive record. 10 games unbeaten and seven successive clean-sheets too. Ireland huffed and puffed all game but couldn’t find any real quality to open up the Welsh defence. It’s six games without a win for Ireland.
Man of the Match: Joe Rodon. Solid defensive showing for Tottenham’s new defensive addition. Forming a formidable trio with Chris Mepham and Ben Davies. That’s seven successive games without conceding.
That’s all from me! See you next time!