Republic of Ireland beat Gibraltar 2-0 in Euro2020 Qualifier

David McGoldrick celebrates the Republic of Ireland's opening goal against Gibraltar. Credit: UEFA Nations League @UEFAEURO.

Republic of Ireland 2  Gibraltar 0

Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland side had an unconvincing 2-0 win over Gibraltar in their EURO 2020 Group D qualifier at the Aviva Stadium on Monday night.

Following an excellent start to this campaign a win away to Gibraltar, a home win against Georgia and what was viewed as an excellent away point to Denmark on Friday night, the Irish side was expected to comfortably win this game against the British-governed peninsula’s mainly part-time players.

A frustrating opening 45 minutes for the home support, in which the hosts had 71% possession, saw early efforts inside the first ten minutes from Shane Duffy, David McGoldrick and Scott Hogan fail to test the Gibraltar goalkeeper, Kyle Goldwin.

It took almost until the half hour mark for the home side to finally break the deadlock, with the assistance of visiting defender Joe Chipolina. A low cross from the right hand side of the pitch found David McGoldrick who immediately shot goalwards. The striker’s effort came off Gibraltar defender Chipolina and deflected past his goalkeeper, Goldwin, and into the net to break the deadlock after 29 minutes.

The Republic of Ireland had a chance to double the score when Stevens found McGoldrick ahead of him on the left touchline and the goalscorer crossed an excellent ball in low. Scott Hogan came through at pace but Gibraltar’s last line of defence, Goldwin, beat him to it, taking a knock in the process.

Late in the opening half, the industrious Callum Robinson on the right-hand side of the pitch, teed up an effort on his left foot which he sent across the goalmouth forcing Goldwin to dive as the effort went frustratingly wide.

A left-footed effort from Liam Walker which lacked conviction was the visitors’ best effort of the second half, and arguably of the game, but with the shot deflected, it was easily collected by Darren Randolph between the posts.

Man of the Match David McGoldrick had an effort to score his first Republic of Ireland goal when a cross from his captain Séamus Coleman caught the striker unaware but his right-footed shot from the centre of the box failed to seriously trouble Goldwin in the Gibraltar goal as he easily saved at the bottom right corner.

The home side’s onslaught on the visitors’ box saw six Irish shots on target during the second half, among them Scott Hogan’s right-footed shot from the left side of the six yard box which was saved in the bottom left corner. McGoldrick later hit the right-hand post, with the Gibraltar defence beaten, only for the ball to rebound harmlessly.

The anxiety of the Irish fans was alleviated half way through added time at the end of the game when substitute Robbie Brady found the net from a McClean cross, as the ‘keeper misjudged the flight of the ball. The Dubliner dived in at the back post to head the insurance goal, leaving the Republic of Ireland 2-0 winners on the night.

At the beginning of the campaign, Mick McCarthy would certainly have taken the results his side has achieved in their opening four games as they now find themselves on 10 points at the top of Group D. The Irish boss is all too aware, however, that greater challenges lie ahead for his team when the campaign resumes in September.

Republic of Ireland: Darren Randolph, Séamus Coleman (captain), Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh, Enda Stevens, Conor Hourihane, Jeff Hendrick, Callum Robinson (Robbie Brady 73′), James McClean, David McGoldrick, Scott Hogan (Seán Maguire 66′).

Gibraltar: Kyle Goldwin, Joseph Chipolina, John Sergeant, Lee Casciaro (Anthony Bardonn 10′), Jayce Olivero, Roy Chipolina (captain), Andrew Hernandez (Ethan Jolley 76′), Louie Annesley, Alain Pons (Ethan Britto 64′), Liam Walker, Tjay De Barr.

Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU).

In Copenhagen tonight in the Republic of Ireland’s group, Denmark ran out 5-1 winners over Georgia.

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