Jensen downs Ireland again as...


Jensen downs Ireland again as Finns inflict another defeat on Kenny and co

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The Republic of Ireland's Nations League frustrations continued with a barely-deserved 1-0 defeat away to Finland. 

Much as he was at the Aviva Stadium in September, Frederik Jensen was the difference between the sides.

The big Augsburg man capitalised on some sloppy play from goalkeeper Darren Randolph. Teemu Pukki won the ball and played in Jensen who grabbed the only goal of the game.

The goal came moments after Enda Stevens had hit the cross-bar. And Ronan Curtis was denied an equaliser in injury-time.

Stephen Kenny's side were confined to a half-chance for Jeff Hendrick in the first-half, with the hosts having the better chances.

Pyry Soiri sold Enda Stevens a dummy eight minutes before half-time, feeding Teemu Pukki who threaded the ball just wide of Darren Randolph's right-hand upright

A minute before the break, Pukki cut inside from the left and got a shot away that grazed Randolph's side-netting.

Pukki capitalised on sloppy Ireland play just prior to the hour mark, charging past Jayson Molumby before cutting the ball back to Ilmari Niskanen. His shot clipped Dara O'Shea and trundled wide.

Enda Stevens came closest to breaking the deadlock, when the Sheffield United wing-back found himself in the six-yard box, flicking a shot away that hit the crossbar.

Darren Randolph's quickly-taken goal kick was nipped from the feet of Shane Duffy, who darted down the inside-left channel and crossed for Frederik Jensen.

Dara O'Shea couldn't do enough to take it out of the path of the Augsburg man, who prodded it into the net.

Duffy and Matt Doherty both headed over from Brady set pieces in the final ten minutes as Ireland sought to salvage at least a point from the game.

Finnish goalkeeper Lukas Hadecky was forced into his first meaningful save as the game entered injury-time, denying substitute Ronan Curtis whose header appeared destined for the bottom corner.

The result means that Ireland finish this portion of the international calendar having scored no goals, but their performances are certainly improving markedly from the latter days of the reign of Mick McCarthy.

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