Sport

Republic of Eire 0-1 Finland: Exchange Fredrik Jensen ratings simply seconds after approaching

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Finland: Hosts suffer shock defeat in Stephen Kenny’s first home match in charge as substitute Fredrik Jensen scores just seconds after coming on at the Aviva Stadium

  • Republic of Ireland suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Finland in Nations League 
  • Substitute Fredrik Jensen scored for Finland just seconds after coming on 
  • The result followed on from Ireland’s 1-1 draw against Bulgaria on Friday

If this is the new Republic of Ireland then bring back the old kick and rush. This lot certainly weren’t in a hurry to do anything.

Yes, new boss Stephen Kenny wants his team to keep the ball, but possession felt aimless for the large part. Nine tenths of the bore, you might say.

The one moment of real attacking incision belonged to Finland and it brought the only goal on 64 minutes when substitute Fredrik Jensen slid home from close range within 20 seconds of his introduction. 

Fredrik Jensen (centre) celebrates with Teemu Pukki and Glen Kamara after scoring for Finland

Fredrik Jensen (centre) celebrates with Teemu Pukki and Glen Kamara after scoring for Finland

Republic of Ireland attacker Aaron Connolly challenges Finland defender Nikolai Alho

Republic of Ireland attacker Aaron Connolly challenges Finland defender Nikolai Alho

Finland's Teemu Pukki is closed down by Republic of Ireland defender John Egan (right)

Finland’s Teemu Pukki is closed down by Republic of Ireland defender John Egan (right) 

Ireland defender Shane Duffy goes to win the ball aerially while Robert Taylor looks on

Ireland defender Shane Duffy goes to win the ball aerially while Robert Taylor looks on

Kenny – taking charge of his first game in Dublin – insists his players will take risks and that ‘passing back is only a secondary option’.

But there was little adventure here. When they did go forward it was invariably a hopeful hoof in the direction of Norwich forward Adam Idah. The teenager did not look overly impressed at the level of service, and rightly so.

One cross from Harry Arter was more akin to a clearance as it sailed into the low rows behind the goal during what was a desperate first half.

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny was unable to prevent his side from losing his first home game

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny was unable to prevent his side from losing his first home game

Ireland forward Adam Idah falls to the ground as Finland's Juhani Ojala heads the ball

Ireland forward Adam Idah falls to the ground as Finland’s Juhani Ojala heads the ball

Niko Hamalainen controls the ball for Finland while being closed down by Matt Doherty

Niko Hamalainen controls the ball for Finland while being closed down by Matt Doherty

There was a late home rally after Jensen’s effort and Shane Duffy could have salvaged a point – like he did in Bulgaria on Thursday – but the skipper headed over from a Robbie Brady corner.

It is early days in Kenny’s reign and this had the undercooked feel of a pre-season friendly, with obvious reason.

But it was nonetheless a worry with their Euro 2020 playoff in Slovakia next up.

Kenny said: ‘We wanted to win but there is a bigger picture, and that’s Slovakia.’

On this evidence, however, they’re unlikely to be joining Finland at next summer’s finals.

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