International roundup: Klich denies Republic of Ireland win over Poland | Football
September 11, 2018
Aiden O’Brien marked his senior international debut with a goal as the Republic of Ireland came within minutes of ending a turbulent week with a morale-boosting victory in Poland.
The 24-year-old Millwall striker looked to have won the day with his 53rd-minute header, but Mateusz Klich equaliser’s in the 87th minute snatched a 1-1 draw.
Having spent much of the run-up to the game in Wroclaw having to handle the fall-out from assistant Roy Keane’s summer rant at Harry Arter and Jonathan Walters, Martin O’Neill saw his depleted squad provide a response to their Nations League drubbing in Wales on Thursday evening.
They were roundly criticised in the wake of a 4-1 loss in Cardiff, where they were porous in defence and toothless in attack as they slipped to a fourth defeat in five games.
However, a team featuring two regular starters in keeper, Darren Randolph, and midfielder Jeff Hendrick, reverted to type in front of a crowd of 25,455, denying Poland time and space and looked to have nicked victory until Klich intervened.
Gavin Whyte needed less than two minutes of his Northern Ireland debut to find the net in a 3-0 win over Israel in a friendly at Windsor Park.
Whyte scored the final goal soon after coming on as a substitute to add to first-half strikes from Steven Davis and Stuart Dallas.
It helped the hosts to a first win in four and a much-needed result after the frustration of Saturday’s 2-1 Nations League loss to Bosnia & Herzegovina in a match Northern Ireland dominated.
Though they did not enjoy the same levels of possession or create as many chances, Northern Ireland did succeed in carving out clear openings and made them count.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice and won a penalty that Eden Hazard converted as Belgium beat Iceland 3-0 in their Nations League A, Group 2 game in Reykjavik.
Lukaku was bundled over by Sverrir Ingi Ingason in the 28th minute and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, with Hazard sending Hannes Halldórssón the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Lukaku then made it 2-0 to Belgium, firing a close-range shot on the rebound that was judged to have crossed the line before Birkir Saevardsson managed to clear. The Manchester United striker then added a third with a deft flick nine minutes from full-time.
It was Belgium’s first game in the new competition and ended a run of 13 competitive matches unbeaten at home for Iceland, who were hammered 6-0 by Switzerland away in their opening Nations League game on Saturday.
In League B, Edin Dzeko grabbed the only goal of the game in the 78th minute as Bosnia overcame Austria in Zenica.
In League C, Hungary edged a 2-1 win over Greece in Budapest. Roland Sallai’s 15th-minute goal was quickly cancelled out by Kostas Manolas, but a 42nd-minute effort from László Kleinheisler proved enough for the Hungarians to bounce back from Saturday’s opening 1-0 defeat in Finland.
Finland maintained their promising start to the competition as Teemu Pukki’s goal in the 12th minute proved decisive in a 1-0 victory over Estonia in Turku.
In League D, Luxembourg eased to a 3-0 win in San Marino, while Moldova and Belarus drew 0-0.