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Five talking points from Ireland’s win v Azerbaijan in Baku

ireland azerbaijan talking points

A win at last for Stephen Kenny.

A 13-game wait for a competitive win has finally come to an end as Ireland secured a commanding win away to Azerbaijan on Saturday evening.

Goals from Callum Robinson and Chiedozie Ogbene handed Kenny’s side a deserved win on the banks of the Caspian Sea as the pressure eased on the Ireland boss.

At times, however, Ireland had a couple of scares to contend with, but it mattered little as they ran out easy winners.

Callum Robinson.

Well, that was some way to silence the critics, wasn’t it? During the week, Callum Robinson was the centre of a Covid-19 storm, but he responded to it well by scoring two in Baku.

Granted, his second goal was fortuitous enough, but his first was a superb finish given his lack of balance. Credit must go to James McClean as well for creating the chance with some good play as Ireland took an early lead.

Robinson, perhaps, may have had more, but a brace will do as Kenny’s side finally secured that elusive competitive win.

James McClean.

He may come under fire at times, but McClean’s experience and power came to the fore in Baku, grabbing an assist.

The Wigan Athletic wide-man’s quick feet played in Robinson before his teammate found the top corner of the net with a delicious strike.

He may have had another assist, but he opted to shoot rather than play in Adam Idah who was free inside the penalty area. But then again, you can’t really blame him for wanting to get his name on the scoresheet as the chance presented itself.

Gavin Bazunu.

Believe it or not, Gavin Bazunu is still only 19 years of age, and he does not show it one bit as the former Shamrock Rovers teenager continues to impress.

He may not have been as busy as he was in previous games, but he was still forced into a couple of important saves to maintain Ireland’s comfortable advantage.

His acrobatic save to deny Abbas Huseynov was a real sign of his maturity and undoubted quality. Bazunu is a special talent, as if we didn’t know that already.

Promising signs.

Yes, it may have only been Azerbaijan, but there were many positives on show for Kenny’s young side who ran riot at times in Baku.

Andrew Omobamidele and Bazunu impressed at the heart of the defence for the Boys in Green, as did Josh Cullen from the centre of midfield.

But it was the performance of Ogbene off the bench that will grab many of the headlines. The Corkman headed home late on from a Cullen corner to make it 3-0 as the Boys in Green secured a deserved win.

A win.

And there we have it, a win at last for Ireland and Stephen Kenny.

It has been a long 16 months for Ireland in their search for a win, but it has finally arrived, perhaps a bit late although.

ireland azerbaijan talking points

Then again, a win is a win, and who knows, this may be the springboard for a run of wins under Kenny ahead of Tuesday’s friendly at home to Qatar on Tuesday night.

Job done.

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