Player ratings: Obafemi a real shining light but near collapse leaves sour taste

Paul Dowling's player ratings from Ireland's win over Armenia.
Player ratings: Obafemi a real shining light but near collapse leaves sour taste

SHINING LIGHT: Republic of Ireland's Michael Obafemi celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Nations League match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire.


Gavin Bazunu 5. Very rarely even touched the ball throughout the whole game. A spectator in the first half – didn’t have a save of note to make. But then conceded two goals to Dashyan (71) and Spertsyan (73). The worry is a possible lack of concentration.

Nathan Collins 7. A certain starter from now on as one of the bright aspects to emerge from the campaign. The Wolves man broke through the lines several times with bursts from defence. A threat off set-pieces. Denied by Yurchenko on 76 with a point-blank header 

John Egan 7. With Seamus Coleman and Shane Duffy again amongst the substitutes, the Cork native retained the captain's armband. Now a team leader. Has taken over Duffy’s scoring mantle as he powered in a great 18th minute header. The concession of the two quick-fire goals will be a worry though.

Dara O’Shea 8. Ireland’s best defender. Set the tone early on with a high pressing line as the left of the back three. Fully committed display.

His fizzing pass to Obafemi helped set-up the second score just after the interval. Then his shot brough the winning penalty off Dashyan’s handball.

Matt Doherty 6. Got the nod again ahead of Coleman. And got through the full 90 despite a lack of games at Spurs. Offered width as right wing-back. But like so many team-mates, lacking the end product.

Jeff Hendrick 5. With Josh Cullen suspended, there was a 75th cap for the Dubliner. Deployed on the right of the midfield. But the on-loan Reading player was not involved enough. On this showing, not the answer in the centre of the pitch.

Jayson Molumby 6. He took the number 6 off Cullen then slotted in as the midfield anchor. Had a solid first period in the middle of the park. Booked in the 29th minute for a foul on Zelarrayan. Very lucky not to be sent off for a 47th minute pull-back on Grigoryan. That clearly prompted Stephen Kenny to substitute the West Brom man and bring on Conor Hourihane on 52.

Robbie Brady 7. Kept his cool to convert the injury time spot-kick. The 30-year-old was handed a first international start since March last year in the left wing-back role as James McClean dropped to the bench. Brought in for his crossing/set-pieces deliveries. Duly came up trumps with his corner for Egan’s opener.

Jason Knight 7. Another bright performance by the Derby playmaker who is surely destined to move on to bigger and better things. Covered a large amount of ground with an end to end display. His partnership wide left with Brady shows promise.

Troy Parrott 6. His work-rate cannot be questioned. It’s the end product of goals that is missing. Ram the channels well and close down the visiting defence. The partnership with Obafemi could become the Irish mainstay for years to come.

Michael Obafemi 8. Ireland’s top performer. Backed by Stephen Kenny to come up with the goods after a mixed bag against Scotland. Responded to the vote of confidence with a super turn and long range shot to make it 2-0. Has the potential to be the heir to Robbie Keane’s crown. Departed injured late on.

Subs: Conor Hourihane 5 (for Molumby 51). An up and down display by the Cork man. Almost turned provider for Doherty on 67 with a wonderful cross. Terribly gave the ball away for Armenia’s second goal. Blasted over with a chance soon after.

Callum Robinson (for Parrott 76). Alan Browne (for Knight 76). With the hectic ending, both had very little opportunity to make an impact. Not on long enough to mark.

Scott Hogan (for Obafemi 86). Not on long enough to mark. But was offside for his injury time missed chance.

Chiedozie Ogbene, Seamus Coleman, James McClean, Shane Duffy, Callum O’Dowda, Liam Scales Mark Travers, Max O’Leary (all not used).

Armenia: David Yurchenko; Andre Calisir (Karen Muradyan 83), Hovhannes Hambartsumyan, Varazdat Haroyan, Hrayr Mkoyan (Taron Voskanyan 60); Artak Grigoryan, Eduard Spertsyan, Khoren Bayramyan, Jordy Monroy (Artak Dashyan 60); Lucas Zelarayán (Vahan Bichakhchyan 69), Tigran Barseghyan (Zhirayr Shaghoyan 82).

Referee: Rade Obrenovič (Slovenia).

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