Republic of Ireland vs. Greece – Match Report

5 March 2020; Republic of Ireland players, from left, Katie McCabe, Marie Hourihan, Heather Payne, Harriet Scott, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey and Diane Caldwell during Amhrán na bhFiann prior to the UEFA Women's 2021 European Championships Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Greece at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

In what was a crucial game in both teams qualification bids for Euro 2021 Greece travelled to Tallaght Stadium to take on the Republic of Ireland. 

The hosts started the game well as they passed the ball around efficiently and there was the sense from the early stages that there was only going to be one winner. 

The first effort of the game belonged to Ruesha Littlejohn, back in the Irish squad after an absence, who fired just over the bar from distance but it was clear that Greece were very happy with a point from this one. 

There were a few questionable frees given to Greece before a teasing ball by Heather Payne was narrowly missed by the in form Rianna Jarrett. 

Ireland looked threatening but couldn’t force many saves from Papakonstantinou and after a while Greece were able to take the sting out of the game. 

But just after the half hour mark Louise Quinn had her effort narrowly go wide of the post, Ireland were getting closer. Surely Greece couldn’t hold out for much longer. 

5 March 2020; Denise O’Sullivan of Republic of Ireland poses for a photograph with Nathalie O’Brien and Savannah McCarthy following the UEFA Women’s 2021 European Championships Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Greece at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

And that proved to be the case when from a Katie McCabe free kick, Louise Quinn flicked the ball on to be tapped home by her centre back partner Diane Caldwell to give Ireland the lead before half time and no one could disagree that this was deserved. 

The second half started similarly to the first with Ireland now pushing for a killer second goal. Jarrett found space down the left and whipped in a delightful ball to the far post but Payne couldn’t get her header on target. 

Then some brilliant footwork from Ruesha Littlejohn creates a chance for the West Ham forward who’s shot is parried by the keeper before the second attempt is skewed wide. Greece were hanging on. 

But then finally a chance for the visitors as Sarri, who came on in the second half broke down the left and crossed for Chatzinikolaou but she couldn’t direct her effort on target much to the delight of the home crowd. 

After Ireland brought on Amber Barrett, the scorer of the Irish goal the last time these two sides met, Littlejohn created another opportunity as she skimmed the top of the bar from the edge of the area. 

5 March 2020; Harriet Scott of Republic of Ireland celebrates with fans following the UEFA Women’s 2021 European Championships Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Greece at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Greece made one last change as they brought on Anastasia Spyridonidou in the hope she would find another equaliser against Ireland like she did 4 months previously. 

The fourth official signalled that there would be 5 minutes of additional time as the Greeks went all out attack in search for an equaliser but it wasn’t to be as Ireland held out to secure a valuable three points in a 1-0 win. 

It’s Montenegro away next for Ireland on Wednesday and a win for the Republic will leave Ukraine needing to win all their remaining games to overtake Ireland in the standings.  

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