Match ends, Gibraltar 0, Republic of Ireland 4.
Gibraltar 0-4 Republic of Ireland: Professional display seals routine win in Faro16 October 2023
The Republic of Ireland got back to winning ways with a routine 4-0 victory against Gibraltar in Faro.
First-half goals from Evan Ferguson and Mikey Johnston, plus headers in the second from Matt Doherty and Callum Robinson, sealed only the second win in Group B for Stephen Kenny's side.
It was the required response from the Republic, following their disappointing 2-0 defeat against Greece on Friday.
That loss ended their hopes of automatically qualifying for Euro 2024.
Kenny made three changes to the side that lost in deflating circumstances in Dublin, as he looked for more attacking impetus amidst increasing scrutiny about his position as manager.
He had stated before the game he wanted his side to finish a miserable campaign on a high and the Republic showed much more going forward than in their other five Group B matches.
The introduction of Jamie McGrath and Johnston certainly paid dividends, with the Republic dominating the contest from start to finish in a professional performance in Portugal in front of 3,000 Irish fans.
They opened the scoring on eight minutes with their first clear-cut chance of the game, after a patient start to the contest as they probed to try and carve out an opportunity.
Chiedozie Ogbene slipped in Doherty on the overlap on the right hand side and his teasing low delivery was met by Ferguson, with the Brighton striker producing a cushioned volley finish into the roof of the net.
After a lull in the game, the Republic increased the tempo again midway through the half, before Johnston doubled their advantage with his second international goal.
Doherty was again the provider as the Wolves defender fizzed in a low cross to Johnston, who charged into the area and hit the post with his initial effort before reacting fastest to convert the rebound.
Doherty then got on the scoresheet himself in the second half, heading home from close range after an acrobatic flick from McGrath from Johnston's corner.
Substitute Robinson added a fourth with 10 minutes remaining, glancing past Dayle Coleing from McGrath's pinpoint delivery, as the Republic equalled their biggest ever win under Kenny, which came against Qatar in October 2021.
Width key to Irish successMikey Johnston scored on his first start for the Republic of Ireland against Gibraltar
Johnston scored his first international goal off the bench against Gibraltar in a 3-0 victory at Aviva Stadium in June, and following another impressive cameo against Greece on Friday night, Kenny rewarded the Celtic winger with his first start for his country.
The 24-year old linked up well with McGrath and Ryan Manning on the left hand side, just as Jason Knight, Ogbene and Doherty worked well together on the right side, with all adding more penetration to the Irish attack.
Before he bundled home his second international goal Johnston went close from range with a trademark weaving run inside and a fierce right-foot strike, which was beaten away by Coleing.
Despite his lack of involvement with his club, Johnston looked sharp and his ability to take players on certainly excited the Irish fans in the stadium.
He was inches away from connecting with McGrath's whipped cross just before the break, and his own inviting deliveries in the second half should have resulted in more goals for the Republic.
His in-swinging corner found captain Shane Duffy, but the defender's low first-time strike landed the wrong side of the post.
The winger then played in an inch-perfect cross to Knight, who after making a darting run into the box could not direct his close-range header on target.Doherty registered a goal and two assists against Gibraltar
On the opposite side was Doherty, who provided two carbon-copy assists for the first two goals after being played in by Ogbene, before netting the third himself.
Kenny will also be pleased with the performances of McGrath, who also helped himself to two assists and Knight, as both provided energy and purpose in midfield.
Knight looked much more comfortable in an attacking midfield role than the left-wing role he occupied against Greece.
Kenny's current contract with the Football Association of Ireland ends when this campaign is over and the win in the dead-rubber in Faro was only the Dubliner's sixth victory in 27 competitive games.
It was a morale-boosting victory against a team who have now lost all 44 of their World Cup and European qualifiers, but further questions surrounding Kenny's future, which he has refused to answer in this international window, will be brought up again when the qualifying campaign ends in Amsterdam against the Netherlands next month.
- 4SergeantBooked at 84mins
- 14ChipolinaSubstituted forDe Haroat 83'minutes
- 12OliveroSubstituted forCasciaroat 68'minutes
- 5AnnesleyBooked at 53mins
- 17RonanSubstituted forChipolinaat 83'minutes
- 6PozoSubstituted forCoombesat 68'minutes
- 19De BarrSubstituted forEl Hmidiat 69'minutes
- 9El Hmidi
- 11De Haro
Republic of Ireland
- 2DohertyBooked at 72mins
- 15ScalesSubstituted forO'Sheaat 74'minutes
- 6CullenSubstituted forMolumbyat 74'minutes
- 18McGrathBooked at 88mins
- 20OgbeneSubstituted forSykesat 83'minutes
- 9FergusonSubstituted forIdahat 66'minutes
- 19JohnstonSubstituted forRobinsonat 66'minutes
- Christian-Petru Ciochirca
Second Half ends, Gibraltar 0, Republic of Ireland 4.
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67050547?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA