under-fire | 

Stephen Kenny's bleak verdict as Ireland fail to score once more against Ukraine

Stephen Kenny looks on during the UEFA Nations League League B Group 1 match between Republic of Ireland and Ukraine at Aviva Stadium] (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Kevin Palmer

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has fresh questions to answer as his side failed to score once more as they lost 1-0 to Ukraine in a UEFA Nations League game in Dublin.

Viktor Tsygankov condemned Ireland to another bout of Nations League misery as Ukraine bounced back from their World Cup heartache to win in Dublin.

The Dynamo Kyiv midfielder, who had been introduced as a half-time substitute, caught keeper Caoimhin Kelleher on his heels with a 48th-minute free-kick to claim a 1-0 victory at the Aviva Stadium and extend Ireland’s winless run in the competition to 12 games.

That Oleksandr Petrakov’s men prevailed despite making 10 changes to the team which started against Wales on Sunday said much about their strength in depth, but also highlighted again the lack of cutting edge and creativity available to opposite number Stephen Kenny, who saw defender Shane Duffy denied by the woodwork late on.

Even when they did find time and space, poor decision-making meant keeper Andriy Lunin barely had a save of note to make, and Kenny’s hopes of winning the League B group already look forlorn ahead of Scotland’s visit to Dublin on Saturday following back-to-back defeats by Armenia and Ukraine.

"We've made life hard for oursleves," said Kenny. "We lost two very narrow matches and today there wasn't loads of chances in the game.

"For spells, we did really well. We started well and finished well, but we weren't consistent in our play for 90 minutes. It was just unfortunate the goal was a free-kick from theside that went directly in.

"We finished strong, so I don't accept they were fitter than us. We need to show a bit more composure to get control of the game, but the goal didn't come.

"We are doing to have to freshen it up for Saturday (against Scotland). We need some fresher legs in there."

Jason Knight was one of the few bright sparks for Ireland the Derby star admitted Ireland failed to fire in front of an expectant home crowd.

"It's disappointing. We started well, we need to start doing that for a full 90 minutes and get the result with it," he told RTE Sport. "We took a sucker punch at the start of the second half.

"Everyone has given everything they got. I think we did create quite a number of chances, it is up to us to put them away.

"We have to go again in three days time and be ready to put on a performance."

Excuses have been a theme throughout Kenny's era as Ireland manager and now we are getting to a point that we have to concede that the players, the manager or most probably both, are not up to the job at the highest level of the international game.

Today's Headlines

More Soccer

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos