Poland 1 Republic of Ireland 1: Late Klich strike spoils dream O'Brien debut

Millwall striker Aiden O'Brien scored on his debut as the Republic of Ireland held Poland to a 1-1 draw in a friendly.

Published : Sep 12, 2018 08:01 IST

Republic of Ireland striker Aiden O'Brien
Republic of Ireland striker Aiden O'Brien

Republic of Ireland striker Aiden O'Brien

Aiden O'Brien scored on his Republic of Ireland debut as Martin O'Neill's side bounced back from defeat against Wales to draw 1-1 against Poland in Wroclaw.

The 24-year-old Millwall striker capped an energetic performance with a well-placed header early in the second half but Ireland's much-improved defence was undone by Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich, who equalised three minutes from time.

Having conceded four against Wales, Ireland set its stall out to defend doggedly against a Poland side keen to make amends for a disappointing World Cup, and O'Neill's three-man back line worked hard to frustrate Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik.

The signs were not good for Ireland when Milik was allowed a free-header from Marcin Kaminski's flick-on after 10 minutes and guided it just wide to the left of Darren Randolph's goal.

The lively O'Brien lifted a shot high and wide from close range before the half-hour mark and Milik thumped a drive into Randolph's midriff five minutes later but the Ireland defence held firm at the break.

Ireland came out on the front foot in the second half and within eight minutes of the restart O'Brien broke the deadlock, glancing the ball over Wojciech Szczesny with a header from Callum O'Dowda's superb in-swinging cross.

Poland boss Jerzy Brzeczek made five changes to try and turn the game in front of an impatient home crowd, yet what looked to be its best chance was wasted when Damian Szymanski headed wide.

But Klich broke Ireland hearts with just five minutes left on the clock, playing a neat one-two with Milik before beating Randolph down to his left and taking the sheen off O'Brien's night.

What does it mean: Much-needed hope for beleagured O'Neill


Pat on the back: O'Brien more than just a finisher

While the night will be remembered for his goal, O'Brien led the line like a seasoned international, causing Poland problems in both halves and providing Ireland's packed midfield with a constant target.

Boot up the backside: Milik fails to grasp his moment to shine

Robert Lewandowski's status as Poland's attacking inspiration came under no threat as Milik laboured alongside Krzysztof Piatek, doing little to suggest he is the long-term solution when the Bayern Munich frontman eventually retires.

Key Opta facts:

- Republic of Ireland has won just one of its 16 visits to Poland in all competitions (D5 L10) with that sole victory coming back in May 1976 (2-0).
- Poland has lost just one of its last nine matches against Republic of Ireland (W2 D6 L1).
- Republic of Ireland has failed to win any of its previous 11 away friendlies (D7 L4), with its last victory coming back in August 2007 against Denmark (4-0).
- Aiden O'Brien netted the opener in what was his international debut for the Republic of Ireland.

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