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Macedonia v Ireland player ratings.

6 June 2011 3,183 views No Comment Written by Michael

A night where the demons of Skopje were finally laid to rest. To campaigns in the past were destroyed in the Macedonia capital and there was every chance that they could put a severe dent in a third campaign. Not a vintage performance but that does matter one bit. All one has to do is look at the last 5 years of results that Macedonia have had at home. We have become a fine team away from home and to pick up 7 points from trips to Slovakia, Armenia and Macedonia is a fine achievement.

Shay Given – 8.5 - Completely dependable as usual. Despite a season spent on the bench and blighted by injuries, Given was excellent again for us right when we needed it. Excellent stop from the ever dangerous Pandev early on. Had to take a pain killing injection at half time but was again immense afterwards, with a couple of fine saves from long distance Macedonia efforts.

Stephen Kelly – 7 - A good display from the Fulham man. McShane and Foley may have played more football this season, but Kelly lived up to Traps trust. Got sucked out once early in the first half which let Pandev through, but recovered to have a good game.

John O’Shea – 5 - Can count himself incredibly fortunate not to have been sent off and to have given away a penalty when he pulled Pandev to the ground. As if that was not enough. O’Shea then did his level best to prevent Pandev having any more children with a rash challenge. Could have been a nightmare first half but luck was on his side and he defended very well in the second half as Macedonia were restricted to long efforts at goal.

Darren O’Dea – 7.5 - Massive ask for O’Dea to take his place in what was quite an unusual back line for Ireland. Like O’Shea struggled a little with the imagination of Pandev early on but battled on and grew into the game. Very dependable in the air and put his body on the line a number of times.

Kevin Kilbane – 8 - Will probably have a pain in his neck from the number of headed clearances he made throughout the game and was never troubled down his wing. This performance has kept the left back slot his own for the remainder of the campaign. One blip when he misjudged a cross to allow Pandev to slot home, but it was ruled out or handball.

Stephen Hunt – 7.5 – The high rating is for his defensive display more than anything else. Stuck to the dangerous Popov all night long as he and Kelly kept him very quiet. Offered little going forward, mainly due to his close proximity to Popov, but ran his heart out all night.

Keith Andrews – 7.5 - Involved in the opening goal, and did his job very well throughout. This was his first competitive game since his colossal display in the playoff match against France, and he reminded Irish fans of his importance here. Lot of his work can go unseen but he was solid throughout and ensured no Macedonian attacks of note could come through the middle.

Glenn Whelan – 7 – Rekindled his good partnership with Andrews and seems to have regained some of the form that was missing in the Russian and Slovakian outings. Sat deep alongside Andrews and rarely ventured forward barring first minute effort on goal.

Aiden McGeady – 7.5 - Such a threat to the opposition when he gets space and time on the ball. Yes his crossing is still poor at times but McGeady is now a dependable and vitally important player for Ireland. Impressive in the second half when his control and pace on the ball were needed. Unlucky when his excellent through ball nearly put Keane in for his hat trick.

Simon Cox – 6.5 - Has every right to be cursing the German linesman for a very poor offside decision that cost Cox a goal. Justified Trapattoni’s decision by again linking well with Keane. The defensive side of his game will not have gone unmissed as he tracked back n place of Hunt and McGeady at times when they were out of position. Would have liked to have seen more of the ball in the second half but he put down a good marker here and he will play more as this campaign continues.

Robbie Keane – 9 - In what was a fantastic night for Ireland, Keane enjoyed a great deal of personal satisfaction. Gave Ireland the perfect start with his goal after 7 minutes, and showed his great strikers instincts to punish a bad pass back for the second Irish goal. The fact he was close to missing the match through injury makes his performance that bit more impressive. Perhaps his dreadful club football year has spurned on his international aspirations?

Shane Long – 6 - Came on and tried to get on the ball as much as possible at a time when Ireland were sitting quite far back.

Macedonia. Bogatinov – 6, Grncarov – 4, Noveski – 6 , Sikov – 5, Popov – 6, Sumulikoski – 5.5, Demiri – 5 , Despotovski – 6 , Pandev – 7, Trickovski, 5.5 Naumoski -n/a

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