Republic of Ireland

Caldwell goal seals Republic Of Ireland victory

Diane Caldwell was the Republic of Ireland’s hero on Thursday night as Vera Pauw’s side picked up a vital three points in their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign.

Caldwell scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Greece to put themselves two points behind group leaders Germany.

It was a night that the side in Green dominated as they created the first chance on 9 minutes when Heather Payne was played in down the right before she crossed for Rianna Jarrett who couldn’t make a connection with the ball.

Two minutes later Anthi Papakonstantinou in the Greek goal was forced into a fine save as she tipped an effort away from Denise O’Sullivan as she latched onto the end of a cross from Jarrett who signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in January.

Moments later O’Sullivan had another great opportunity when Jarrett sailed down the right before pulling the ball back for the North Carolina Courage midfielder but she blazed her effort over the bar.

Greece had their first opening on 21 minutes when Marie Hourihan flapped at a corner from Athanasia Moraitou but Harriet Scott was on hand to clear the danger.

Aine O’Gorman on her return to the national side was causing the Greeks all sort of problems with her crossing and she whipped in a fantastic ball for Jarrett on 37 minutes but she flicked her effort wide.

With Ireland dominating it took until the 45th minute to break the deadlock on the stroke of the break when Katie McCabe’s free-kick found the head of Louise Quinn and she headed it across goal for Caldwell on her 75th cap to slam the ball into the net.

Republic of Ireland started the second half the way they had finished the first on top and Jarrett made a great run down the left before finding Payne but she was unable to connect and Greece cleared the danger.

Ruesha Littlejohn was next to threaten as she created something out of nothing coming in off the right flank before smashing a shot on target from close range but Papakonstantinou was alert to make another good save.

Littlejohn of West Ham was outstanding and picked up the player of the match award and she had a fantastic opportunity to double the lead on 74 minutes as she was played down the right by O’Sullivan before she cut inside and fired just over the top.

Veatriki Sarri then thought she has equalised for Greece on 86 minutes with a rare effort for the visitors as she curled an effort towards goal when Hourihan was beaten but the ball sailed wide of the target.

Amber Barret then had the ball in the net but her celebrations were cut short as the flag was up for offside as she ran onto a pass from McCabe.

The final opportunity of the game arrived when Barret cut inside in the final minute but she fired her effort just wide of goal as Papakonstantinou scrambled across goal.

Teams

Republic of Ireland

Hourihan, Scott, Caldwell, Quinn, O’Gorman; O’Sullivan, Fahey,McCabe, Payne, Littlejohn, Jarrett

Greece

Papakonstantinou, Chatzigiannidou, Sidira, Chatzinikolaou, Gkatsou, Kakabouki, Markou, Kynossidou, Moraitou, Kokoviadou, Koggouli.

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