Ireland put in a solid shift with a depleted squad and it took Spain 65 minutes to break the deadlock in last night’s friendly at Yankee Stadium.
A crowd of 39,368 took in the action as the World and European champions claimed a 2-0 win, while back home Twitter was surprisingly alive as a diehard posse of Irish supporters stayed up until just short of 3am.
The game came just days before the one year anniversary of that forgettable 4-0 defeat to the same opposition at the European Championships.
Roberto Soldado was the man who finally broke the Irish resistance, and in truth the goal could have come a lot earlier with Spain enjoying 90% possession in the first 25 minutes.
David Forde again put in a solid shift between the sticks, making a number of good saves, while Seamus Coleman looked his usual lively self on the right hand side.
Ireland’s best chance to score in the first half came when Conor Sammon robbed Gerard Pique and raced through on goal, but his final effort was disappointing to say the least (gifs courtesy of our friends at Balls.ie) –
After Soldado had opened the scoring, Ireland made a number of changes and thought they had found an equaliser in the last ten minutes but Sean St. Ledger’s header was ruled out for offside.
Shortly afterwards, substitute Juan Mata put the proverbial icing on the cake by scoring a lovely second for the Spaniards.
Overall, it was a spirited performance from Giovanni Trapattoni’s side and even though Ireland saw little of the ball throughout, they “put in a shift”.
The highlight of the night came at half time when Opta Jose tweeted its obligatory completed passes stat. One lad responded in typically Irish fashion –
Spain: Valdes (Casillas 59), Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Busquets, Pedro (Santi Cazorla 80), Villa (Soldado 59), Xavi (Mata 69), Iniesta (Fabregas 59), Silva (Navas 46).
Subs not used: Albiol, Martinez, Azpilicueta, Torres, Monreal, Reina.
Ireland: Forde (Randolph 69), McShane, St Ledger, O’Dea, Kelly (Delaney 90), Coleman, McCarthy (Meyler 84), Hendrick (Quinn 46), A.Keogh (McClean 69), Keane (Cox 57), Sammon.
Subs not used: R.Keogh, McCarey