World Cup Qualifying - European
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan0R. of IrelandRepublic of Ireland3

Azerbaijan 0-3 Republic of Ireland: Irish win in Baku as Robinson nets double

By John HaugheyBBC Sport NI
Callum Robinson celebrates after putting the Republic of Ireland ahead in Baku
Callum Robinson made headlines on Tuesday when he revealed that he had chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite twice contracting the virus

Callum Robinson's two goals helped earn a first competitive win for Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny as they beat Azerbaijan 3-0 in Baku.

After 12 winless competitive games under Kenny, the Republic's World Cup hopes were long over, but this result will ease pressure on him.

West Brom's Robinson netted his goals in the first half with sub Chiedozie Ogbene adding a late third.

Robinson revealed in midweek that he had not received a Covid-19 vaccine.

With the striker, 26, having twice tested positive for coronavirus, that admission led to something of a national debate in Ireland about whether sports people should be vaccinated in order to represent their country.

But Republic manager Kenny and John Egan, captain against Azerbaijan, stoutly defended Robinson's freedom of choice on the issue.

The frontman responded to the controversy by producing an energetic and goalscoring display in the World Cup Group A qualifier.

Robinson netted a fine second international goal as his fired into the roof of the net from just outside the penalty area in the seventh minute after a taking pass on the run from James McClean.

He claimed a double in the 39th minute when, against the run of play, Robinson's shot from just outside the box took a deflection off Azerbaijan defender Hojjat Haghverdi before deceiving home keeper Sahruddin Mehemmedeliyev.

Substitute Ogbene, who plays for League One side Rotherham, added the third in the final minute of normal time as his header squirmed underneath the Azerbaijan keeper.

The Republic of Ireland hadn't earned a competitive win since the 2-0 win over Gibraltar in June 2019
Stephen Kenny watches his Republic of Ireland earn the first competitive win of his reign

Any win was going to do for Kenny

It was far from a perfect display by Kenny's 50th-ranked side against a country who stand 117th in the Fifa ratings.

After Robinson's opener, the Republic lost their way for half an hour with home defender Haghverdi missing two glorious headed chances to get the hosts level.

But Robinson's second strike gave them breathing space and the introduction of St Mirren's Jamie McGrath for Daryl Horgan at half-time gave Kenny's side more midfield control after the break.

Robinson had four chances to complete his hat-trick with McClean and Shane Duffy also squandering opportunities.

Prior to Ogbene's late effort, Azerbaijan produced some pressure with young Republic keeper Gavin Bazunu tipping a Qara Garayev shot onto the underside of his crossbar.

Republic wing-back Matt Doherty also looked fortunate not to concede a penalty when the scoreline was 2-0 as he appeared to handle with the referee instead deciding that Azerbaijan striker Mahir Emreli had first pulled the Tottenham player's jersey.

Robinson justifies Republic recall

Robinson's inclusion for the suspended Alan Browne was one of two changes from last month's 1-1 home draw with Serbia - Horgan also replaced McGrath - and he totally justified his selection.

He had already been involved in the Republic's best early moments before putting them ahead.

McClean's feint after taking a pass from Josh Cullen gave him space to find Robinson with a pass towards the edge of the Azerbaijan penalty area and, after a taking an initial touch with his right foot, the forward lofted a stunning effort with his left boot from 20 yards.

But the Republic were pushed deep into their own territory for the next 30 minutes.

Haghverdi missed with a free header from eight yards out and nodded another chance wide.

Keeper Bazunu saved a Filip Ozobic effort before Robinson, with his back to goal, took a pass from Horgan and fired in a deflected effort.

The Republic missed several opportunities to add to their tally but, after weathering the hosts' rally, Ogbene - who became the first African-born player to represent the Irish in June - headed home the third.

What's next?

The Republic face World Cup hosts Qatar in a friendly in Dublin on Tuesday before finishing their Group A campaign with a home contest against leaders Portugal on 11 November and concluding game at Luxembourg three days later.

Serbia's 1-0 win in Luxembourg on Saturday moved them to the head of the table ahead of Portugal and was also a result that ended any mathematical hopes the Irish had of securing a place in next year's finals in Qatar.

Line-ups

Azerbaijan

Formation 5-4-1

  • 12Mahammadaliyev
  • 13Huseynov
  • 5Medvedev
  • 4Haghverdi
  • 18KrivotsyukSubstituted forDadashovat 79'minutes
  • 17BayramovSubstituted forAbdullayevat 63'minutes
  • 7AlasgarovSubstituted forSheydayevat 63'minutes
  • 8MahmudovSubstituted forSadikhovat 86'minutes
  • 2Qarayev
  • 19Ozobic
  • 10Emreli

Substitutes

  • 1Balayev
  • 3Salahli
  • 6Mustafayev
  • 9Dadashov
  • 11Sheydayev
  • 14Khachayev
  • 15Mütallimov
  • 16Nuriyev
  • 20Celik
  • 21Abdullayev
  • 22Sadikhov
  • 23Bayramov

R. of Ireland

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Bazunu
  • 22Omobamidele
  • 4Duffy
  • 5EganBooked at 88mins
  • 2Doherty
  • 6CullenSubstituted forHourihaneat 90+3'minutes
  • 13Hendrick
  • 11McClean
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forParrottat 90+3'minutes
  • 15HorganSubstituted forMcGrathat 45'minutes
  • 9IdahSubstituted forOgbeneat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Stevens
  • 8Hourihane
  • 10Parrott
  • 12Collins
  • 14Christie
  • 16Kelleher
  • 17Arter
  • 18McGrath
  • 19Collins
  • 20Ogbene
  • 21Connolly
  • 23Travers
Referee:
Espen Eskås
Attendance:
6,852

Match Stats

Home TeamAzerbaijanAway TeamR. of Ireland
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home15
Away18
Shots on Target
Home5
Away8
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home11
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Azerbaijan 0, Republic of Ireland 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Azerbaijan 0, Republic of Ireland 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Renat Dadashov (Azerbaijan) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Filip Ozobic.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ramil Sheydayev (Azerbaijan).

  5. Post update

    Andrew Omobamidele (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Sahruddin Mahammadaliyev.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Troy Parrott (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jamie McGrath (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chiedozie Ogbene.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Troy Parrott replaces Callum Robinson.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Conor Hourihane replaces Josh Cullen.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Azerbaijan 0, Republic of Ireland 3. Chiedozie Ogbene (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh Cullen with a cross following a corner.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Sahruddin Mahammadaliyev.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mahir Emreli (Azerbaijan) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

  14. Booking

    John Egan (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Mahir Emreli (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by John Egan (Republic of Ireland).

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Callum Robinson (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chiedozie Ogbene with a cross.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Azerbaijan. Rahim Sadikhov replaces Emin Mahmudov.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Sahruddin Mahammadaliyev.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Josh Cullen with a cross.

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - Blue

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia6420137614
2Portugal5410114713
3Luxembourg520359-46
4R. of Ireland61238805
5Azerbaijan6015312-91

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain6411135813
2Sweden5401103712
3Greece52307439
4Kosovo6114312-94
5Georgia6015211-91

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Italy64201211114
2Switzerland532061511
3Northern Ireland512245-15
4Bulgaria612349-55
5Lithuania6105414-103

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France633083512
2Ukraine61508718
3Bos-Herze51317616
4Finland512257-25
5Kazakhstan6033510-53

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium65102141716
2Czech Rep622210918
3Wales52217708
4Estonia5113815-74
5Belarus6105617-113

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark77002602621
2Scotland7421127514
3Israel73131614210
4Austria73131113-210
5Faroe Islands7115416-124
6Moldova7016322-191

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands75112361716
2Norway7421136714
3Turkey73311714312
4Montenegro7322119211
5Latvia7124711-45
6Gibraltar7007328-250

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia75111111016
2Russia7511114716
3Slovenia731387110
4Slovakia72327619
5Malta7115615-94
6Cyprus7115111-104

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England76102322119
2Albania7502116515
3Poland74212481614
4Hungary73131211110
5Andorra7106419-153
6San Marino7007129-280

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany76011931618
2North Macedonia7331156912
3Armenia7331810-212
4Romania7313108210
5Iceland7124715-85
6Liechtenstein7016219-171
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC