Callum Robinson scored a hat-trick as the Republic of Ireland beat World Cup host Qatar 4-0 to win back-to-back games for the first time since March 2019.
Robinson, whose first-half brace in Azerbaijan on Saturday earned a 3-0 victory in World Cup qualifying, repeated the round in 13 minutes at Aviva Stadium, then added a third eight minutes after the restart for become the first Irish player to complete. a hat-trick since Robbie Keane against Gibraltar in October 2014.
The West Brom forward, who made headlines last week after revealing he had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 despite two positive tests for the virus, had only scored one international goal senior before reuniting with his teammates this month.
Defender Shane Duffy used a fourth as manager Stephen Kenny, who had won just one of his first 16 games in charge, celebrated a second victory in four days, despite being sad to know his team won’t be in Qatar when world football meets next year.
For Felix Sanchez’s side, who lost 3-0 in Portugal over the weekend, the evening turned out to be disappointing as their winless run as they tried to gain international experience ahead of the tournament. spanned six games with Republic goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher not having to save a score on his first senior start.
Ireland, ranked seven places below visitors by FIFA, could hardly have had a better start as a side with five changes from the one that won in Baku carried that momentum in their last mission.
Robinson was the man who started the ball again, swapping passes with Jamie McGrath and Conor Hourihane to make his way through the left flank before unleashing a shot that sealed off hapless defender Bassam Hisham Alrawi and goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham .
The Qataris were still bemoaning their misfortune when their night deteriorated further into nine minutes when Karim Boudiaf’s awkward challenge on McGrath sent the midfielder sprawling into the box and left Northern Ireland referee Keith Kennedy with little choice but to point to the place.
Robinson immediately grabbed the ball and confidently sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-0 in front of a delighted crowd of 25,749 sold-out.
Shaken by the double setback, Qatar gradually began to make their way into the game and skipper Hassan Al-Haydos broke from 25 meters with 20 minutes of play as Al-Haydos and Akram Afif started to pulling strings.
However, with Hourihane and Jeff Hendrick giving the home side a base in midfield and Matt Doherty and Enda Stevens reveling in the wide space, they threatened to extend their advantage.
John Egan went from Hourihane’s corner in the 35th minute, but center defensive partner Duffy had to do his best to cut the ball off at Al-Haydos’ toe after it was intelligently played by Afif.
Barsham was spared by his crossbar five minutes into the half after Chiedozie Ogbene headed up Robinson’s inviting cross, but Kenny’s men came in at the break reflecting on half a job well done .
Cyrus Christie replaced Doherty, who had needed pre-break treatment, ahead of the resumption, but the pattern remained largely the same with Afif causing problems, but not where it mattered and Ireland continuing to do so. seem the most powerful.
They struck again with 53 minutes remaining when Robinson ran for Hendrick’s deep ball and slipped a shot past Barsham’s desperate dive, and the keeper recovered the ball from his net for the fourth time in the six minutes after Duffy fed at home an imposing header from Hourihane’s corner.
Hendrick landed an 81st minute shot right off as Ireland pressed for a fifth, but they walked off the pitch more than happy with their night shift.
Kenny: Robinson has more to give
Stephen kenny hopes form striker Callum Robinson realizes how important he could be for the Republic of Ireland after scoring five goals in his last two games.
“He’s very good in the squad, he’s a very bubbly character with a lot of decency, a lot of good points as a person,” said the manager.
“But as a player he has more to give. He’s obviously missed so many things, which has been difficult, so scoring those five goals now will give him real confidence in the next period, I hope.
“When we started to define medium and long term strategies for the team, one of the things we were looking for
to do, the League of Nations in June, our ambition is to win the group.
“We will take the Nations League very seriously with the determination to win the group because it gives you a dam for the Euro.
“We can strive to do it. It’s ambition, it’s what I want to do and I think it’s realistic to want to do it.”
The boss of Qatar Felix Sanchez was left to mourn a disastrous start from which his side never recovered.
He said: “It was a tough game for us, of course, obviously from the start. We conceded a goal very early on and after that we showed that today we are not at the level we expected. .
“But that’s football. We have to learn from our mistakes. When you play at this level, you have to be at your best.
“We needed a good performance today and we couldn’t, so we have to keep working and try to fix the mistakes we made in this game.”
- Ireland claimed their first home win in all competitions since November 2019 (3-1 against New Zealand), ending a seven-game home winless streak (D5, L2).
- This is Ireland’s biggest win since their 4-0 friendly win over Oman in August 2016.
- Callum Robinson became the first player to score more than 2 goals in consecutive appearances for the Republic of Ireland since Robbie Keane in June 2013.
The Republic of Ireland will play their last two World Cup qualifiers next month. They welcome Portugal on Thursday 11 November before heading to Luxembourg on Sunday 14 November. Both matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.