The Republic’s hopes of earning an impressive win were dashed when Ukraine levelled 90 seconds into the second half

Nathan Collins’ superb strike helped the Republic of Ireland to a Nations League draw against Ukraine in Poland.

Burnley centre-back Collins had put the Republic on course for back-to-back wins in the competition, giving them a surprise first-half lead with a stunning solo effort.

However, Ukraine found the equaliser early in the second half through Artem Dovbyk’s tap-in.

The Republic move a point clear of bottom-placed Armenia in Group B1.

Ukraine are top, however, having taken seven points from their three Nations League games in an impressive response to missing out on World Cup qualification.

For the Republic, it was a hard-earned point in Poland – where the game was played with Ukraine unable to host games in their own country as a result of Russia’s invasion.

And it represented an encouraging conclusion to a quadruple-header that began with deflating defeats by Armenia and Ukraine.

Those results – especially the shock defeat by Armenia in Yerevan – had prompted fresh criticism of Stephen Kenny, but the Republic boss can be heartened by the manner in which his team have closed out the window with four points from a possible six.

Collins opens Irish account in spectacular style

Having beaten Scotland in comprehensive fashion on Saturday, the Republic played with confidence, tempo and organisation against a full-strength Ukraine team which showed seven changes from the second-string side they fielded in Dublin last week.

But even without the injured Michael Obafemi, who stole the show against the Scots, the Republic managed to unnerve the Ukraine backline, Jason Knight fashioning the first Irish chance when he clipped a cross to Troy Parrott at the back post only for the striker to misjudge his header.

While Parrott again looked sharp in attack after his well-taken header against Scotland, the Republic’s goal came from an unlikely source in Collins who, despite playing every minute of the previous three games, showed no signs of fatigue as he burst through to score.

Having stepped in to intercept a slack Ukraine pass in midfield, Collins skipped past three defenders and slotted the ball past the onrushing Dmytro Riznyk with the outside of his right boot, a moment of brilliance that will live long in the memories of the 700 Irish fans who travelled to Lodz.

It was also the second game in a row in which an Irish player opened his international account in spectacular style after Obafemi’s stunner against Scotland.

Keen to remain on the front foot, the Republic went searching for a second with Riznyk saving Knight’s deflected effort after a clever Jayson Molumby pass created the chance for the Derby midfielder.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Ukraine

Formation 4-3-3

  • 23Riznyk
  • 21Karavaev
  • 13ZabarnyiBooked at 49mins
  • 22MatvienkoSubstituted forPopovat 72′minutes
  • 16Mykolenko
  • 8MalinovskyiSubstituted forMudrykat 28′minutes
  • 5Sydorchuk
  • 17ZinchenkoBooked at 79mins
  • 7YarmolenkoBooked at 51mins
  • 11DovbykSubstituted forSikanat 73′minutes
  • 10Shaparenko

Substitutes

  • 1Lunin
  • 2Bondar
  • 4Popov
  • 6Ignatenko
  • 9Sikan
  • 14Mudryk
  • 15Tsygankov
  • 18Syrota
  • 19Sobol

R. of Ireland

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Kelleher
  • 14BrowneBooked at 65mins
  • 5LenihanBooked at 81mins
  • 12Collins
  • 4O’Shea
  • 11McClean
  • 15MolumbySubstituted forHendrickat 67′minutes
  • 6Cullen
  • 17KnightSubstituted forHourihaneat 67′minutes
  • 10ParrottSubstituted forOgbeneat 80′minutes
  • 19HoganSubstituted forRobinsonat 56′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Christie
  • 3Stevens
  • 7Robinson
  • 8Hourihane
  • 9Keane
  • 13Hendrick
  • 16O’Leary
  • 18Manning
  • 20Ogbene
  • 21Hamilton
  • 22Ebosele
  • 23Travers

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