Ogbene said football can be a “cruel game” after the Republic wilted in searing conditions in Yerevan

Chiedozie Ogbene admits “football taught us a big lesson” after the Republic of Ireland slumped to a shock Nations League defeat by Armenia.

The Republic dominated possession in Yerevan but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

Having failed to take their chances, the visitors were punished when Eduard Spertsyan struck a superb winner from distance 16 minutes from time.

“Today football taught us a big lesson, it can be a cruel game,” said Ogbene.

“I feel like we had a lot of chances, but they had one good chance and they took it well.”

Speaking to RTE, Ogbene added: “At this level this is what it takes. We weren’t clinical enough with the chances we got and unfortunately we were punished.”

Having drawn with European heavyweights Portugal and Belgium during an eight-game unbeaten run, the Republic had been expected to overpower Armenia despite soaring temperatures in Yerevan.

But Stephen Kenny’s side failed to find the breakthrough as they were shut out by a physical Armenia defence led by their captain Varazdat Haroyan.

The Republic should have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time when Josh Cullen picked out an unmarked Ogbene only for the Rotherham winger to head over.

“I was very disappointed in myself not to hit the target, especially that close,” added Ogbene, who often looked the Republic’s most effective outlet on a day of few positives.

“But as I said before when you create those chances you have to put them away and if not, you feel like this after a difficult day.

Stephen Kenny applauds the travelling Irish fans
Republic boss Stephen Kenny is still waiting for his first Nations League win

“They were difficult conditions for us but I felt like we had enough chances to get something out of the game, but we have to learn from this.

“We just have to review it and see where we went wrong, but as I said they took their chance very well and fair play to them.

“We need to review it and how we can create more chances in different ways, but as I said it’s just one of those days. I’m very disappointed in the result and I’m sure we all are but we have to review it and try to rectify it next time.”

In October Kenny insisted the Republic could win their Nations League group, but finishing top of B1 now appears a tall order with home and away games against Ukraine to come either side of Scotland’s visit to Dublin over the next 10 days.

“I want to win the league as well, the players want to win the league, it’s not just the manager,” said Ogbene.

“I’m sure the nation want to win the league, but this is what football is. We have to pick ourselves up.

“It’s a learning curve. Sometimes you dominate possession and don’t get the result but next time we need to make sure that we get the result.”

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