The Republic of Ireland lost 3-2 to Uruguay in a hugely entertaining friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night. A Shane Long header and a Keith Fahey penalty kick weren’t enough for the home side on the night.
The game opened with neither side taking control, both looking to set out their stall in their very different formations. Ireland set up with Shane Long as a lone striker with James McCarthy in a supporting role, while Uruguay's attacking formation looked almost as three at the back at times, with Forlan dropping deep to get possession.
The opening goal of the game arrived after 12 minutes. Diego Forlan floated in a 25 yard free kick which met the head of Irish midfielder Keith Fahey. His headed clearance rebounded off Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani before falling to centre-back Diego Lugano to fire low past Keiren Westwood. It was the Uruguay captain’s fifth goal for his country.
The Republic of Ireland were level just three minutes later. Shane Long started the move as he laid the ball off to Paul Green who in turn found Liam Lawrence out wide right. His cross to the back post was met by the head of Long who powered past Muslera in the Uruguay goal.
Keith Fahey was just wide with an effort shortly after good build up play from Keogh, Long and Lawrence. Abel Hernandez went close for to regaining the lead for the visitors but shot just wide after out-muscling Fahey and O’Dea.
The visitors did retake the lead after 22 minutes. Maximiliano Pereira ran the length of the Irish penalty area past the non-existent challenges of Keogh, Fahey and Green before playing in Edinson Cavani who curled a right footed strike past the stretch of Westwood.
Keogh had his effort saved by Muslera before Forlan fired over after being played in by Hernandez. Hernandez then had a chance himself but he curled his 20-yard strike just wide.
Uruguay made it 3-1 six minutes before half-time. A sweeping move from the back saw Alvaro Pereira play in Abel Hernandez on the right and he fired past Westwood.
Diego Godin could have added another before half-time but he headed over from a Forlan corner kick.
Two minutes into the second and the Republic were back in the game. Good work from Shane Long down the right brought him into the penalty area where he crossed for the incoming McCarthy and Keogh. Both were taken down by Cacedes and Keith Fahey stepped up to slam the ball into the bottom left corner of Muslera’s goal from the spot.
Paul Green was next with a chance but he shot over after good build-up from Fahey and Long. A crunching tackle from O’Dea on Hernandez brought a yellow card for the defender.
Shane Long laid the ball off to Keogh minutes later before his blocked effort fell to Long but he fired over the bar. Forlan tried his luck with a 30-yard free kick but Westwood saved easily.
Keith Treacy went close shortly after his introduction. Westwood was back in action soon after making a double save, firstly from Cavani, then secondly superbly touching Hernandez’s strike wide.
Ireland went in search of an equaliser and Andy Keogh went closets but his close range header somehow went wide of the post. Aiden McGeady’s introduction added a little more in attack but the elusive equaliser never arrived. A good performance for a young Irish side with Shane Long and Keith Fahey impressing throughout.
Republic of Ireland: Westwood; Clark (Delaney 75’), O’Dea, Kelly, Foley; Keogh (Stokes 85’), Green, Fahey (Gibson 65’), Lawrence (McGeady 78’), McCarthy (Treacy 65’); Long.
Subs not used: Randolph, Forde.
Yellow Cards: O’Dea.
Uruguay: Muslera; Pereira, Godin, Lugano (C), Cacedes; Perez (Scotti 90’), Rios (Gargano 64’), Pereira, Cavani, Forlan, Hernandez (Eguren 84’).
Subs not used: Castillo, Fucile, Gonzalez, Abreu, Ramirez, Fernandez.
Yellow Cards: Lugano, Cavani, Eguren.
Referee: Said Ennjimi (France).
Extratime Man of the Match: Shane Long - Worked tirelessly throughout. Scored one goal and created the penalty.
Brendan White is Extratime News Editor and is responsible for the news section of Extratime.ie. Brendan also covers matches in Dublin and Waterford. You can contact Brendan on twitter @whitebrendan.