Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


WATCH: Michy Batshuayi's stunning strike puts Belgium 1-0 up

Ireland conceded a world class goal, but it was definitely preventable.

Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring for Belgium against Ireland in the Aviva Stadium.

With Irish eyes focused on Caoimhin Kelleher, it was a disappointing start to the game for the Liverpool goalkeeper. Ireland hadn't conceded for four games prior but were trailing within the first 15 minutes against Belgium. A Belgium team that left its biggest stars at home.

Belgium only brought players who didn't have at least 50 caps. Former Chelsea player Michy Batshuayi led the line for them in place of current Chelsea player Romelu Lukaku.

Stephen Kenny will be unhappy with how this goal was conceded.

Kelleher couldn't do anything about it. Batshuayi took the strike so early that he didn't have time to set himself. He didn't see the ball until it was already well on its way into the far corner. But it was long before Batshuayi touched the ball where the problems lie.

Ireland losing to a world class strike is one thing. Belgium have players who are capable of creating moments such as this one, even the likes of Batsuayi who is not world class by any measure. But Ireland being the architects of their own demise is what Kenny is trying to change.

Shane Duffy previously answered his critics by being an effective part of Kenny's team. He has mostly been good on the ball for Ireland and he's remained an effective defender. But his distribution on this occasion was appalling. There was no reason for him to wildly play the ball upfield, between teammates and into a dangerous area.

Duffy wasn't under pressure nor was he out of options. The simpler ball should have been taken.

That misplaced pass kicked off the chain of events that led to the ball landing in the back of the next just seconds later.

Josh Cullen's identity is so important for him.


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Belgium Caoimhin Kelleher Ireland Mitsy Batshuayi Stephen Kenny