07.05.2014 at 15:00 Tallaght Stadium
Referee: T Mitsi (Greece)
Elena Kochneva 81 mins
Republic of Ireland 1 Russia 3
The Republic of Ireland women’s senior team suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Russia in their FIFA World Cup qualifier at Tallaght Stadium.
After a spirited display at home to European champions Germany, Sue Ronan’s team were hoping to collect a third win in Group 1 to boost their chances of reaching the 2015 finals.
However, two early goals from the visitors hampered those plans and even when Fiona O’Sullivan got one back it was quickly followed by a third goal from Russia.
As has been the case in their previous four qualifiers, Ireland played with a lot of heart and tried to regularly pin their opponents back, but those first-half goals made their task even more difficult.
Russia, who were sitting second in the group ahead of Ireland going into the game, got off the mark on seven minutes when Ekaterina Sochneva headed in from Elena Morozova’s corner kick.
Lifted by that goal, the visitors pressed forward in search of a second and it was Sochneva who provided the cross from the left for Ekaterina Pantyukhina to fire in from close range.
Ireland, though, were not about to give up and went close to getting a goal of their own when Aine O’Gorman just missed out on connecting with Julie-Ann Russell’s cross.
Sensing that they could get in behind the Russian defence, Ronan’s side pushed forward again and found the breakthrough on 35 minutes through striker O’Sullivan.
Having drifted away from her marker, the US-born player was able to take advantage of a failure to clear Aine O’Gorman’s cross and unleash a stinging half volley into the net.
With Peamount United striker Stephanie Roche brought on to add more zip to their attack, Ireland started to play further up the pitch and create some havoc amongst the Russians.
But, they suffered a big set-back when Pantyukhina bagged her second of the game. In the right place at the right time, the tricky forward profited from a loose ball to fire in.
Ireland kept on going with Roche firing a shot just wide and the same player rattled the crossbar in the second period before O’Sullivan went close to doubling her tally.
Russia, however, held on to pick up their fourth win of qualifying and sit behind leaders Germany in the group as they bid to secure a place in next year’s finals in Canada.
Ronan will have to quickly turn her attention to preparing for the June double-header at home to Croatia and away to Russia as there is still a lot to play for in Group 1.
Republic of Ireland: Byrne; De Burca, Quinn, Caldwell, Perry; Gorman (Roche 23), Smyth; O’Gorman (Killeen 70), D O’Sullivan, Russell (Littlejohn 88); F O’Sullivan.
Russia: Todua (Kochneva 23); Dmitrenko, Tsybutovich, Orlova, Medved; Sidorovskaya (Makarenko 85), Petrova; Terekhova, Morozova, Sochneva; Pantyukhina.
Referee: T Mitsi (Greece).