Kenny is Republic boss in 11 attempts without a competitive win
Irish coach Stephen Kenny says his team’s lack of composure in front of goal cost them the chance to start their World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan.
But Kenny became frustrated after his players spurned a number of opportunities.
“We could have scored a lot of goals today, but our finish wasn’t what it should have been,” he said.
After the republic suffered late grief against Portugal in Faro on Wednesday, the republic in Azerbaijan faced much more conservative opponents who wanted to frustrate the Irish in front of the returnees at Aviva Stadium.
With the guests getting numbers behind the ball to deny their hosts the room, the Republic was forced to attack across the wings as Adam Idah and Jayson Molumby failed to convert Daryl Horgan’s crosses.
It angered Kenny when he told Sky Sports, “They had so many players behind the ball, a whole team behind the ball.
“That meant that, realistically, crosses were an opportunity to score. You can’t just play through eight or nine players, so sometimes you have to go far in this situation and cross them.
“We got the goal from Shane Duffy like that, but we missed a lot of opportunities from these situations.”
Kenny said his players should have shut down Emin Mahmudov before the Azerbaijani midfielder got off to a good start
Kenny, who noted that his side had created enough to win the game “probably three or 4-1”, also lamented the timing of Azerbaijan’s first-half stoppage-time goal as a source of frustration after scoring two late goals against the Portuguese.
He felt his players Emin Mahmudov should have closed faster before the Azerbaijani midfielder fired a stunning shot into Gavin Bazunu’s top corner.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth to take the goal after 45 minutes,” added Kenny.
“It kills us to concede the winner in the 95th minute the other day and then in the 45th minute [goal], changes the narrative completely.
“You’re chasing the game and a team is trying to shut down the clock and stop the pace of the game.
“The players showed a lot of character because they kept going.
“We have to accept that it’s up to us to squander the chances and we didn’t.”
After avoiding an embarrassing defeat, the Republic welcomed Group A leaders Serbia to Lansdowne Road on Tuesday, while Kenny is on the 12th attempt in search of his first competitive win.