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Published: 20:32 | 6/10/16

Ireland edge past Georgia

Seamus Coleman nets first goal for his country

Seamus Coleman scored his first international goal, as Ireland edged out Georgia 1-0 in Thursday's World Cup Qualifying Group D clash at Lansdowne Road.

An injury to Robbie Brady and a yellow card for Jeff Hendrick will have taken some of the shine off the win, with manager Martin O'Neill left without his two first-choice midfielders for Sunday's visit to Moldova.

But there will relief in the Ireland dressing-room, after the Boys in Green recorded their seventh consecutive competitive win over Georgia despite struggling to match the visitors' passing and possession.

The result means Wales, Austria, Serbia and Ireland all have four points from their opening two games in the group, following Austria's 2-2 draw with Wales in Vienna tonight.

Ireland actually started the match the brighter, with Shane Long running the left channel well and James McClean willing to run at right-back Otar Kakabadze.

But inexplicably, Ireland stepped back and allowed Georgia possession. They may be 106 places below Ireland in the Fifa rankings, but Vladimir Weiss' side have shown in the past that they are comfortable with the ball if the opposition allow them space in midfield. Just ask Scotland, whose Euro 2016 aspirations were ended by Georgia in September 2015.

And it was the scorer against Gordon Strachan's side that night, Valeri Kazaishvili, who had the first sight of goal for Georgia, but his 17th minute turn and shot from Kakabadze's cross from the right whistled just past Darren Randolph's far post.

And then, on 37 minutes, the visitors, who have never qualified for a major tournament, hit the woodwork twice within seconds. Tomike Okriashvili's cross from the right was met by an unmarked Levan Mchedlidze, whose header thudded against the woodwork, then Guram Kashia saw his follow-up header float against the far post.

Ireland marginally improved at the start of the second half, though not much, and a solo pitch invasion on 54 minutes by a blue-hoodied youngster was a rare moment of excitement for the 39,793 crowd in Dublin.

It was also as good a critique of Ireland's football as you could get. He ran hard, waved his hands about a lot, then fell flat on his face.

And the only goal of the game, just a minute later, was similarly ramshackle, one that wouldn't look out of place on a Thursday night five-a-side at the local Astro Park.

Coleman ran at Giorgi Navalovski down the right flank, got to the byline and tried to find Jon Walters, but the ball deflected off Solomon Kverkvelia and back to the Ireland skipper on the goalline for a tap in.

No-one was complaining, though, and the goal seemed to energise Ireland, who had a McClean header correctly ruled out for offside moments later.

But things got more fraught for O'Neill's side in the final minutes, after Brady was carried off with a head injury that will see him miss Sunday's match in Moldova under concussion protocols.

Ireland dropped deep again, as so often they do when defending a one-goal lead, but finally broke out as Georgia committed men forward and could even have added a second in injury-time, but McClean's header from Walters' inch-perfect cross from the right thumped against the crossbar.

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