Ireland hope to earn first Nations League win


The Republic of Ireland hope to bounce back from their defeat to Armenia on Saturday when they entertain Ukraine at the Aviva Stadium in their second UEFA Nations League group match.
It’s the Republic’s first competitive home match of the year . The FAI have given free tickets to over 3,500 Ukrainian refugees for the match.
This is the first ever meeting between the Republic of Ireland and the Ukraine in any competition.
For Ireland manager Stephen Kenny, goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has been ruled out of the remaining UEFA Nations League fixtures this month. He has been replaced in the squad by Bohemians goalkeeper James Talbot.
Captain Seamus Coleman will miss the Ukraine match through injury with Cyrus Christie and Festy Ebosele in contention to replace him in the starting line-up.
Kenny said they have to put the Armenia defeat behind them and try and get the win against the Ukraine: “When you lose to Armenia you have to accept criticism. It was one that we wanted to win. I don’t think it was a game we deserved to lose, we hardly conceded any chances. We know we can play a lot better overall. We had enough chances to win the game itself. We should not have lost.
“It’s one we’ve left behind. We’ve just got to put it behind us and go into the Ukraine game with a strong mentality and try to get a win.
“The Ukrainian players, coaches, and all the staff have been great ambassadors for their country amidst the chaos of their lives and the thousands who have lost their lives. By continuing to play, they are keeping it at the forefront of whatever country they’re playing, within the media. It keeps the discussion very much in the news.”
Ireland defender Shane Duffy praised the Ukranians. He said: “It’s really emotional for all of them and they should be really proud of how they handled themselves, especially in the last two games, carrying their country, and I think everyone was willing them to try and get to the World Cup.
“I think they can be really proud of themselves and hold their heads up really high and keep going.
“We know it’s really emotional times for everyone there, so it will be a special game and one we’re all really looking forward to.”