Date:Thursday May 29 2008
Damien Delaney has been the subject of much focus from Vital QPR in recent days, we`ll show you how he got in Ireland`s international against Colombia.
A match that was separated by a deflected strike from Robbie Keane saw the grit and determination of Ireland up against real South American flair in Colombia.
The game was barely two minutes old when the Tottenham striker and Eire captain, picked up an intercepted pass to drill an effort straight into an onrushing defender, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Delaney was called into action as early as the 10th minute, when the Rangers full back did enough to put off Colombian striker, Falcao when well placed on the right hand side of the area, his close range shot was scuffed woefully wide.
Damien was in the thick of it once more as the South Americans continued to press, with Edixon Perea a constant thorn in the Irish side, managing to beat his marker on the left flank after some intricate build up play. His ball across was well read by the R`s number 2, who scooped the ball out for the safety of a corner.
It wasn`t just defensive duties that were highlighted from Delaney, he pushed forward for free kicks, and nearly had his moment of joy when he sprung the offside trap, but his scuffed cross-come-shot wasn`t enough to test goalkeeper Zapata.
There was a moment of peril for Damien when his slip let in Juan Escobar, but Dean Kiely was there to thwart the opponent in yellow. Kiely was on hand to make a splendid double save from Perea late on in the first period as a patchy Irish rearguard start to withstand some heavy pressure.
A speculative strike from distance by the R`s full back was his final offering of the first period, in a slightly disjointed back line Damien was forced to come inside a considerable amount of times, vacating his left back slot.
The second half began in a somewhat tepid nature with the Colombians unable to assert similar levels of pressure. Delaney started to work well down the left-hand side with Celtic winger Aiden McGeady returning following his absence from the side that faced Serbia. The link up play down the left-hand side created openings for the Eire but nothing conclusive.
In a second period void of quality or detail, it was Ireland who held their advantage, with some stout defending, with Delaney once again covering in a centre back role to clear a ball destined to fall in the path of Escobar with a towering header.
Defending came at a cost to Damien, playing his first ever game at Craven Cottage, as a strong challenge on Falcao won the ball, but he got a whack on his head for his troubles, and the Eire physio`s treated him for a brief period.
Damien being the only Championship player on display certainly did no damage to the potential of further appearances in the left back berth. The entire defensive unit was shaky at times, but in the second half dealt with the attacks with aplomb. Rangers midfielder Martin Rowlands licking his lips at the prospect that neither central midfielder was able to make an impact on proceedings.
Credit must go out to the crowd, most notably the Colombian contingent behind the goal who desperately tried to suck the ball into the net during the latter stages of the affair, with their bright and colourful appearance aswell vibrant atmosphere in a heavily populated away end. This and more made for an exciting affair in West London.
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Date:Thursday May 29 2008
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