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Football | Ireland defeated by Finland in Kenny's first home match

Stephen Kenny's first home match as Republic of Ireland manager has ended in defeat.

The Boys in Green have been beaten 1-0 by Finland at the Aviva Stadium in the UEFA Nations League.

Finland substitute Fredrik Jensen scored the only goal of the game in the 64th minute, converting from point blank range at the back post with his first touch of the game.

Ireland had chances to equalize, with Shane Duffy, Aaron Connolly, David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson going close for the hosts in Dublin.

It has been a disappointing week for the Boys in Green, who drew their opening Nations League match 1-1 in Bulgaria last week.

"We wanted to win them, our first game at home, of course we wanted to win but for us there’s a bigger picture - that’s Slovakia," Kenny told Sky Sports.

"We are a bit experimental in the games.

"I think that’s evident and I think we want players to put their hands up and put themselves in the picture for Slovakia.

"We need to increase our attacking options, that’s for sure for the game.

"We wanted to do that. Some players did quite well and that gives us real food for thought for the game next month." 

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Kenny opted for the same back five which started in Bulgaria but chose a new-look midfield for the visit of the Finns.

Robbie Brady and Harry Arter joined debutant Jayson Molumby in midfield, with Callum O'Dowda and Aaron Connolly operating either side of striker Adam Idah.

Ireland had the better of possession in a poor first half, but it was Finland who carved out the half's best opportunity when Teemu Pukki went through one-on-one against Darren Randolph, only to be denied by a fine stop from the West Ham goalkeeper.

At the other end, Arter tested Finland shot-stopper Lukas Hradecky with a decent effort in the 12th minute in a half largely devoid of big chances.

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Connolly had the first big chance of the second half, but he drilled his shot from the left side of the penalty area into the side netting at the near post in the 56th minute.

Soon afterwards, O'Dowda curled an ambitious effort wide before being replaced by Robinson on the hour mark.

Finland took the lead four minutes later with a well-worked move.

Jensen tried to wriggle free in midfield under pressure from Molumby and Brady, with the latter's touch inadvertently giving the ball to Pukki, who played it out to Robert Taylor on the left.

Taylor weighted a low cross beautifully to the back post, where Jensen slid in ahead of Enda Stevens to tap in from close range, a minute after coming off the bench.

Kenny responded by replacing Idah with McGoldrick. The Sheffield United forward could have drawn the hosts level, but was too slow to squeeze a shot away inside the box after Ireland turned over a Finland goal kick.

Ireland had a huge chance to equalize when Matt Doherty's clever slide pass played in Robinson on the right, but his shot was well saved by Hradecky at his near post.

Randolph then made two excellent saves to deny Pukki and then Taylor as Finland continued to exploit Ireland's high line.

There was almost a repeat of the late goal against Bulgaria in the 88th minute, but on this occasion, Shane Duffy's header from a Robbie Brady corner landed on the roof of the net.

Finland held on for an impressive win, a result which moves them up to second in the group, one place ahead of Ireland in third.

Patience will be required with the new Kenny era, but there's plenty of work to do ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia next month.

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