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Football | Robinson, Ogbene score in win over Azerbaijan

Callum Robinson scored twice as the Republic of Ireland beat Azerbaijan 3-0 in their 2022 World Cup Group A qualifier in Baku.

Substitute Chiedozie Ogbene then added a late goal to mark his competitive debut in style and put the icing on Ireland's first competitive win under manager Stephen Kenny.

Robinson, whose comments about not taking the COVID-19 vaccine have been the subject of much discussion in recent days, opened the scoring with a brilliant goal in the seventh minute.

After good work from James McClean, Robinson lashed a left-footed strike into the top corner from 20 yards.

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Azerbaijan responded well to Ireland's early onslaught, with Hojjat Haghverdi heading over and Filip Ozobić forcing Gavin Bazunu into a diving save.

Robinson continued to threaten when Ireland countered, firing a volley narrowly over after a good run and cross from Adam Idah.

The West Brom attacker made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, wrong-footing Azerbaijan goalkeeper Shakhrudin Magomedaliyev with a low curling effort which took a deflection en route to the bottom corner.

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Ireland led 2-0 at the interval, and Kenny introduced Jamie McGrath in place of Daryl Horgan for the second half.

McClean rampaged forward on a scintillating run early in the second half, but after dribbling 50 yards the Derry native saw his shot blocked.

Shane Duffy should really have increased Ireland's lead in the 51st minute, but the Brighton defender headed wide from Robinson's inviting cross.

Azerbaijan had a penalty appeal turned down after a VAR consultation, before Bazunu made an instinctive save to divert Gara Garayev's swerving drive on to the crossbar.

Both sides had plenty of chances to score, with McGrath and substitute Troy Parrott going close for the visitors.

Robinson squandered a number of chances to complete his hat-trick, and Duffy also saw a strong header saved by Magomedaliyev.

Ogbene made it a night to remember in stoppage time, powering a header over the line from Josh Cullen's corner.

The result leaves Ireland in fifth place on five points, four clear of bottom-placed Azerbaijan and one behind Luxembourg.

Azerbaijan: Shakhrudin Magomedaliyev; Abbas Hüseynov, Hojjat Haghverdi, Maksim Medvedev (capt), Anton Krivotsyuk (Renat Dadaşov 79); Emin Makhmudov (Rahim Sadikhov 86), Gara Garayev, Tural Bayramov (Araz Abdullayev 63); Namik Alaskarov (Ramil Sheydaev 63), Mahir Emreli, Filip Ozobić.

Republic of Ireland: Gavin Bazunu; Shane Duffy, John Egan (capt), Andrew Omobamidele; James McClean, Josh Cullen (Conor Hourihane 90+3), Jeff Hendrick, Matt Doherty; Daryl Horgan (Jamie McGrath HT), Callum Robinson (Troy Parrott 90+3), Adam Idah (Chiedozie Ogbene 59).

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