The Republic of Ireland beat the US 4-1 in an entertaining friendly at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday with goals from Anthony Pilkington, James McClean and two from Robbie Brady handing Martin O’Neill’s second-string side victory.
O’Neill started an entirely different side to the one that lost 1-0 in Scotland in a bruising Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday last week, but was rewarded after seven minutes when Pilkington scored his first goal for Ireland following a fine move.
Pilkington exchanged passes with impressive debutant David McGoldrick, whose wonderfully weighted pass put the Cardiff City midfielder through and his finish was just as sweet, dinking the ball over Bill Hamid.
The US, starting with four of the team who lost out to Belgium in the round-of-16 of the FIFA World Cup finals, had been on top before Pilkington’s strike and took control after with Fabian Johnson going closest to leveling after his drilled long-range shot hit the post.
It should have been 2-0 just before the half hour after some comical US defending handed Daryl Murphy a clear sight at goal and he would have joined Pilkington with a first international goal were it not for a good stop by Hamid.
It was another error, this time from Ireland’s David Meyler, that let the visitors back in the game.
The Hull City midfielder gave up possession in his own half and after a neat knock down from Chris Wondolowski, Mix Diskerud poked home the equalizer.
The US grew in confidence and were close to leading at halftime after Jozy Altidore smashed an effort against the crossbar, but Brady, playing in the unfamiliar role of leftback, put Ireland back in front shortly after the break, with McGoldrick again providing the deft assist.
Ireland had Shay Given to thank for keeping the US out with a couple of great saves, but the home side’s second-half dominance told when moments after the woodwork denied substitute Shane Long a sublime third, McClean netted with a deflection.
Hull City’s Brady completed the rout five minutes from time with the pick of the night, curling a left-footed free-kick into the top corner.
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‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first