UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Ireland edge past Georgia to stay in contention

Republic of Ireland 1-0 Georgia
Jon Walters' scrambled goal kept Ireland in touch with the top-two and ended Georgia's slender hopes of taking third spot.

Highlights: Rep.Ireland 1-0 Georgia
  • Jon Walters scrambles in only goal midway through second half
  • Martin O'Neill's side remain two points behind Poland, four adrift of Germany
  • Ireland make it seven wins in as many fixtures against Georgia
  • Georgia have won just one of their last 23 competitive away matches
  • Next games: Republic of Ireland v Germany, Georgia v Gibraltar (8 October)

A scrappy second-half goal from Jon Walters proved enough as the Republic of Ireland overcame Georgia to claim three crucial qualifying Group D points.

Boosted by Friday's triumph over Scotland, Georgia doggedly resisted sustained Irish attacks until 69 minutes. Jeffrey Hendrick did the hard work, cutting in from the right wing, evading two challenges and feeding the ball towards Walters who, under pressure, converted from close range.

Walters may not have been the most obvious scorer, but Ireland were always the likely winners. It is they who first threatened through captain Robbie Keane, seeking goal No68 for his country, as he peeled away from his marker to meet a Wes Hoolahan delivery. His shot flew over the crossbar.

Walters (No14) helps the ball in
Walters (No14) helps the ball in©Getty Images

Georgia responded with a couple of good passages of play, Levan Mchedlidze and Tornike Okriashvili both trying their luck. The chance of the first half fell to Seamus Coleman, though, who almost marked his restoration to the starting XI in style with a volley Nukri Revishvili did well to stop.

Goalless at half-time, Ireland manager Martin O'Neill brought on Shane Long for Keane and with Coleman, then Glenn Whelan getting into advanced positions, there was an impetus about the hosts' play. The Dublin fans found their voice and soon their players found the goal.

With it Georgia's UEFA EURO 2016 bid ended, and they can no longer finish third. It is where Ireland are currently seated, yet O'Neill's men even have designs on second spot going into the last two games in October.