Gerson Rodrigues sentenced the Republic of Ireland to an embarrassing 1-0 defeat in Dublin when Luxembourg won a World Cup qualifier for the sixth time in their history.
The forward shot home an 85th-minute winner at the Aviva Stadium to almost end Ireland’s hopes of getting out of Group A after just two games and to build pressure on manager Stephen Kenny, none of whom are first 10 races at the helm.
In reality, it was little more than the visitors earned with Irish goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, who made his senior debut as a 19-year-old 25 years since Shay Given did the same, having already made major saves to Rodrigues and Vincent Thill. both sides of the break.
Gerson Rodrigues’ brilliant blow gave Luxembourg a famous victory and astonished Ireland
Stephen Kenny now has 10 games without a win on the track since taking over from Mick McCarthy
James Collins can’t believe he didn’t score after the striker was denied on point-blank range
That, on a night when victory was the only option after Wednesday night’s first 3-2 defeat in Serbia, just wasn’t good enough and leaves Kenny with serious questions to answer after a toothless display that simply added fuel to the fire of are critics.
He handed a senior debut to Manchester City teen Bazunu – currently on loan to League One Rochdale – as he, Jason Knight and James Collins replaced Mark Travers, Jayson Molumby and the injured Aaron Connolly.
In a shoddy start by Ireland, Bazunu was called up to save Vincent Thill in the second minute after overtaking from the right, but the home side eventually got into the game and the process began to take the visitors.
The lead was only denied them by a scoreless save by Anthony Moris when, at the end of a Bazunu move, Callum Robinson hit the ball over the box where Collins slipped in and looked sure to score until the game. keeper made an instinctual block of 18 minutes.
Kenny’s men dominated possession, but largely played for the visitors, who got many men behind the ball in a largely successful attempt to keep the hosts at bay.
The Republic shifted up a gear as the break approached to pin Luxembourg deep into its own half, but nearly got caught three minutes before halftime as Rodrigues tried to take Bazunu off his line, as did Aleksandar Mitrovic against Travers during the week had done. , but this time the goalkeeper was equal to the task.
Vincent Thill made an impression when Luxembourg managed to shoot four shots at the three of their hosts
Alan Browne headed after the break next to the pointed free kick of substitute Robbie Brady
Callum Robinson’s wasteful finish indicated it would be another day to forget about Kenny’s men
Collins then hit the side net with a bicycle kick as the hosts’ desperation grew
Robbie Brady replaced Matt Doherty, who had been treated before the break, as the second half got underway and his arrival boosted his team from the start.
Olivier Thill curled up a free kick 49 minutes into the match after trying to fool Bazunu, but the direction of travel was mostly in the direction of Moris’s goal.
Alan Browne really should have added to the goal he scored in Belgrade when he met Brady’s 55-minute free kick unopposed, only to plant his head next to the far post.
Kenny sent midfielder James McClean to defender Clark in a search for inspiration, but Bazunu had to come to the rescue again in seconds after Vincent Thill bundled his way to goal after 62 minutes.
And things went from bad to worse when Rodrigues grabbed a loose ball and shot home
Ireland awaits its first competitive win since Gibraltar was beaten 2-0 in June 2019
Luxembourg is third in their 2022 World Cup qualifying group behind Portugal and Serbia
Republic of Ireland (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Coleman, O’Shea, Clark (McClean 61); Doherty (Brady 45), Knight, Cullen (Molumby 88), Stevens; Browne; Collins (Parrott 88), Robinson (Long 73).
Subs not used: Travers, Duffy, Hendrick, Horgan, Lenihan, Christie, O’Hara.
Yellow: Cullen, Stevens
Manager: Stephen Kenny
Luxembourg (4-1-4-1): Moris; M Martins, Chanot, Mahmutovic, Jans; C Martins; V Thill (Deville 79), O Thill, Barreiro, Rodrigues; Sinani (Gerson 90 + 2).
Subs not used: Bohnert, Rupil, Schon, Dzogovic, Pinto, Skenderovic, Muratovic, S Thill, Fox
Goals: Rodrigues 85
Yellow: Jans, O Thill, Sinani
Manager: Luc Holtz
Referee: Fran Jovic
At least the home side played with more urgency and Robinson skied a 67-minute shot after hitting a loose ball, but it was Collins who got close with an acrobatic effort from Brady’s 70-minute cross.
But the night turned noticeably darker for Ireland with five minutes to go when they failed to deal with Moris’ clearance and Rodrigues took the opportunity to shoot a dive past Bazunu from 25 meters and give his team a unlikely lead.
The Republic’s efforts to spare their blush for the short time left came to nothing and the final whistle heralded a new low for Irish football.
Follow Sportsmail’s Alex Bowmer for live coverage of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg, including score, lineups and build-up.
Elsewhere, Group A rivals Serbia and Portugal are also in action, which we’ll keep you updated on.