Shane Long

Georgia 1-2 Republic of Ireland

Martin O’Neill’s first competitive game as Republic of Ireland manager ended in a 1-2 win over a spirited Georgia side. 

Aiden McGeady won the game for the Irish, hitting a brace, one in either half, his second coming in second half added time.

He gave the Irish the lead 24 minutes into the match but a stunning goal by Tornike Okriashvili 14 minutes later pegged them back.

Okriashvili, who plays his club football for Racing Genk in Belgium, hit a long range dipping shot past a despairing David Forde and for a while looked to ensure that the hosts would not finish their opening game empty handed.

It was not the case though as McGeady back with an impressive winner in the 90th minute – a clever turn of feet on the edge of the area and then accurately scoring with his left foot.

Ireland’s first came somewhat against the run of play, Jon Walters’ header from Forde’s goal kick set up James McCarthy who exploited a gap in the Georgian defence to tee up his Everton colleague.

McGeady then had the relatively simple task of finishing past Giorgi Loria in the Georgia goal.

AMG

Georgia: Loria (Kvaskhvadze ’45), Lobzhanidze, S Kverkvelia, Kashia, Khubutia, Kankava, Daushvili, Gelashvili, Ananidze (Targamadze ’63), Okriashvili (Mchedlidze ’88), D Kverkvelia

Subs not used: Migineishvili, Grigalava, Ebralidze, Khmaladze,  Kobakhidze, Kazaishvili, Dzarla, Rekhviashvili

Republic of Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O’Shea, Wilson, Ward, Walters, McCarthy (Meyler ’90), Whelan, Quinn (Brady ’76), McGeady, Keane (Long ’76)

Subs not used: Given, Elliot, Keogh, Pilkington, Pearce, Gibson, Hoolahan, Murphy, Doyle

Man of the match: Aiden McGeady

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Liverpool 2-1 Southampton

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge secured a 2-1 win over a spirited Southampton side.

Sturridge squeaked home the winner ten minutes before the end, getting on the end of a Sterling header and finishing from close range with the deftest of touches.

Sterling gave Liverpool the lead when he seized on Jordan Henderson’s intelligent defense splitting pass from the halfway line and slotted the opening goal of the game into the corner first time past Fraser Forster 23 minutes into the match.

Liverpool’s 19-year-old winger could have had a second in first half stoppage time but this time Forster was equal to his shot from the edge of the box.

Nathaniel Clyne equalized for the visitors 11 minutes into the second half when he smashed home from close in following a neat one-two with debutant Dusan Tadic.

Southampton could have completed a shock turnaround seven minutes later when James Ward-Prowse teed up Steve Davis but he failed to to generate enough power on his shot and it was easier for Simon Mignolet to deal with than it should have been.

Want-away midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin came closest for the Saints in the first half, his dipping curled shot needed to be tipped over the bar by Mignolet just before the break.

Sterling Start: England International Sterling puts the hosts in front.

Sterling Start: England International Sterling puts the hosts in front.

Ronald Koeman’s outfit almost snatched a victory in the dying minutes, first Schneiderlin thundered a shot off the underside of the bar and somehow £12 million man Shane Long headed the rebound wide.

It was Liverpool who held onto the win though and start this season just how they ended the last one.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Gerrard, Lucas (Allen ’63), Henderson, Coutinho (Lambert ’76), Sterling, Sturridge

Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Sakho, Ibe, Can

Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, S. Davis (Isgrove ’82), Ward-Prowse, Tadić (Long ’74), Pelle

Subs not used: K. Davis, Taïder, Cork, Hooiveld, Stephens

Man of the match: Raheem Sterling