Martin O’Neill steps down as Ireland manager, Roy Keane also goes

Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill had their moments at the helm of the Republic of Ireland, but endured a torrid 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Martin O’Neill steps down as Ireland manager, Roy Keane also goes

  • O’Neill guided his team to the last 16 at Euro 2016 and oversaw famous victories over Germany and Italy during his 55 games in charge
  • Despite his achievements, O’Neill has endured a miserable run — Ireland have won just one of their nine games in 2018

DUBLIN: Martin O’Neill stepped down as Ireland manager with a “heavy heart” on Wednesday after five years at the helm following a dismal run of results that resulted in relegation in the Nations League.
The former Celtic and Leicester boss, who replaced Giovanni Trapattoni in November 2013, left his post by mutual consent, with assistant manager Roy Keane also parting company with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).
O’Neill guided his team to the last 16 at Euro 2016 and oversaw famous victories over Germany and Italy during his 55 games in charge. He also led the side to the playoffs for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“On behalf of the FAI board, I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for their work with the Republic of Ireland team over the last five years,” said FAI president Donal Conway.
“Martin ensured that we enjoyed some great nights in the Aviva Stadium and on the road in Lille, Vienna, and Cardiff, which were fantastic high points for Irish football.”
O’Neill said it had been an honor to be in charge of the team and paid special tribute to Keane, whom he described as “an inspirational figure in the world of football.”

“It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI board for giving me that opportunity,” he said in a statement released by the England-based League Managers Association.
“The Irish fans have been a source of motivation to myself, the team and the whole backroom staff, embodying the passionate Irish spirit, and I thank them for their fervent support of the team,” he added.
“I am also very proud of the relationships I have built with the players, who have carried that very same spirit, imbued by the fans, onto the field of play.”
Despite his achievements, O’Neill has endured a miserable run — Ireland have won just one of their nine games in 2018, a victory against the United States in June.
The poor run of results culminated in a 0-0 draw against Denmark on Monday in Aarhus.
The side have also struggled for goals and have not found the net since September 11.
The FAI said its board would meet promptly to discuss the process of recruiting a new manager.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
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Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.
For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.
It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.
With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.
Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.
As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.
It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.
Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.
Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.
The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.
Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.