Shane Long scored one and created the other for the Republic of Ireland in their 2-2 draw with Slovakia in Dublin on Tuesday night.
As Ireland’s only fit striker ahead of kick-off, Long was the only player who kept his place in the starting eleven from Saturday’s win over Switzerland.
Long was on the pitch for just 45 minutes before being replaced at half-time by Norwich’s Robbie Brady, but his contribution was significant as Ireland came from a goal down to lead 2-1 before being pegged back.
With the hosts trailing 1-0 early on, the Saints striker earned his side two penalties in the space of as many minutes. He stepped up to score the first of those – his 15th international goal – with West Brom’s James McClean converting the second spot kick to put Ireland 2-1 ahead after 24 minutes.
Ireland had recovered from the blow of losing goalkeeper Rob Elliot who was injured in a collision in the build up to Slovakia’s opening goal, but replacement Darren Randolph was beaten before the interval when the ball deflected in off his own defender, Paul McShane.
Ahead of kick-off, Ireland were unbeaten in their four previous meetings with Slovakia. Now, four of their five games against each other have ended level.