Man of the Match Richard Dunne reflects on good result in Sofia

Man of the Match Richard Dunne reflects on good result in Sofia

Ireland centre-back Richard Dunne's goal and man-of-the-match display against Bulgaria was all the more remarkable considering the knee injury he had coming into the World Cup qualifying tie. He reckoned the point earned by the Irish was richly deserved.
7th Jun 2009
Ireland's goalscorer Richard Dunne admitted it was job well done in claiming a point against Bulgaria in the World Cup qualifier in Sofia on Saturday.

Dunne followed up his strike in the last meeting between the nations in March at Croke Park with another goal, though history repeated itself as Bulgaria battled back to etch out a 1-1 draw.

The result keeps the five-point gap between Ireland in second-place and the Bulgarians.

The Manchester City defender's involvement in the fixture was the subject of some doubt in midweek when he missed training due to a knee complaint but he stood up to the pain to produce an heroic 90 minutes.

Overall, the Dubliner was a happy man, as he told RTE sport in his post-match interview.

"The main aim, if we didn't win, was not to get beaten. It was a very hard-fought draw," he said.

"It was such a big game for Bulgaria; they needed to win and we knew they were always going to come at us with everything and I think we did well to hold on.

"We started well and got the goal we wanted at the right time. Once we scored, we sat back and we knew there would be a spell when they would control the game."

Dunne admitted that his headed goal, netted in the 24th minute off a Stephen Hunt curled free-kick, came about with some assistance from his defensive team-mate.

"I had gone up for the first two set-pieces and then, on the third one, John O'Shea said he would block (Dimitar) Berbatov. It worked because I was able to get my head on it."

It's the view of Dunne that this result doesn't extinguish Bulgaria's hopes of snatching the runners-up berth from Ireland but he did confess victory for the Irish in Cyprus in their next qualifier in September would significantly boost their prospects of a top-two finish.

He stated: "We've ended the season on a high and it's important that we go to Cyprus and get the three points. That would set us up nicely for the last two matches."