Ireland's win Women's Nations League match amid waterlogged pitch

Republic of Ireland win Women’s Nations League clash with Albania despite a 90-minute delay caused by a waterlogged pitch… as stunned fans claim players needed snorkels amid the torrential downpour

  • A first half downpour led to conditions increasingly becoming unplayable
  • The referee delayed the second half to remove standing water from the pitch
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

Republic of Ireland earned a 1-0 win in their Women’s Nations League match against Albania despite the match being delayed for 90 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.

The teams played out a goalless first half at the Loro Borici Stadium amid a torrential downpour.

Heavy rain began in the early stages of the half amid a thunderstorm, which increasingly made the pitch unplayable as the match progressed.

The ball was regularly seen stopping in the standing water as half-time approached.

A decision was taken by the match officials to suspend the match at half-time, with ground staff working to make the pitch playable.

Republic of Ireland played out the first half of their match amid a downpour in Albania

Arsenal star Katie McCabe was among the players forced to battle the conditions in Shkoder

The ball was increasingly held up in standing water on the pitch as the first half continued

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‘The referee has decided to suspend play for 60 minutes due to the weather conditions,’ an Irish FA statement read. ‘A decision will then be made whether the game can be resumed.’

Ground staff removed water from the playing surface during the delay as rain eased in Albania.

The Irish FA later confirmed ‘The referee has decided that the game will continue. 

”Should conditions worsen, the referee will inform both teams as to what the next course of action will be.’

Fans have criticised the decision to proceed with the match given the conditions.

‘That’s unbelievable the officials haven’t called that off, if it was a men’s game it would have been abandoned after 30mins,’ one fan commented.

‘There’s some common sense needed, referee has to abandon it at half time surely there’s 0 way you can play in that especially when it’s nowhere near improving,’ another said.

‘Absolutely ridiculous expecting players to try and play in those conditions. More like a swimming pool than a football pitch,’ added a third.

The first half ended goalless with officials forced to determine if the match could proceed 

Officials delayed the start of the second half for 90 minutes to clear water from the surface

A decision was later taken to resume the match with the second half able to be completed

Fans have criticised the decision to allow the match to take place amid the conditions

Denise O’Sullivan scored the only goal in the Republic of Ireland’s narrow win over Albania

‘Not helping Women’s football at all with decisions like this. If that was a men’s game that would be called off,’ wrote a fourth.

Another fan stated: ‘Just another day in women’s football. Decisions are baffling but not surprising at this point.’

‘Insanity. May get the players snorkels for the second half,’ a fan wrote.

The Republic of Ireland were chasing a second successive win over Albania, after earning a 5-1 win over their opponents at home last week.

Eileen Gleeson’s side preserved their 100 per cent record in Group B1 as Denise O’Sullivan scored an 88th minute winner to secure their fourth successive victory.

A draw between Northern Ireland and Hungary in the same group will see the Republic of Ireland earn promotion with two matches to spare. 


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