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Akwa United miss chance to close gap at the top

By ESPN Staff

Trapattoni delighted as Keane and Best link up well

Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni was impressed with Robbie Keane's partnership with Leon Best during the 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

Coventry striker Best was making his debut, while it was Keane who grabbed the equaliser in the friendly after Michael Enemaro had broken the deadlock.

"Robbie linked up well with Leon Best,'' Trapattoni said. "We need players who play up front and Robbie is playing a bit between the strikers and the midfield.''

Trapattoni praised his six debutants. Kevin Foley, Sean St Ledger, Eddie Nolan, Liam Lawrence and Best were in the starting XI, then Keiren Westwood then came on at the break for his first appearance.

"I am very happy with them all, though,'' the coach said. "We wanted to look at the performance and personality of the new players, and it was important to check on other players for the future. The first half was very good game and the performance was strong, too.''

Foley, however, picked up a knock and will be assessed on Monday, while Darron Gibson has had a scan on a thigh problem.

Overall, Trapattoni felt his side had done well.

"It was very interesting - in their performance and their personality against a strong team, not just in Africa, but the whole world,'' he added. "They play in good European countries and leagues. They are fast and play the ball well.

"We had them only a few days to learn our system - they have their own systems at their clubs. I have to look at our system as well and see how they fit into that.''

Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu did not appear for his post-match media duties. One banner in the crowd demanding his sacking resulted in a scuffle between fans and stewards.


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