West Ham United’s goalkeeper Darren Randolph and versatile tank Cheikhou Kouyate made it through their latest matches for the country without injury on Thursday and Friday, as both went the distance for Ireland and Senegal respectively.
Randolph and the Republic survived the world class threat that is Gareth Bale and his Wales side, finishing in a scoreless draw to remain in first place in UEFA World Cup Qualifying’s Group D. The Hammers #1 shot stopper had to weather several major attempts at goal by the Real Madrid superstar.
Two of those moments came in the second half, as Randolph comfortably saved a rather tame free kick for Bale’s standards before seeing an on-rushing Bale issue a shot just wide of his goal in the 84th minute. Had Bale’s effort been a few more inches inside, it would have been another highlight goal for him at Randolph’s expense.
The game at Aviva Stadium in Dublin was mired unfortunately by Neil Taylor’s ridiculous challenge on Seamus Coleman in the 69th minute, resulting in the Everton right back suffering a broken leg that will keep him out for a very long time. The Swansea left back received an indisputable red card immediately afterwards.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Kouyate captained his national once again and didn’t have to travel too far for the contest. In their friendly against Nigeria, Senegal and their opponents played at the Hive Stadium in North London. Their match finished at 1-1, with Kouyate playing first as a holding midfielder before being switched to centerback in the second half by his national team manager Aliou Cisse.