Ireland beat Kazakhstan despite embarrassing display
“There’s no room for comments on a scorecard.”
That may be all very well in golf, but the fact that Ireland were handed a massive slice of luck in their first World Cup qualifier can not go unspoken.
Late goals from Robbie Keane, with a penalty, and Kevin Doyle meant that Giovanni Trapattoni’s side left Astana with all three points from their opening fixture in World Cup qualifying Group C.
However, for so long it seemed that Kairat Nurdaulatov’s opener in the 38th minute could spell the end of the Irish manager’s reign, as his team seemed to be completely bereft of any ideas or, worse still, a gameplan.
Throughout the game the Irish side relied on long goalkicks from Keiren Westwood which would, inevitably, end up at the feet at whichever makeshift winger Trapattoni had chosen to patrol the right-hand side, and then to touch.
It was appalling stuff, with the central midfield of Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy totally by-passed and Robbie Keane and Jon Walters left scratching their heads as another move broke down behind them, or to their side.
Whelan was at fault for the opening goal, losing track of his man as Nurdaulatov stole in front to head home a free-kick.
Ireland’s next shot on target – just their second of the game – would not come until the 72nd minute when the Stoke midfielder’s shot from distance was easily dealt with by Andrey Sidelnikov.
Somehow, eventually, Aidan McGeady’s endeavour translated to the rest of his team-mates and Ireland got an equaliser.
Doyle crossed, Robbie Keane was dragged down by Rozhkov, and a penalty was awarded. Keane slotted home with what seemed like his first touch of the game.
A minute later, Ireland had the win. A long free-kick put the Kazakh defence in trouble and Doyle was on hand to slam home, and there was a palpable sense of embarrassed relief about the whole affair.by: Tony Cuddihy, September 7, 2012