Late show fails to revive Ireland
Alexander Kerzhakov celebrates after scoring
Russia's opening goal. Photo: news.bbc.co.uk
Republic of Ireland's 100% record in Euro 2012 qualifying
came to an end against Russia, but not before Giovanni Trapattoni's side
had mounted a stirring comeback in a game in which they had looked dead
Robbie Keane hit the bar early on at the Aviva Stadium but for the next
hour Russia dominated and deservedly went three up through Alexander Kerzhakov,
Alan Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov.
A Keane penalty in the 72nd minute gave the hosts a lifeline and, when
substitute Shane Long added a second six minutes later, it seemed the
Republic could get something from the game, but Russia held on to join
their opponents on six points in Group B.
Victory for Armenia over Slovakia earlier in the day gave the Republic
the chance to take a stranglehold on the group, and it briefly looked
like they might be able to do just that.
After Russia had enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening seven
minutes, the home side suddenly had three chances in quick succession.
First Aiden McGeady, who has been impressive for new club Spartak Moscow,
tested Igor Akinfeev with a shot the Russia keeper could not hold onto.
Captain Keane picked up the loose ball and his cross bounced off the bar
with Kevin Doyle waiting at the far post before another ball into the
box fell for McGeady, whose fizzing cross-shot evaded all his team-mates.
It took only another three minutes for the breakthrough to come, but,
unfortunately for the home fans, it was Shay Given who had to pick the
ball out of his net.
Richard Dunne gave away what appeared to be a soft free-kick for a foul
on Shirokov in the left channel and, when the set-piece was delivered
by captain Andrey Arshavin, it took a slight deflection before reaching
Given, who could only push it out to Sergei Ignashevich.
His overhead kick back across the box sat up perfectly for Kerzhakov and
he managed to get enough power on his shot to beat the massed ranks on
the Republic line.
The ease with which the visitors were finding space in and around the
box would certainly have worried Trapattoni as first Shirokov shot over
when he probably should have done better before Kerzhakov tested Given
with a fierce strike.
The Republic were not learning their lesson, though, and they found themselves
two down in the 28th minute.
Aleksandr Aniukov was given time and space on the right to send in a cross,
and a lovely dummy by the dangerous Kerzhakov allowed Dzagoev to drill
the ball beyond a helpless Given.
The hosts at least managed a couple of forays into the Russia box with
the half coming to a close as first Doyle shot weakly at Akinfeev before
Keane just failed to pick out his strike partner after a promising move.
But the visitors could also have added to their tally, with Kerzhakov
and Arshavin shooting off target, and at the start of the second half
they were at it again as Aniukov found the side-netting.
McGeady, who has never scored for the Republic, then drew a decent save
from Akinfeev but any hopes the home side had of getting something from
the game seemed over two minutes later when Shirokov scored Russia's third.
There did not look much danger when the midfielder let fly from 25 yards
but, in attempting to block the shot, Dunne deflected the ball into his
own net with Given stranded.
The defender tried to make up for his error straight away, testing Akinfeev
from distance, but Russia looked dangerous with every attack and Sean
St Ledger needed to be alert to keep out Arshavin before Kerzhakov beat
Given to the ball only to discover none of his team-mates had kept up
The Republic's final change saw Keith Fahey introduced for Doyle in the
71st minute, and moments later they were given a lifeline when Keane chased
a long ball into the area and tumbled under pressure from Chelsea defender
There looked to be minimal contact but Dutch referee Kevin Blom pointed
to the penalty spot and Keane sent Akinfeev the wrong way to extend his
record goal tally to 45.
It seemed certain to be only a consolation but suddenly the Republic looked
a threat, and they could have pulled another goal back had Kevin Kilbane's
control been better six yards out.
Incredibly, given the one-sided nature of the match thus far, they did
manage a second with 12 minutes still to play. Akinfeev saved again from
McGeady but this time Long was following up and he managed to poke the
ball just inside the far post.
The roar around the stadium was deafening but the hosts could not find
an equaliser, and in fact should have conceded a fourth only for substitute
Pavel Pogrebniak to fluff his lines six yards out.
The final action saw the home side screaming for a penalty when St Ledger
went over in the box, but Blom blew his whistle only to signal the end
of the game.
October 8, 2010
Ireland 2 - 3 Russia
Ireland: Robbie Keane (pen 72), Shane Long (78)
Russia: Alexander Kerzhakov (11), Alan Dzagoev (28), Roman Shirokov (50)
Stadium: Aviva Stadium
Match Time: 19:45 BST
Referee: Kevin Blom
|1 Shay Given (G)
||1 Igor Akinfeev (G)
|4 John O'Shea (D)
||4 Sergei Ignashevich (D)
|5 Richard Dunne (D)
||3 Vasili Berezutsky (D)
|2 Sean St. Ledger (D)
||2 Aleksandr Aniukov (D)
|6 Glenn Whelan (M)
||5 Yuri Zhirkov (D)
|7 Liam Lawrence (M)
||8 Konstatin Zurianov (M)
|3 Kevin Kilbane (M)
||7 Igor Denisov (M)
|8 Paul Green (M)
||6 Roman Shirokov (M)
|11 Aiden McGeady (M)
||11 Alan Dzagoev (M)
|10 Robbie Keane (F)
||10 Andrei Arshavin (F)
|9 Kevin Doyle (F)
||9 Alexander Kerzhakov (F)
|16 Keiren Westwood (G)
|12 Vladimir Gabulov (G)
|13 Paul McShane (D)
||14 Alexei Berezutsky (D)
|12 Keith Fahey (M)
||15 Igor Semshov (M)
|15 Darron Gibson (M)
||18 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov(M)
|18 Greg Cunningham (M)
||17 Vladimir Bystrov (M)
|17 Andrew Keogh (F)
||16 Pavel Pogrebniak (F)
|14 Shane Long (F)
||19 Alexander Bukharov (F)
|Shane Long for Liam Lawrence (62)
||Igor Semshov for Konstatin Zurianov (68)
|Darron Gibson for Glenn Whelan (66)
|Pavel Pogrebniak for Alexander Kerzhakov (80)
|Keith Fahey for Kevin Doyle (71)
|Alexei Berezutsky for Alan Dzagoev (84)
|Sean St. Ledger (32)
|Igor Denisov (27)
|Kevin Doyle (57)
||Aleksandr Aniukov (61)
||Alexei Berezutsky (89)