Keane warns about danger of Berbatov as Ireland travel to Bulgaria
05 June 2009 06:50
Robbie Keane comes face to face with old friend Dimitar Berbatov tonight as the pair look to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
And the Ireland captain knows his former Tottenham partner will be looking to make a point after his Champions League disappointment with Manchester United.
Berbatov, a late and ineffective substitute against Barcelona, missed Bulgaria's draw in Dublin in April and there is increasing pressure on the £30million striker to deliver tonight as his country look to make up a five-point gap on Giovanni Trapattoni's side.
Keane, who hopes to shake off an ankle problem to lead Ireland out in the Vasil Levski Stadium here, said: 'Dimitar is certainly a threat in the box and can score a goal from nothing. He is someone we have to be aware of.'
Trapattoni, sweating on the fitness of Manchester City defender Richard Dunne, who has had strained knee ligaments, was last night angered by remarks made by Bulgaria team administrator Nasko Sirakov.
He dismissed Ireland's chances, saying: 'I expect us to win, nothing else. Let us not get carried away. Ireland are not exactly a force in football.'
But Trapattoni said: 'We will show how we can play against a strong team. Do not forget David and Goliath. We have a good team and we must show him.'
How they line up
BULGARIA (4-4-2): Ivankov; Kishishev, Topuzakov, Tomasic, Stoyanov; Georgiev, S Petrov, Rangelov, M Petrov; Berbatov, Bojinov.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (4-4-2): Given; O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Kilbane; S Hunt, Andrews, Whelan, Duff; Folan, Keane.
Referee: Claus Bo Jensen (Denmark).
TV: Setanta Sports 2, 6pm (kick-off 6.30). EXCLUSIVE: Stoke manager Pulis eyeing Dunne deal with Man City