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Late double gives Ireland victory over Kazakhstan
Published : 07 Sep 2012 20:47:33
Ireland got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a stunning start in Astana on Friday with two late goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle sealing a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.
It was an unlikely end to what had been, up until then, a largely forgettable Group C performance from Giovanni Trapattoni's men.
After a bright start from Ireland, the home side took command and had several chances to open the scoring.
They finally did so eight minutes before half-time when captain Kairat Nurdauletov glanced home from 10 yards out following a Genrikh Shmidtgal corner.
It was almost 2-0 moments later but 'keeper Keiren Westwood parried Ulan Konysbayev's shot into the path of Tanat Nusserbayev, and he could only hit a post.
Despite their sub-par performance in the opening 45 minutes, Trapattoni did not make any changes to the Ireland side at half time.
Kazakhstan, ranked 116 places below Ireland, controlled almost all of the second half until Keane scored from the penalty spot after 89 minutes and Doyle blasted home in the dying seconds to hand the under-fire Trapattoni a much-needed three points.
The veteran Italian had been under pressure following Ireland's dismal showing at Euro 2012, where they lost all three group-stage games.