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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Cyprus 5-2 Republic of Ireland
By John Haughey

Robbie Keane tries to nip in ahead of Cyprus goalkeeper Michalis Morfis
Skipper Robbie Keane and his team-mates had a nightmare evening
The Republic of Ireland suffered a nightmare night in Nicosia as Cyprus humiliated Steve Staunton's side in the Euro 2008 qualifier.

After Stephen Ireland's early strike, goals from Michalis Constantinou and Alexis Garpozis put Cyprus ahead.

Richard Dunne levelled before half-time but Constantinou's penalty restored the Cyprus lead on 50 minutes.

Two Constantinos Charalambidis goals plus Richard Dunne's sending off completed the Republic's awful evening.

The Republic were minus the likes of Shay Given, Steven Reid, Graham Kavanagh, Stephen Carr and Kevin Doyle but that could not excuse a truly shocking performance.

With Staunton watching from the stands because of his touchline ban, the Republic's defensive frailty did not take long to be exposed.

In the fifth minute, Steve Finnan's backpass gifted Constantinou a glorious chance but the striker poked the effort wide.

Two minutes later, the Republic appeared on their way when Manchester City youngster Ireland rifled a shot into the net through a crowd of players after being set up by Aiden McGeady.

However, Cyprus were on terms within two minutes after Andy O'Brien's dreadful backpass allowed Constantinou to slide the ball under Paddy Kenny.

Things went from bad to worse seven minutes later when keeper Kenny charged out of his goal allowing Alexis Garpozis to head into the empty net.

Damien Duff made little impact for the Republic
Damien Duff tries to get in a cross despite Satsias Marinos' attentions

At that stage the Republic were reeling, with their defence in trouble almost every time the Cypriots attacked.

Granted, the Irish defenders were not receiving much support from the shapeless midfield with the lack of a central holding player a major problem.

However, the Cypriots' defence looked just as wobbly and firstly Kilbane and then Morrison had efforts blocked as the frantic and helter-skelter nature of the contest continued.

Dunne's booking ensured that he would miss Wednesday's game against the Czech Republic but the Manchester City defender then made a positive contribution by heading home Duff's corner in the 43rd minute.

The Cypriots still had time to rattle the Irish crossbar in first half injury-time with Kenny getting a vital touch to dangerman Constantinou's shot.

The Republic were back to square one five minutes after the break, with O'Brien's horrible evening continuing as he conceded a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Stathis Aloneftis.

Constantinou made no mistake from the spot by sending Kenny the wrong way.

It scarcely seemed possible that it could get any worse for the Irish but it did on the hour with substitute Constantinos Charalambidis tapping into the empty net after more appalling defending.

But amazingly the Nicosia horror-show was still not complete and Charalambidis slammed in a fifth goal for the Cypriots in the 75th minute after Kenny had blocked Constantinou's point-blank header.

To put the icing on the cake, Dunne, booked earlier, was sent off in the 78th minute after another clumsy challenge to complete the Republic's worst performance for many years.

Cyprus: Morfis, Satsias, Lambrou, Louka, Theodotou, Michael (Charalambidis 46), Garpozis (Charalambous 77), Makrides, Okkas (Yiasoumi 86), Konstantinou, Aloneftis.
Subs Not Used: Georgallides, Theofilou, Daskalakis, Elia.

Booked: Morfis, Garpozis, Konstantinou, Satsias, Aloneftis.

Goals: Konstantinou 10, Garpozis 16, Konstantinou 50 pen, Charalambidis 60, 75.

Rep of Ireland: Kenny, Finnan, O'Shea, Andrew O'Brien (Lee 71), Dunne, Kilbane, McGeady (Alan O'Brien 80), Ireland (Douglas 83), Morrison, Keane, Duff.
Subs Not Used: Henderson, St. Ledger, Foley, Tabb.

Sent Off: Dunne (78).

Booked: Dunne, Keane, O'Shea.

Goals: Ireland 8, Dunne 44.

Ref: Lucilio Cardoso Cortez Batista (Portugal).

Staunton 'embarrassed' by defeat
07 Oct 06 |  Internationals
International photos
07 Oct 06 |  Football


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