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Republic of Ireland 2-1 Georgia

Kevin Kilbane of the Republic of Ireland competes with Georgia's Beka Gotsiridze
Kevin Kilbane of the Republic competes with Georgia's Beka Gotsiridze

A bizarre penalty helped the Republic of Ireland come from behind to beat Georgia in a World Cup qualifier.

They had trailed for most of the game after Stephen Kelly's early blunder gifted a goal to Alexander Iashvili.

But Robbie Keane equalised from the spot in the 73rd minute after an amazingly harsh handball decision against defender Ucha Lobjanidze.

Captain Keane headed the winner five minutes later to lift the Irish level with Group Eight leaders Italy.

Things were not looking good for Giovanni Trapattoni's side after a calamitous first-minute error by full-back Kelly.

The Stoke City defender was badly at fault for not cutting out Lobjanidze's flicked-on cross, allowing Iashvili to score from close range.

Keith Andrews thought he had equalised but was thwarted by a controversial offside verdict in the 25th minute.

Damien Duff cut in from the right wing and squared for Blackburn midfielder Andrews, whose side-footed effort found the back of the net with the help of a deflection off AC Milan star Kakha Kaladze.

Finnish referee Jouni Hyytia ruled that striker Kevin Doyle had been in an offside position even though he did not touch the ball.

Before that incident, Doyle appealed for a penalty after a challenge by Kaladze but again the decision went against the Republic.

But in the second half it was a penalty which threw a frustrated Irish side a generous lifeline.

The ball appeared to hit Lobjanidze on the top of his shoulder and there were no appeals from the home players.

But ref Hyytia pointed to the spot and Keane rolled in the equaliser.

The pendulum had definitely swung in Ireland's favour and they secured all three points when record scorer Keane netted again with a diving header following a corner.

Rep of Ireland: Given, Kelly, Kilbane, O'Shea, Dunne, Whelan, McGeady, Andrews, Doyle, Keane, Duff (Stephen Hunt 80).
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Delaney, Foley, Keogh, Gibson, Noel Hunt.

Booked: Andrews.

Goals: Keane 73 pen, 78.

Georgia: Lomaia, Lobjanidze, Kaladze, Kvirkvelia, Razamadze, Iashvili, Siradze (Aleksidze 77), Khizanishvili, Gotsiridze (Merebashvilli 67), Kobiashvili, Menteshashvili (Khmaladze 70).
Subs Not Used: Kvaskhvadze, Kvakhadze, Odikadze, Martsvaladze.

Booked: Menteshashvili, Lobjanidze, Kvirkvelia, Kobiashvili, Khizanishvili.

Goals: Iashvili 1.

Att: 65,000

Ref: Jouni Hyytia (Finland).

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see also
International football as it happened
11 Feb 09 |  Internationals
International football photos
11 Feb 09 |  Football
Keane accepts luck was with Irish
11 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni aiming to lead group
09 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Ireland remains out for Republic
19 Jan 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals

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