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Page last updated at 20:50 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 21:50 UK

Republic of Ireland 2-1 Paraguay

Liam Lawrence
Liam Lawrence celebrates after scoring the Republic of Ireland's second goal

Goals from Kevin Doyle and Liam Lawrence helped the Republic of Ireland beat World Cup finalists Paraguay in Tuesday's friendly at Dublin's RDS.

Doyle headed the Irish ahead on eight minutes after Roque Santa Cruz had nodded against his own crossbar.

Lawrence's deflected half-volley doubled the Republic lead on 39 minutes after more good work by Doyle.

Lucas Barrios pulled a goal back on 58 minute after a glorious move and Paraguay bossed the rest of the game.

Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni included eight of the side which started against France in Paris last November while Sunderland duo Cristian Riveros and Paulo da Silva and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz lined out for the visitors.

The Irish made a bright start and Lawrence was incorrectly flagged for offside in the fourth minute with only keeper Aldo Bobadilla to beat after being played in by Keith Andrews.

However, the Republic did go ahead three minutes later as Doyle bravely headed into the empty net after Santa Cruz had got his bearings all wrong in nodding against his own crossbar.

The World Cup finalists could have got on terms within a minute but Jonathan Santana blasted over from 18 yards after a neat lay-off by Santa Cruz.

The next action of note didn't come until the 28th minute when Lawrence appeared to have a legitimate penalty claim after a clumsy challenge by Santa Cruz just inside the box.

Anywhere else on the pitch, it surely would have been deemed a foul but Swiss referee Jerome Lapperriere waved aside the Irish appeals.

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At the other end of the field, Rodolfo Gamarra's 31st-minute curling free-kick had Republic keeper Keiren Westwood scrambling before going a couple of feet wide after Stephen Kelly's foul.

However, the Republic went two up on 39 minutes as Lawrence's angled half-volley took a slight deflection to beat Bobadilla after Doyle had cleverly chested down Kelly's cross from the right.

Wigan-bound Antolin Alacaraz went close to pulling a goal back for Paraguay with a long-range effort in first-half injury time but Westwood reacted smartly to push the ball out for a corner.

However, for all their comfort in possession the Paraguayans had produced little penetration in the opening period as the Republic led 2-0 at the break.

Doyle and Duff both tested Bobadilla in the five minutes after the break but Paraguay's pretty patterns finally broke fruit in the 58th minute as Argentine-born Lucas Barrios pulled a goal back after exchanging passes with Gamarra and Claudio Morel.

And it was a delightful goal as Barrios finished off a glorious move with a precise finish from 14 yards although he was given far too much room by the home defence.

Trapattoni handed first caps to Celtic youngster Cillian Sheridan, Derby's Paul Green and Birmingham's Keith Fahey and the changes, with Keane, Glenn Whelan and Damien Duff withdrawn, did little for Irish fluency.

As Paraguay grew increasingly confident, the home side had a lucky escape on 70 minutes as Gamarra's teasing cross somehow evaded everyone.

The Republic dropped deeper and deeper into a defensive shell in the closing stages which only played into the visitors' hands.

But despite owning the ball, Paraguay were unable to force an equaliser as the Irish held on to clinch a win in the first of this week's two friendlies at the RDS.

The Republic face another of the World Cup finalists Algeria in Friday's game.

Republic of Ireland: Westwood, Kelly, McShane, St. Ledger, O'Shea, Lawrence (Foley 82), Andrews, Whelan (Green 69), Duff (Fahey 77), Keane (Sheridan 62), Doyle (Long 87).
Subs Not Used: Joe Murphy, Brian Murphy, Stokes, O'Dea, Best, Cunningham.

Paraguay: Bobadilla, Da Silva, Caniza, Alcaraz, Morel Rodriguez (Torres 65), Vera (Bonet 66), Riveros (Ortigoza 65), Santana (Aquino 82), Santa Cruz (Martinez 77), Barrios, Gamarra.
Subs Not Used: Villar, Veron, Julio Caceres, Victor Caceres, Achucarro, Marcos Caceres, Estigarribia, Ledesma.

Referee: Jerome Lapperriere (Switzerland)

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see also
Doyle pleased after Republic win
25 May 10 |  Irish
Injured Duffy feared for his life
23 May 10 |  Football
Duffy saved by emergency surgery
22 May 10 |  Football
McGeady misses Republic matches
20 May 10 |  Irish
Trapattoni names youthful squad
26 Apr 10 |  Football
Republic to start against Armenia
25 Mar 10 |  Football
Rep of Ireland 0-2 Brazil
02 Mar 10 |  Irish

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