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Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 21:59 UK

Republic of Ireland 2-3 Russia

Alexander Kerzhakov after scoring Russia's first goal
Alexander Kerzhakov celebrates after scoring Russia's opening goal

Russia ended the Republic of Ireland's 100% Group B record by deservedly winning at the Aviva Stadium despite the home side's late rally.

Robbie Keane clipped the bar early on but Alexander Kerzhakov hammered Russia ahead in the eighth minute.

Alan Dzagoev doubled the lead on 28 and Roman Shirokov's third on 50 came after a Richard Dunne deflection.

Keane netted a penalty on 72 minutes and Shane Long struck another six minutes later but the Russians held on.

Armenia's earlier surprise win over Slovakia had given the Republic a chance to take control of the group but the Russians had other ideas.

The first really major football occasion at the new Aviva Stadium started off with the home fans in tremendous voice - buoyed by the afternoon result from Yerevan.

Dick Advocaat's Russian side also appeared ripe for the taking after their home defeat by Slovakia in September.

After some neat early passing by the Irish, Dzagoev threatened for the Russians in the fifth minute after Paul Green had been caught in possession but the shot was fired a yard wide.

The visitors had a narrow escape in the eighth minute as the Irish had three attempts on goal in a frantic attack.

606: DEBATE
and a man from Westmeath called Malone

After Aiden McGeady's initial shot was bumbled by keeper Igor Akinfeev, Keane's angled cross bounced back off the crossbar and the ball then pin-balled back to McGeady who drove across the face of goal.

The opening goal did arrive two minutes later but it was at the other end after Dunne had been blown up for a foul on Shirokov.

Given spilled Andrey Arshavin's free-kick and Sergei Ignashevich's overhead kick back into the danger zone was hammered to the net by Kerzhakov, who had given Glenn Whelan the slip.

Buoyed by the goal, the Russians began to find acres of space in the Irish half and goal-scorer Kerzhakov then tested Given with another fierce shot.

Shirokov was a dominant presence in central midfield with Glenn Whelan and Paul Green unable to make any impression.

As Russia continued to run rings around the Irish, the second goal came on 28 minutes as Alexander Anyukov's run and pull-back set up Dzagoev to score.

The goal-scorer's cool finish was aided by the ease with which he was able to lose his marker McGeady in the box.

Roman Shirokov and Aiden McGeady
Aiden McGeady battles with Russian playmaker Roman Shirokov

The Republic attempted to rally as Doyle tested Akinfeev and Keane then almost found the Wolves striker after a promising move.

But Russia could have added to their lead before the interval as Sean St Ledger's intervention prevented Kerzhakov pulling the trigger and Arshavin fired wide in injury-time.

The Republic tried to lift themselves after the break and Russian keeper Akinfeev denied McGeady after Keane had tried to burrow his way into the penalty area.

But the lead was 3-0 on 50 minutes as the superb Shirokov's shot from 25 yards was deflected by Dunne and into the net past a stranded Given.

Against the run of play, the Republic pulled a goal back on 72 as Keane slotted a penalty after Shirokov had blotted his copybook with a needless challenge on the Republic skipper.

Incredibly, there was only a goal between the sides six minutes later as substitute Long stabbed home from close range after Akinfeev had parried McGeady's point-blank effort.

Inevitably, the Irish produced late pressure but despite a few nervous moments in their defence, the visitors held on to take a deserved win.

Indeed, the Russians should have added to their lead in injury-time after more Arshavin trickery but substitute Pavel Pogrebniak missed from close range.

After the defeat, the Republic, who still lead the group on goal difference, now face the difficult task of regrouping for Tuesday's away game in Slovakia.


Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St. Ledger, Kilbane, Green, Whelan (Gibson 66), Lawrence (Long 62), McGeady, Keane, Doyle (Fahey 71).
Subs not used: Westwood, McShane, Keogh, Cunningham.

Russia: Akinfeev, Aniukov, Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutsky, Zhirkov, Denisov, Shirokov, Zyryanov (Semshov 68), Dzagoev (Alexei Berezutsky 84), Arshavin, Kerzhakov (Pogrebniak 80).
Subs Not Used: Gabulov, Bystrov, Bilyaletdinov, Bukharov.

Referee: Kevin Blom (Holland)



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see also
Dunne laments Irish performance
08 Oct 10 |  Irish
Kelly and O'Dea out for Republic
02 Oct 10 |  Irish
Quartet return to Republic squad
20 Sep 10 |  Irish
Republic confirm Uruguay friendly
16 Sep 10 |  Irish
FAI rejects ticket crisis reports
09 Sep 10 |  Irish
Doyle content after Republic win
07 Sep 10 |  Irish
Republic of Ireland 3-1 Andorra
07 Sep 10 |  Irish
Armenia 0-1 Republic of Ireland
03 Sep 10 |  Irish
Trapattoni hails 'important win'
03 Sep 10 |  Irish


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