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BBC Sport's Steve Wilson
"It was Andorra who almost unbelievably took the lead."
 real 14k

banner Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Sloppy Republic defeat Andorra
Matt Holland (centre)
The Republic's Matt Holland lines up for a goal attempt
Republic of Ireland 3-1 Andorra

The Republic of Ireland recovered from the shock of going behind to defeat Andorra 3-1 in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road.

But while the win kept Mick McCarthy's men on course to claim a place in the World Cup finals, it was a far from convincing performance by the sloppy Irish.

It took the seismic shock of a 32nd minute Andorra goal - only their fourth in eight Group Two qualifiers - to finally stun the home team into productive action.

Andorra defender Ildefons Lima was allowed a free header by Gary Breen to give the minnows, ranked 144 in the FIFA world list, an amazing lead after the Irish had produced a dismal opening half-hour.

Amid much relief, Ireland were on terms two minutes later with Kevin Kilbane equalising after a Gary Doherty knockdown.

Mick McCarthy
Mick McCarthy wasn't smiling throughout

Within seconds, Mark Kinsella had blasted to the roof of the net to put the Irish ahead after Doherty's header from a Mark Kennedy cross had come back off the crossbar.

Kennedy and Doherty both wasted further chances on the floor before half-time.

It was not until the 76th minute that the task of taking three points was finally completed when centre back Gary Breen, captain for the night in place of injured Roy Keane, knocked in the third goal.

Andorra's goalkeeper Alfonso Sanchez could only flap away Ian Harte's free kick under the considerable physical pressure of the leaping Richard Dunne and Breen had plenty of time to pick his spot from eight yards.

Despite only scoring one goal in the second half, the Irish performance did improve with Harte hitting the woodwork from a free-kick and several other great chances missed.

Mark Kennedy (left)
Mark Kennedy (left) was substituted

The introduction of Stephen Carr for the ineffective Kennedy in the 66th minute gave the Irish a better balance with Gary Kelly pushing up from full-back to the right side of midfield.

In the first period, the Irish had often been reduced to lumping long-balls in the direction of the towering Tottenham man Doherty.

McCarthy's team clearly missed the drive of injured skipper Roy Keane.

And while, Doherty, a striker on the night, did win the man of the match award, the Irish attack minus Robbie Keane and Niall Quinn, looked somewhat laboured.

McCarthy had rested Robbie Keane, Kenny Cunningham and Jason McAteer to prevent the risk of bookings which would have suspended the trio for June's far more vital clash with Portugal in Dublin.

The victory took the Irish three points clear at the top of the World Cup Group two qualifying table.

Rep of Ireland: Given, Gary Kelly, Breen (Staunton 85), Dunne, Harte, Kennedy (Carr 66), Kinsella (Finnan 79), Holland, Kilbane, Connolly, Doherty. Subs Not Used: Foley, Robbie Keane, Farrelly, Alan Kelly.

Andorra: Alfonso Sanchez, Escura, Antoni Lima, Delfons Lima, Roberto Jonas, Txema, Emiliano (Francesc Soria 87), Jimenez (Pujol 81), Oscar, Ruiz, Juli Sanchez (Fernandez 90). Subs Not Used: Gil, Ferron, Buxo, Poli.
Att: 34,000
Ref: K Jakobsson (Iceland).

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Republic of Ireland 3-1 Andorra
25 Apr 01 |  World Cup 2002
Clockwatch: Republic of Ireland 3-1 Andorra
28 Mar 01 |  World Cup 2002
Republic overpower Andorra
11 Oct 00 |  Northern Ireland
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