Irish edge past Faroes
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 08/06/05 7:05pm
Republic of Ireland stumbled to the top of their World Cup qualifying group with an unconvincing 2-0 win at Faroe Islands.
Brian Kerr's men were expecting a difficult away day, and a combination of the dreary, blustery weather and poor playing surface meant for an uncomfortable night for the visitors.
Despite these, the Irish still failed to impose themselves on the inferior opposition, although the result was the all-important factor of the night.
The three points eventually came Ireland's way in the second half through an Ian Harte penalty and a heavily deflected Kevin Kilbane effort.
The conditions were far from ideal in a foggy and blustery Torshavn, and the Irish looked uncomfortable in the opening half.
In fact, it was the hosts who had the better of the chances with Shay Given seeing the ball flash past his left hand post on a couple of early occasions.
The Newcastle shot-stopper had to be alert when a miss-hit cross bobbled across a bumpy box towards the far corner and he had to turn the ball around for a corner.
Ireland could, and should, have taken the lead in the 39th minute when Andy Reid's shot was only palmed away by Faroe goalkeeper Jakub Mikkelsen, straight to the feet of Stephen Elliott.
The Sunderland man, making his competitive debut, had a great chance to grab a goal in international competition but skewed his effort on to the bar from close range.
Ireland were undoubtedly the happier to get to half time at 0-0, but even Kerr's half time team talk did little to change the game around.
The hosts went close two minutes after the restart when Rogvi Jacobsen climbed highest to meet a corner, but planted his header over the bar.
It looked like being a long night for the visitors but they were handed the chance to break the deadlock on 51 minutes when goalkeeper Mikkelsen felled Elliott inside the box.
Referee Anton Guenov pointed to the spot and Harte dispatched the penalty, despite Mikkelsen getting a hand to the ball, to the great relief of the visiting side.
The Faroe Islands were visibly shaken by the goal, and they fell 2-0 behind seven minutes later, although there was a huge slice of misfortune in the goal.
Kilbane swung a hopeful right boot at a shot outside the box which looked to be no danger for the goalkeeper until the ball took a wicked deflection off skipper Oli Johannesen on its way into the net.
The second goal was the killer for the Faroe Islands, and Elliott nearly made it three moments later when he stormed through the middle only to be denied by a smart reaction save from Mikkelsen.
Although the performance was disappointing, Kerr's men still end the season on top in Group Four.
|Faroe Islands||Team Statistics||Ireland|| |
|1||Shots on Target||8|| |
|6||Shots off Target||12|| |
|3||Blocked Shots||5|| |
|3||Yellow Cards||1|| |
|0||Red Cards||0|| |
| || || || |
| || || || |
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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Wed 8th Jun - Group A
Czech Rep6 - 1Macedonia
Romania3 - 0Armenia
Finland0 - 4Netherlands
Wed 8th Jun - Group B
Kazakhstan0 - 6Turkey
Denmark3 - 1Albania
Greece0 - 1Ukraine
Wed 8th Jun - Group C
Latvia1 - 0Liechtenstein
Estonia0 - 1Portugal
Luxembourg0 - 4Slovakia
Wed 8th Jun - Group E
Belarus0 - 0Scotland
Wed 8th Jun - Group H
Iceland4 - 1Malta
Wed 8th Jun - Group D
Faroe Islands0 - 2Rep Ireland
Wed 8th Jun - Group G
Spain1 - 1Bosnia
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I