Irish claim vital win
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: 08/10/05 7:45pm
Republic of Ireland kept their World Cup qualification hopes alive with a battling 1-0 win over Cyprus.
Stephen Elliott's first international goal on six minutes was enough to give Brian Kerr's men maximum points and keeps them in the hunt to qualify from Group Four.
It was not all plain sailing for the Irish, as Shay Given was called into action on more than one occasion, but they held firm to claim a crucial victory.
The travelling army of Irish fans turned the game into a home contest for Brian Kerr's men and they started the game at a rate of knots, with Steve Finnan seeing an early shot charged down and Elliott stabbing an effort wide following a probing cross from Graham Kavanagh.
Ireland's impressive start yielded the opening goal on six minutes, with Elliott lashing home on the turn after a lofted ball from Robbie Keane fell invitingly into his path.
The goal jolted Cyprus into action, with Shay Given called on to make a clutch of impressive saves in a frantic spell.
Yiannakis Okkas was the man frustrated by Given on more than one occasion. The Newcastle shot-stopper made a fine save with his legs on 13 minutes and then pulled off a fabulous penalty stop.
Okkas tumbled in the box under challenge from Richard Dunne and dusted himself down to take the spot-kick, but he was left in a state of bewilderment as Given flung himself to his right to claw the ball away.
Chrysis Michael was the next to call Given into action, with the keeper showing solid handling to pull in a shot at full stretch, while the keeper tipped over a drive from Okkas to keep Ireland in the ascendancy.
Goalmouth action was at a premium after the interval, although substitute Yiasoumis Yiasoumi wasted a gilt-edged chance when slicing wildly off target following an error from Stephen Carr.
At the other end, Kevin Kilbane headed wide and Robbie Keane saw a clipped shot cleared off the line by Lambros Lambrou as the Irish failed to kill off the contest.
The Cypriots forced Kerr's men onto the back foot late on, but they held on to claim the three points which sets them up perfectly for Wednesday's crucial clash with Switzerland.
The Irish may have to take on the Swiss without key winger Damien Duff who limped out of the contest on the hour with a knee complaint.
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|Cyprus||Team Statistics||Republic of Ireland|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|9||Shots on Target||2|
|9||Shots off Target||4|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Sat 8th Oct - Group F
N Ireland2 - 3Wales
England1 - 0Austria
Sat 8th Oct - Group E
Scotland0 - 1Belarus
Norway1 - 0Moldova
Italy1 - 0Slovenia
Sat 8th Oct - Group A
Finland0 - 1Romania
Czech Rep0 - 2Holland
Sat 8th Oct - Group C
Russia5 - 1Luxembourg
Slovakia1 - 0Estonia
Portugal2 - 1Liechtenstein
Sat 8th Oct - Group H
Bulgaria2 - 0Hungary
Croatia1 - 0Sweden
Sat 8th Oct - Group B
Georgia0 - 0Kazakhstan
Ukraine2 - 2Albania
Denmark1 - 0Greece
Sat 8th Oct - Group D
Israel2 - 1Faroe Islands
Cyprus0 - 1Rep Ireland
Switzerland1 - 1France
Sat 8th Oct - Group G
Lithuania0 - 2Serbia
Bos & Herz3 - 0San Marino
Belgium0 - 2Spain
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
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I