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Dublin: 3°C Tuesday 26 January 2021
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WE’RE IN DUBLIN 4 for the final round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the final day of the season. E-mail ben@thescore.ie, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Ireland 3-1 Kazakhstan

Good evening and welcome along. Ireland, out of the running for a place at next year’s World Cup finals, face Kazakhstan in the last competitive game of 2013.

Noel King has left it late to name his starting XI but we’ve just been handed the teamsheet. Here it is:

David Forde, Seamus Coleman, Richard Dunne, John O’Shea, Marc Wilson, Darron Gibson, James McCarthy, Andy Reid,  Anthony Stokes, Kevin Doyle, Robbie Keane (c).

King has rung in the changes for what is likely to be his last game in charge. In come Richard Dunne and John O’Shea, both back from suspension, while Marc Wilson reverts to full-back.

Everton’s Darron Gibson and James McCarthy are the midfield pairing with Andy Reid back from international exile in what could be an attacking three with Kevin Doyle and Anthony Stokes.

Captain Robbie Keane, on 60 international goals, gets the nod up front after returning from an ankle injury.

Credit: RTE

President Michael D Higgins is out being introduced to the Kazakhstan players and we’re just over five minutes away from kick-off. It’s been a busy few days after his trip to Richmond Park on Sunday.

That’s the anthems out of the way and we’re just about ready to get going. It’s far from a full crowd here at Lansdowne Road but the singing section are already trying to get the atmosphere going with a few bars of ‘Come On You Boys in Green’.

Ireland women’s captain and Arsenal goalkeeper Emma Byrne has just been recognised after recently reaching 100 senior international caps. An incredible achievement.

Here we go then. Anthony Stokes and Kevin Doyle have started on the flanks with Reid tucked in behind Robbie Keane and Gibson and McCarthy holding.

Reid chips a ball over the left full-backs head where Doyle collects ad wins a corner. The delivery is over-hit however and the visitors have a throw-in.

Reid drills a ball into the box, which Robbie Keane flicks with a deft header. Goalkeeper Andrey Sidelknikov can’t hold it initially but gathers at the second attempt.

Moments later, poor defending allows Maksat Baizhanov to get in at the front post and head just over. That was a let-off.

GOAL! Ireland 0-1 Kazakhstan (Dmitriy Shomko)

Oh dear. Seamus Coleman fails to clear and 23-year-old Dmitriy Shomko hits an absolute belter past Forde.

GOAL! Ireland 1-1 Kazakhstan (Robbie Keane)

Ireland have hit back almost immediately after being awarded a penalty when Alexander Kislitsyn handles a cross from the left. Keane dispatches the spot-kick for his 61st international goal.

GOAL! Ireland 2-1 Kazakhstan (John O’Shea)

Ireland take the lead through an unlikely in John O’Shea. Another corner isn’t dealt with by Sidelnikov, who has looked far from assured, and the Sunderland defender volleys home just his second senior goal for his country.

Kazakhstan have been forced into a change with Alexander Kislitsyn going off with a back injury. The defender has been replaced by Andrey Finonchenko.

Former Ireland boss Brian Kerr, speaking on 2FM, has just said the new man “looks a bit like Phil Collins”. Shout!

Bad news for Darron Gibson. His night is certainly over after he lands awkwardly on his knee. The stretcher is out and Glenn Whelan is preparing to come on. You’ve got to feel for the Everton man.

Credit: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ireland string together a dozen or so passes in the best passage of play they have enjoyed and have Kazakhstan camped on their 18-yard line but a sloppy pass from Wilson ends the positive period.

Reid is put down the left flank and cuts a decent cross to the back post where Doyle attempts to head across goal. He is deemed to have been climbing on his marker, however.

Four minutes of added time.

More encouraging play involving Reid, Doyle, Wilson and , McCarthy ends in the Toffees midfielder sending the ball beyond Doyle and out of play.

Half-time: Ireland 2-1 Kazakhstan

There’s  at least one Premier League manager in attendance to throw an eye on a couple of his players. Roberto Martinez won’t be happy with that fairly serious-looking injury to Darron Gibson.

Credit: INPHO/Donall Farmer

The teams are back out and the second half has just started. No substitutes to report.

Keane takes a good first touch from Dunne’s pass. It sits up nicely but the LA Galaxy striker mishits the volley well-wide.

They’re holding onto the ball and playing nice short passes from side to side but Ireland are currently unable to break through Kazakhstan’s two banks of  defence.

Reid feeds Stokes then goes around the outside to take the ball back inside the opposing penalty box. The Nottingham Forest man drills a low ball which comes off a defender and the resulting corner sees Kazakhstan get a free-kick.

Then Whelan hits a decent strike from distance after Stokes’ floated ball is headed out.

Wilson heads a couple of yards wide from a Reid corner. They really should be putting this one to bed by now.

Second change for Kazakhstan. Igor Yurin is on for Alex Chshyotkin. And the substitute is immediately involved — fizzing an effort just past Forde’s post.

Cheeky from Reid there, who attempts to lob Sidelnikov from 30 yards out.

Here comes Aiden McGeady. Spartak Moscow’s winger is on for Andy Reid, who gets a huge applause after making his international return. Reid has been one of Ireland’s best players tonight.

15 minutes to play.

GOAL! Ireland 3-1 Kazakhstan (Dmitriy Shomko og)

That should wrap it up. Stokes keeps the ball in with a back-heel, McGeady goes by a defender and blasts a ball into the danger zone. It is on its way to Keane when Shomko pokes into his own net.

Kazakhstan’s third and final substitution sees captain Andrey Karpovich replaced by Pavel Shabalin.

Wes Hoolahan has also been given a five minute cameo with Anthony Stokes being withdrawn.

Full-time: Ireland 3-1 Kazakhstan

Scrappy at times, encouraging in others, Ireland end the World Cup qualifying campaign with a win. That puts them on 14 points behind Germany, Sweden and Austria.

Elsewhere in Group C, it finished:

  • Sweden 3-5 Germany
  • Faroe Islands 0-3 Austria

About the author:

Ben Blake

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