DUBLIN - Ireland joined Slovakia and
Russia at the top of Euro 2012 Group B qualifying after a long
overdue first international goal by Aiden McGeady and dreadful
goalkeeping helped them beat Macedonia 2-1 on Saturday.
Spartak Moscow winger McGeady ended his 38-cap wait for a
goal and had the poor Edin Nuredinovski to thank. The Macedonia
keeper also gifted captain Robbie Keane a second before Ivan
Trichkovski pulled one back for the visitors.
Macedonia, who twice derailed Irish qualification campaigns
in the late 1990s and almost held the Slovaks away from home in
September, played some tidy football but faced too tough a task
after Nuredinovski handed Ireland a 2-0 lead inside 21 minutes.
The keeper let McGeady's long drive slip through his grasp
after just 85 seconds and then spilled a Darron Gibson free kick
to hand the prolific Keane his 46th and perhaps easiest
international goal from two metres.
Trichkovski struck just before half-time, cutting inside
defender Richard Dunne to slot home after nice work from Inter
Milan striker Goran Pandev, and the lively APOEL Nicosia winger
could have snatched a draw 15 minutes from time.
Ireland, boosted by Russia's earlier 0-0 draw in Armenia,
hung on for victory and next face Macedonia again in three
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