Ireland cruised past Andorra 2-0
in their Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday to set up an effective
play-off-place decider at home to Group B form side Armenia next
week when a draw will be enough for the Irish to progress.
Striker Kevin Doyle put the visitors ahead from close range
after eight minutes and a deflected Aiden McGeady goal all but
put the game beyond the world's joint-lowest ranked team after
just 20 minutes.
Ireland failed to keep up their frantic early pace but with
Andorra unable to trouble Shay Given's goal, Giovanni
Trapattoni's side kept an eighth successive clean sheet and
maintained their unbeaten group stage away record.
Russia's 1-0 win in Slovakia means the group leaders just
need to beat Andorra at home on Tuesday to qualify in top spot,
leaving Ireland to scrap it out for second spot with an Armenian
side who have scored 11 goals in their last three games.
With neither side set to finish as the best second-placed
team, which brings an automatic berth in the finals, they will
likely be vying for a play-off spot with Armenia battling to
reach a major championship for the first time.
Ireland won 1-0 in Armenia in the opening game of the group
last year but Vardan Minasyan's side have improved dramatically
since, thrashing Slovakia 4-0 away from home last month.
"Everybody was saying after our 1-0 win in Armenia on the
first game that it was a horrific result but it just shows you
now, it's turned a little bit," man of the match McGeady told
national broadcaster RTE.
"Armenia are on a good run of form at the minute... it's
going to be a tough game on Tuesday but one we want to take
three points from."
Ireland left-back Stephen Ward will be suspended for the
game after being booked for diving on Friday but centre-half
Richard Dunne, whose man of the match display helped scrape a
draw in Russia last time out, returns from a one-match ban.
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