ALL THINGS IRELAND: IRELAND BEAT ARMENIA TO QUALIFY FOR PLAY-OFFS
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IRELAND BEAT ARMENIA TO QUALIFY FOR PLAY-OFFS

Ireland qualified for the play-offs by beating plucky Armenia at the Aviva Stadium 2-1 this evening.
Needing only a draw to secure 2nd place in Group B,
 Ireland were handed a piece of good fortune when Armenia's goalkeeper Berezovsky was sent off after 25 minutes when he handled a Simon Cox shot outside his box. 
The free-kick came to nothing but Armenia were forced to bring off Malaqyan from midfield and bring on a young keeper in Armanek Petrosyan.

Ireland peppered Armenia's defence with a shot by Simon Cox saved and a McGeady shot just wide, then a Damian Duff cross was flicked on by Kevin Doyle in the six yard box only for Aleksanyan to poke the ball into his own net, 1-0 to Ireland.

With ten-man Armenia now needing two goals to go through, the expected improvement in their game never materialised with a shot by Movisyan their only attempt on target in the first-half, while Cox had another shot saved  before the whistle blew for half-time.
Ireland were in control without really making their man advantage count.

Giovanni Trapattoni's team began the second-half in much better fashion, pressing high up the pitch and playing some neat, intricate football, another shot for the impressive Simon Cox was blocked before an Aidan McGeady cross was touched in by Richard Dunne to give Ireland a 2-0 lead and gave Armenia a mountain to climb, the 45,300 crowd at the Aviva Stadium were in raptures.

However, Ireland were guilty of an unusual lapse in concentration at the back to allow Mikrtcharyan to beat Shay Given three minutes later.
McGeady was replaced by Stephen Hunt on 68 mins, while a minute later Kevin Doyle got sent off for an elbow on an Armenian defender, he will now miss at least one of the play-off matches.

Trap also brought on Keith Fahey for Glenn Whelan and Jon Walters for Simon Cox on 79 mins,
Walters also looked very lively when he came on, the Stoke City player held the ball up very well every time and had a couple of shots saved by Petrosyan.

So the four minutes of injury time ticked down and as the referee blew the whistle, the Stadium erupted and the players embraced each other for finishing second in the group on 21 points and on reaching the play-offs.

The Republic may be seeded in the top-tier of the draw on Thursday following France's draw with Bosnia, lets hope so, well done Ireland.

Man of the Match: Simon Cox


GROUP BPlayedWonDrawnLostForAgainstGoal DiffPoints
Russia107211741323
IRELAND10631157821
Armenia1052322101217
Slovakia10433710-315
Macedonia10226814-68
Andorra100010125-240

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