Keane makes sure Ireland go top after Andorra scare

Republic of Ireland 3 Andorra 1

Ireland duly went top of Group B last night, thanks to a workmanlike goal tally at Lansdowne Road and Slovakia's surprise 1-0 win in Moscow, but there were red faces for the home defence en route as Andorra – rated 201th of the 207 countries in Fifa's world rankings – pulled back to 2-1 with a fine goal from Christian Martinez on the stroke of half-time.

As the little pocket of land tucked between France and Spain had managed only three draws in their 14-year qualifying history, an upset was never a betting proposition. But Irish nerves in the 40,283 crowd were not really settled until the 53rd minute when a sweet passing move involving Paul Green, Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady ended with the Spartak Moscow midfielder sliding the ball through to Robbie Keane, who cleverly chipped Jose Antonio Gomes for his 44th Ireland goal.

While the hoped for goal feast never materialised, Ireland were two up and cruising on 40 minutes thanks to Kevin Kilbane and Kevin Doyle. Kilbane's first international goal in nearly four years was a thumping header from a corner on 14 minutes – a corner he had set up when his cross was almost headed in by Doyle only for goalkeeper Gomes to punch away.

Ireland took charge then but struggled to create clear-cut chances, with Keane in particular becoming frustrated as a series of tight offside decisions went against his side. It might have been 2-0 on the half-hour when Liam Lawrence hurried Marc Bernaus in possession in the penalty area and the full-back – Andorra's sole full-time professional – gifted him the ball, but the midfielder could only hit the side-netting as the keeper advanced.

Lawrence was in the thick of the action once again five minutes before the break when he and man of the match Doyle combined to rob Sergio Moreno wide on the Irish right. What followed was all the striker's own work as he cut inside before blasting a left-foot shot into the top corner.

But the quality of his strike was matched by Martinez at the other end within five minutes when the midfielder dispatched an opportunist half-volley past Shay Given.

Ireland Given; St Ledger, Kilbane, O'Shea, Dunne, Whelan, Lawrence, Green, K Doyle, Keane, McGeady.

Andorra Gomes; Bernaus, Silva, I Lima, Pujol, Vieira, Gomez, Moreno, Martinez, Ayala, Escura.

Referee L Trattou (Cyprus).

Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test