Result: Kazakhstan 1-2 Republic of Ireland

Robbie Keane
© PA Photos
Republic of Ireland snatch a 2-1 victory from Kazakhstan courtesy of late goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle.

Late goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle saw the Republic of Ireland come from behind to avoid an embarrassing loss to Kazakhstan in their World Cup qualifying opener tonight.

The hosts, who are ranked 142nd in the world compared to Ireland's 26th-place berth, were ahead going into the last two minutes after skipper Kairat Nurdauletov headed a 38th-minute Heinrich Schmidtgal free kick past Keiren Westwood.

The Sunderland stopper fared better with Ulan Konysbaev's effort moments later, producing an excellent diving stop to ensure that Kazakhstan led by just one at the break.

James McCarthy had tested home keeper Andrei Sidelnikov in the first period, but there were few Ireland chances in the second half, and a late comeback looked unlikely.

However, captain Keane levelled the scores on 89 minutes when he converted a penalty after being fouled in the box.

Miraculously, substitute Doyle netted an injury-time winner when he turned the ball home following a headed knock-down, snatching Ireland a 2-1 win and sparing Giovanni Trapattoni's blushes.

Giovanni Trapattoni
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