Doherty, Keane keep Ireland on course

  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 13 Jun 2003

DUBLIN: A goal in each half from Republic of Ireland's Gary Doherty and Robbie Keane sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over a pedestrian Georgian outfit here on Wednesday night to remain on course in Euro 2004 qualifiers. 

Ireland are in second place in Group 10, two points behind Switzerland with two matches left, and have next year's Finals in Portugal firmly in their sights.  

Official man of the match John O'Shea said: “It's been a long two weeks preparing for these two games and all the hard work has been worth it because we got six points.”  

Ireland won 2-1 against Albania in Dublin on Saturday.  

A boisterous crowd at Lansdowne Road were given very little to cheer about in a dull opening, during which Manchester United's O'Shea produced the only goal threat when he headed two yards wide after an Irish corner in the 11th minute.  

Lee Carsley, one of the changes from the Irish team that narrowly eclipsed Albania, delivered a lovely centre across the face of the goal four minutes later but defender Zurab Khizanishvilli did very well to beat the in-rushing strikers to it.  

Georgia were looking incrasingly vulnerable to the Irish raids down the flanks and Steve Carr down the right, along with O'Shea and Kevin Kilbane down the left, were constantly finding space but failing to deliver an accurate final ball.  

A free-kick, however, in the 43rd minute gave Kilbane the time he needed to pick out his man and he arrowed a fine cross to the back post where Doherty easily outjumped Kakha Kaladze and powered a downward header into the net.  

That goal clearly soothed any Irish nerves that had existed and they emerged for the second half in much more casual fashion.  

While the home-side afforded a lot of possession to the visitors, Ivo Susac's men were restricted to long-range efforts.  

Three points were well and truly plundered in the 53rd minute when, following some messy play in the Albania box, Carsely hooked the ball backwards over his and Kaladze's head for Keane to outmuscle Otar Khizanvishilli and slide the ball into the net.  

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