• FT

    Kazakhstan

    0

    Austria

    0

  • FT

    Croatia

    2

    Latvia

    0

  • FT

    Georgia

    1

    Greece

    2

  • FT

    Germany

    3

    Belgium

    1

  • FT

    Malta

    0

    Israel

    2

  • FT

    Turkey

    1

    Azerbaijan

    0

  • FT

    Macedonia

    1

    Slovakia

    1

  • FT

    Rep of Ire

    2

    Armenia

    1

  • FT

    Russia

    6

    Andorra

    0

  • FT

    Albania

    1

    Romania

    1

  • FT

    Hungary

    0

    Finland

    0

  • FT

    Moldova

    4

    San Marino

    0

  • FT

    Bulgaria

    0

    Wales

    1

  • FT

    Denmark

    2

    Portugal

    1

  • FT

    Norway

    3

    Cyprus

    1

  • FT

    Sweden

    3

    Netherlands

    2

  • FT

    Switzerland

    2

    Montenegro

    0

  • FT

    Italy

    3

    N Ireland

    0

  • FT

    Lithuania

    1

    Czech Rep

    4

  • FT

    Slovenia

    1

    Serbia

    0

  • FT

    Spain

    3

    Scotland

    1

  • FT

    France

    1

    Bosnia-Herz

    1

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING

Aviva Stadium

Referee: Edward Gonzalez | Attendance: 45200

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Republic of Ireland

  • Valeri Aleksanyan 43' OG
  • Richard Dunne 59'

2 - 1

FT

Armenia

  • Henrikh Mkhitarian 62'

Luck of the Irish

Richard Dunne was the Republic of Ireland's hero once again as his goal edged

them past Armenia and into the Euro 2012 play-offs.

The Aston Villa defender, whose man-of-the-match defensive display in Russia

last month helped to secure a point, ensured all three went Ireland's way in

their final Group B game with a 60th-minute goal which cemented them in second

place on a night when both sides had a man sent off.

Much of what could have gone the Republic's way before the break did so with

the dangerous Armenians having keeper Roman Berezovsky sent off with just 26

minutes gone.

The visitors' plight deepened a minute before the break when defender Valeri

Aleksanyan turned Damien Duff's cross into his own net, and when Dunne bundled

home a second on the hour, the game looked to be over.

But Henrikh Mkhitaryan's strike two minutes later ended Ireland's run of eight

clean sheets and sparked concerted fightback, and the final whistle was greeted

with as much relief as joy.

Giovanni Trapattoni, whose own future as manager seems inextricably linked to

the success or otherwise of this campaign, saw his decision to play Simon Cox

rather than Shane Long pay off, although he will have been less pleased with

Kevin Doyle's rather harsh dismissal for a second bookable offence.

Doyle would have missed the first leg of the play-offs as a result of his first

booking anyway, but his manager will hope skipper Robbie Keane is fit enough to

play or the Italian will be without both his first-choice frontmen.

Almost two years ago, the Republic's World Cup dreams were ended by a handball

decision - or rather a non-decision - as France scraped past them with the help

of a large slice of good fortune.

That hurt has festered ever since, and the prospect of another crack at the

lottery of the play-offs is one which brings as much trepidation as excitement

and hope.

However, beggars cannot be choosers and having pushed Russia all the way,

Trapattoni's men knew heading into tonight's game that a draw would be enough to

book their place in the play-off.

Armenia arrived in Dublin brimming with confidence after three successive

qualifying victories and 11 goals, and there was more than a hint of concern

around the Aviva Stadium, if not inside the home dressing room, before

kick-off.

But having finalised his preparations, the one thing Trapattoni could not

account for was luck. And it was to his delight that when fortune chose to

intervene, it did so in favour of the men in green.

In a tight opening half-hour, the visitors played as billed, passing the ball

confidently with Marcos Pizzelli orchestrating from the middle of the field and

Mkhitaryan and Yura Movsisyan ahead of him looking menacing.

However, it was Doyle who was first to work a goalkeeper, although he did not

overtax Berezovsky with his 12th-minute effort after combining with Cox.

But the game turned with 26 minutes gone when Berezovsky's evening came to a

premature conclusion.

Doyle reacted first to a ball over the top before attempting to poke a shot

past the advancing keeper, whose save was undoubtedly made outside the penalty

area.

Spanish referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez consulted his assistant before

producing a red card as Berezovsky claimed in vain that he had stopped the ball

with his chest.

Remarkably, replacement Arsen Petrosyan was also penalised for a similar

offence a minute before the break, although having not prevented a goalscoring

opportunity, he was only cautioned.

However, the substitute, who had come on for midfielder Edgar Malakyan in the

wake of the sending-off, had already had to pick the ball out of his net when

Aleksanyan did at the far post what Doyle had failed to do at the near and

turned Duff's low cross home.

Armenia were determined to stick to their principles and continued to play

enterprising football after the break.

But with Ireland starting to make their numerical advantage tell, the long-ball

approach of the opening 45 minutes made way for a more expansive brand of

football.

Doyle was twice denied by good blocks by defensive midfielder Karlen Mkrtchyan

and Keith Andrews smashed a 25-yard piledriver a foot wide of the post.

Dunne looked to have secured victory when he bundled the ball home from close

range after Petrosyan had palmed Aiden McGeady's teasing cross against him.

However, Mkhitaryan's snapshot two minutes later reduced the deficit and, with

a little more composure, Movsisyan might have made the most of substitute Edgar

Manucharyan's fine 66th-minute run across goal.

McGeady should have done better when set up by Duff seconds later, but Shay

Given was relieved to see Manucharyan head inches over from Mkhitaryan's

70th-minute corner with the game far from over.

Doyle's 81st-minute dismissal for elbowing Mkrtchyan brought a disappointing

end to an eventful evening, but the smiles on the final whistle were all Irish.

Scoring Summary

  • Republic of Ireland
  • Armenia

Match Stats

  • Republic of Ireland
  • Armenia
12(8) Shots (on goal) 13(5)
18 Fouls 6
5 Corner kicks 5
2 Offsides 0
49% Time of Possession 51%
5 Yellow Cards 2
1 Red Cards 1
3 Saves 4

Teams

  • Republic of Ireland
  • Armenia
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Kevin Doyle (81')