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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
By ESPN Staff

Trapattoni: Doyle injury "very serious"

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni revealed that striker Kevin Doyle could miss the remainder of the Premier League season after suffering a "very serious'' knee injury in the 2-1 Euro 2012 qualifying win against Macedonia.

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The Wolves forward limped off early on as the Republic moved level with Russia and Slovakia at the top of Group B and Trapattoni fears the 27-year-old may miss the rest of the campaign.

The Italian said: "It's his medial ligament. I think he may be out for one or two months, so it's a very serious injury. But I hope by May or June, he can come back and we can have him for the match in Macedonia.''

If Trapattoni's early assessment proves correct it could mean Doyle missing the rest of Wolves' season as they fight to avoid relegation to the npower Championship.

He will obviously miss Tuesday's international friendly against Uruguay and his participation in the Republic's two Carling Nations Cup games in May will now be in doubt. Trapattoni, though, is hopeful of having Doyle back for the June 4 return match in Macedonia.

The Italian boss, meanwhile, hailed Aiden McGeady's best ever performance for his country after an otherwise successful night for his team.

The Spartak Moscow winger got the Republic off to the perfect start with just 85 seconds gone when he blasted home his first senior international goal on his 38th appearance with the help of some hapless goalkeeping by Edin Nuredinoski.

Skipper Robbie Keane then pounced on a second error by Nuredinoski to make it 2-0 with just 21 minutes gone.

The Italian had sent out McGeady under orders to shoot on sight, and saw him respond in spectacular fashion.

Trapattoni said: "He was the best player on the pitch. He has improved his performance and his personality. He is very self-confident. His first shot at goal, maybe a year ago he would not have done it. I always believed he could do it. I said the same to Darron Gibson too. We have players with extraordinary potential, but they are not aware of their potential.''

However, despite racing into an early lead, the Republic far from had things all their own way and found themselves engaged in a tooth and nail battle to hang on to the points after the impressive Ivan Trickovski had reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time.

The same man might have snatched a point 15 minutes from time had keeper Keiren Westwood, along with Kevin Foley and Darren O'Dea making his first competitive appearance for his country, not pulled off a fine one-on-one save.

The victory, coupled with Russia's draw in Armenia and Slovakia's win in Andorra, leaves the three sides locked together on 10 points at the top of Group B, and Trapattoni could not help looking back to Keane's missed penalty against the Slovakians in October which saw two points slip away.

He said: "At the minute, our group is very, very in the balance. It's a pity we missed the penalty against Slovakia. We could have been at the top.

"But I have three reasons to be happy. One reason is the three points; the second is the performance; and the third, which is equally important, is that players like O'Dea and Gibson and Foley, players I have been questioned for selecting, have played very well.''

Macedonia coach Mirsad Jonuz admitted his side had been made to pay for their mistakes.

He said: "At very crucial moments in the game, we needed to play well to get a result, but we made mistakes and so we lost the game.

"Ireland deserved the victory, but they scored two goals from our mistakes. In the second half, we created enough chances to get something from the game.

"In the games against Slovakia and Russia, we made mistakes which affected the result. Today, there were two mistakes by our goalkeeper which cost us the result.''

However, Jonuz promised Ireland there would be a backlash when they travel to Skopje in June.

He said: "Our players our motivated and expect to win the game in Skopje against Ireland and stay in the race for qualification.''


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