• FT

    Armenia

    0

    Rep of Ire

    1

  • FT

    Kazakhstan

    0

    Turkey

    3

  • FT

    Andorra

    0

    Russia

    2

  • FT

    Moldova

    2

    Finland

    0

  • FT

    Faroe Island

    0

    Serbia

    3

  • FT

    Montenegro

    1

    Wales

    0

  • FT

    Latvia

    0

    Croatia

    3

  • FT

    Romania

    1

    Albania

    1

  • FT

    Sweden

    2

    Hungary

    0

  • FT

    Lithuania

    0

    Scotland

    0

  • FT

    Luxembourg

    0

    Bosnia-Herz

    3

  • FT

    Estonia

    1

    Italy

    2

  • FT

    Slovakia

    1

    Macedonia

    0

  • FT

    Belgium

    0

    Germany

    1

  • FT

    Greece

    1

    Georgia

    1

  • FT

    Liechtenstei

    0

    Spain

    4

  • FT

    San Marino

    0

    Netherlands

    5

  • FT

    Slovenia

    0

    N Ireland

    1

  • FT

    England

    4

    Bulgaria

    0

  • FT

    France

    0

    Belarus

    1

  • FT

    Iceland

    1

    Norway

    2

  • FT

    Portugal

    4

    Cyprus

    4

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING

Republican Stadium

Referee: Zsolt Szabo | Attendance: 8682

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 1

FT

Republic of Ireland

  • Keith Fahey 76'

Armenia 0-1 Ireland: Fahey nets first goal

Keith Fahey came off the bench to launch the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012

qualifying campaign with a hard-fought victory in Armenia.

• Trap: Armenia not easy

The Birmingham midfielder struck his first senior international goal after 76

minutes to edge the Irish past Vardan Minasyan's men at the sweltering Yerevan

Republican Stadium.

No-one will have been more delighted than captain Robbie Keane, who passed up a

glorious early chance, had a goal ruled out for offside and then hit the post on

a night when things did not go for him in the final third.

However, there was as much relief as pleasure as he and his team-mates left the

pitch having been put to the test by their hosts.

Armenia gave as good as they got and although goalkeeper Shay Given had few

saves to make which genuinely taxed him, the home side were quick, direct and

technically gifted and were certainly no push-over.

Indeed, in playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, they had arguably the best player on

the pitch, and the Republic will hope Armenia can take points from some of their

rivals when they visit the Yerevan Republican Stadium.

The win sends Ireland into Tuesday's home clash with Group B minnows Andorra

knowing a perfect start would set the up very nicely for what lies ahead.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni admitted at his pre-match press conference in

Yerevan that he would happily settle for a 1-0 win from what he promised would

be a tricky fixture, and if anyone doubted his voracity, they were soon

disabused of the notion.

Armenia, who have beaten both Poland and Belgium in their capital city in

recent years, were far from over-awed by the task with which they were

presented, and with the impressive Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar Donetsk's recent

£5.8million acquisition, pulling the strings behind lone striker Yura Movsisyan,

they made life intensely difficult for the visitors.

Mkhitaryan treated Derby midfielder Paul Green to a torrid welcome to

competitive international football, while wide men Edgar Malakyan and Levon

Pachajyan kept full-backs John O'Shea and Kevin Kilbane on the toes throughout

the opening 45 minutes.

For all that, the Republic could have gone in at the break comfortably in

front.

Keane might have put them ahead within eight minutes, but volleyed agonisingly

wide from Kevin Doyle's flick-on with just goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky to beat,

and he thought he had done so 10 minutes before the break when he shot home from

Glenn Whelan's free-kick, only for an offside flag to ruin his celebrations.

However, perhaps the best chance fell to central defender Sean St Ledger, whose

powerful 22nd-minute header from an Aiden McGeady corner was palmed away by

Berezovsky.

Given had to save from Karlen Mkrtchyan and Pachajyan in quick succession, and

he was grateful to see Movsisyan volley over 14 minutes before the break.

Trapattoni sent his side back into battle knowing they were in a game, and they

were almost caught out within five minutes when Movsisyan combined well with

full-back Artak Erdigaryan, but then overhit his through-ball to the supporting

Mkhitaryan.

Mkhitaryan forced another save from Given and Mkrtchyan hooked just wide with

Armenia sensing a genuine opportunity, and there was an anxious moment for the

Ireland goalkeeper when defender Richard Dunne's headed clearance looped just

over his own crossbar

But as the home side forged forward in search of the opening goal, they left

space at the back and Doyle almost exploited that 19 minutes from time with a

powerful drive which Berezovsky had to palm away.

In the meantime, Trapattoni had replaced McGeady with Fahey, and it was he who

finally put the visitors in front with 14 minutes remaining.

Armenia could not clear their lines as Keane and then Doyle made nuisances of

themselves, and when the ball broke to the Birmingham midfielder, he smashed it

past Berezovsky to snatch victory.

In a tense finish to the game, the home side penned Ireland back inside their

own half, but stout defence won the day as Trapattoni's men once again ensured

that one goal was enough.

  • Trap: Armenia not easy

    Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his side's Euro 2012 qualifying rivals they face the sternest of tests in Armenia. Trapattoni had predicted a tight encounter and has warned Group B rivals Russia and Slovakia that they will not have it all their own way when they make the trip to the former Soviet republic.

    He said: "I saw in the qualification for the World Cup that Armenia lost one or two games, but they played very, very well. I think it will be not easy also for other teams coming here. Yesterday I said that this was not an easy game for two reasons: it was the first game and psychologically the weather was very hot for our players, who have played only one or two games so far this season.

    "I knew it would be very, very difficult. I said I didn't know which game it would be, whether it would be possible to play well or possible not to play well, and it proved to be a very, very difficult game for us.

    "But I think over the 90 minutes, we deserved to win the game. We had difficult situations in our defence and Shay Given had to make some important saves, but in the first half, Robbie Keane had two very good chances.''

    Keane skewed an eighth-minute volley just wide and after having a goal disallowed for offside, hit the post with the sort of chance he has buried throughout his international career. However, Trapattoni insisted that his lack of football this season - he has made just two appearances as a substitute for Tottenham - has not left him lacking sharpness.

    He said: "He is a little bit injured at the moment, that's why I changed him. But he also created chances for us.''

    Trapattoni has made something of a habit of guiding his side to narrow victories in competitive games - indeed, they have lost only once under the Italian when it mattered, the first leg of their World Cup play-off against France last November. His critics often accuse him of taking a conservative approach, but having admitted last night that he would willingly take a 1-0 victory, he was satisfied with exactly that result.

    He said: "It is not easy for a coach or manager to say before a game 'we will win' because we have to respect our opponents. We must have respect for those opponents. I thought it would be possible to win this game, but so did the Armenian coach and we knew it would not be easy.''

  • Scoring Summary

    • Armenia
    • Republic of Ireland
     
    (76') Keith Fahey

    Match Stats

    • Armenia
    • Republic of Ireland
    17(11) Shots (on goal) 10(5)
    13 Fouls 16
    9 Corner kicks 6
    1 Offsides 2
    43% Time of Possession 57%
    1 Yellow Cards 1
    0 Red Cards 0
    8 Saves 8

    Teams

    • Armenia
    • Republic of Ireland
    Substitutes
    Substitutions
    Yellow Cards
    Glenn Whelan (88')