Eire overcome in Cyprus
Steve Staunton side collapsed to defeat in Nicosia
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Saturday, 07, Oct 2006 08:20
Steve Staunton's Republic of Ireland side continued their uncertain start to their qualification campaign losing 5-2 to Cyprus in Nicosia.
The reverse represents a second successive defeat for the team after a second-half collapse saw the game slip away from them as they leaked three goals to render their earlier doggedness irrelevant.
Stephen Ireland had shot through a penalty box melee to put the visitors ahead with what had seemed a vital goal after just eight minutes, but the Cypriots were quickly back into the game.
Michalis Konstantinou intercepted Andy O'Brien's weak header and slipped a shot beyond Paddy Kenny to level the scores.
A second defensive mistake on 16 minutes allowed the home side to take the lead as Paddy Kenny misjudged rush from goal allowed Alexis Garpozis to nod home.
After Robbie Keane and Kevin Kilbane had gone close, Richard Dunne met a Damien Duff corner with a bullet head just two minutes from half-time to ensure the teams went into the break level.
However a second-half horror show followed as Ireland lost their way in a ragged bad-tempered game.
Konstantinou converted a penalty on 50 minutes after Andy O'Brien's rash attempted tackle and the visitors were behind yet again.
Substitute Constantinos Charalambidis was given far too much room to double Cyprus' advantage on the hour and punted home a loose ball after 75minutes to round off the victory.
As Irish frustrations grew Dunne earned himself a second yellow for clattering into Konstantinou with 12 minutes remaining.
As he trudged from the pitch, his first-half equaliser seemed a long time ago.