Republic of Ireland ease pressure on Giovanni Trapattoni with win over Faroes
Republic of Ireland put their drubbing by Germany behind them with a 4-1 victory away to Faroe Islands.
Last Updated: 16/10/12 9:43pm
After a goalless first period, the breakthrough finally arrived with less than a minute of the second half gone, and it did so in spectacular fashion.
Full-back Marc Wilson picked up possession wide on the left and cut inside before shooting right-footed from 30 yards with the ball clipping full-back Jonas Naes on the head as it flew into the top corner.
Robbie Keane had a hand in his side's second goal three minutes later as Wilson's left-wing cross was headed towards goal by Jon Walters and Keane's efforts to get there before Gunnar Nielsen put the keeper off and the ball ended up in the back of the net, with the Stoke man credited with the goal.
The Faroes hit back with 22 minutes remaining when Jonas Tor Naes was given time to cross from the right and delivered the perfect cross for substitute Arnbjorn Hansen to climb high and head firmly past Keiren Westwood.
But the Republic eased any nerves with further goals as Pol Johannes Justinussen put through his own net and Darren O'Dea added a fourth with time running out.
It had been a tumultuous few days for Trapattoni and there was another twist even before kick-off when it was confirmed that the post-match de-brief he usually holds with the media a day after a game, and which had been planned for Wednesday evening in Dublin, had been cancelled with the manager due to fly straight back to Milan.
Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney refused to discuss the matter as he sat stony-faced in the crowd before kick-off and as he left after the final whistle having applauded the team off the pitch.
The Republic ran out knowing the 90 minutes ahead might prove crucial in more than one way with their hopes of World Cup qualification facing significant damage if they did not emerge with three points, and Trapattoni's future hanging in the balance.
Having ordered his players to forget the horrors of Friday evening, Trapattoni handed 20-year-old Manchester United winger Robbie Brady the task of improving the supply lines to returning skipper Keane and his strike-partner Walters.
Brady certainly added some vigour down the right and might have unlocked the Faroese defence on several occasions during the early exchanges.
Having picked out O'Dea with an early corner the defender could not direct at goal, the midfielder cut inside to curl a left-foot shot just wide of the far post, and he was also involved in the move which should have led to Ireland taking a 13th-minute lead.
Brady played a corner short to Aiden McGeady, who clipped it in to Keith Andrews, who had lost Rogvi Baldvinsson at the near post, but failed to hit the target with the goal at his mercy.
The Bolton midfielder clasped his head in his hands, knowing a glorious opportunity had come and gone and although several more arrived before the break, none was better than the one which had just gone begging.
Walters headed over from McGeady's 22nd-minute cross and then forced a save from keeper Gunnar Nielsen six minutes later after Andrews had flicked on Keane's cross.
However, as the half wore on without the deadlock being broken, the home side grew in confidence and exerted genuine pressure.
Keeper Keiren Westwood had already had to claw away Daniel Udsen's cross as it threatened to drop over him and under the crossbar when he saw O'Dea throw himself into the path of Joan Edmundsson's 38th-minute shot after Christian Holst had opened up the Irish defence.
Trapattoni withdrew Brady at half-time and replaced him with striker Simon Cox, and although the opening goal arrived just 43 seconds after the restart, it did so from an unexpected source.
Wilson picked up possession wide on the left and cut inside before unleashing a 30-yard effort which flicked the head of full-back Naes and flew past the helpless Nielsen and into the top corner.
In an instant, the tension lifted and Ireland began to play with the confidence of knowing their qualifying campaign was back on track, and they increased their lead within seven minutes.
On this occasion, Wilson turned provider, crossing from the left for Walters to head firmly towards goal, where Keane did enough to put off Nielsen, but not enough to justify his claims that he had got the final touch.
The LA Galaxy striker might have added his name to list of scorers with 56 minutes gone, but dragged his left-foot effort just wide of the far post with the Faroes buckling.
But just as it looked as though the Republic had the points wrapped up, they allowed Naes to make ground down the right and cross for Hansen to climb above John O'Shea and head firmly past Westwood.
However, hopes of a fightback were dashed within five minutes when, with the Faroes pushing for an equaliser, Walters broke into space down the left and sent in a cross which McGeady could not reach, but Justinussen turned into his own net.
O'Dea's 88th-minute header capped a comprehensive victory and perhaps - but only perhaps - gave Trapattoni a little breathing space.
|Faroe Islands||Team Statistics||Republic of Ireland|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||5|
|4||Shots off Target||8|
|40.2||1st Half Poss.||59.8|
|43.1||2nd Half Poss.||56.9|