Republic claim victory at a price
By Steve Luckings
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
John O'Shea and substitute Clinton Morrison were the Irish heroes but Kerr will be hoping that Keane's departure just before half-time will not rule him out for next month's crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Russia.
The visitors started the better with Mark Bresciano giving the Irish their first scare when his thunderous volley from distance came off the underside of the bar and Scott Chipperfield could only head the ball over after 12 minutes.
The impressive Bresciano then teed up Manchester City's Danny Tiatto, steaming up on the his left side, just seconds later but Nick Colgan, making his full international debut saved his low drive well.
Tiatto was handed a second chance to open the scoring on 20 minutes when goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer's long clearance was not dealt with by Gary Breen or Stephen Carr, and Tiatto raced through but was always stretching to get on the end of it and in the end put the ball wide.
It took until three minutes before the interval for Ireland to create their best chance when Keane raced onto a through ball from Mark Kinsella and forced Schwarzer into a good save, but the Spurs man fell awkwardly on his right ankle under a tackle from Tony Popovic which could see him sidelined for the crucial match against Russia.
David Connolly replaced the injured Keane and Breen made way for Andy O'Brien in the second half, and it was the Newcastle United defender who unavoidably directed Stan Lazaridis's cross into Viduka's path as he smashed home his first international goal in five-and-a-half years, and only his third ever for The SocceRoos, on 47 minutes.
Colgan then did brilliantly to deny Viduka a second from a one-one situation before O'Shea popped up with his first international goal in eight appearances as he headed home substitute Ian Harte's in swinging cross with 17 minutes left.
Morrison, on for Gary Doherty, then made up for a glaring earlier miss when he beat the offside trap and managed to bobble the ball home past the onrushing Schwarzer to preserve Ireland's impressive run of form under Kerr, although the likely loss of Keane will be a huge dent to the manager's Euro 2004 qualifying plans.