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Ireland cruise to win against Andorra

Republic of Ireland 3-1 Andorra
The hosts made it two out of two in Group B via goals from Kevin Kilbane, Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane.

Kevin Kilbane celebrates after heading the Irish in front against Andorra
Kevin Kilbane celebrates after heading the Irish in front against Andorra ©Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland ended the night as early Group B leaders ahead of Slovakia on goal difference after a 3-1 victory over Andorra.

It was a comfortable night for the Irish who struck twice in the first half through Kevin Kilbane and Kevin Doyle. Although Cristian Martínez pulled a goal back moments before the break, Robbie Keane restored Ireland's advantage soon after as they warmed up nicely for what should be a considerably tougher home test against Russia next month.

Giovanni Trapattoni kept faith with the team that earned a 1-0 win in Armenia on Friday and they started well, taking a 15th-minute lead through Kilbane's near-post header from Liam Lawrence's corner. It was veteran's third goal in as many games against the Andorrans and the first by an Irish player at the new Dublin Arena.

Jesús Álvarez's visitors, without a single EURO qualifying point in their history, had set their stall out to frustrate the Irish and there were one or two rumblings of anxiety from the crowd as the hosts struggled to build on their early advantage. Yet four minutes before the break they had a second goal to cheer. Lawrence closed down Sergio Moreno outside the Andorra area and Doyle picked up the loose ball and arrowed a left-footed effort into the far corner.

Before half-time arrived, Andorra were back in it as Martínez latched on to Richard Dunne's unwitting knockdown and found the top corner 25 yards from goal. It was Andorra's first goal since September last year and some way for the 20-year-old to open his account. Nine minutes after the restart, however, Keane restored the two-goal cushion, producing a simple chip over José Antonio Gómes after some excellent work by Aiden McGeady, who exchanged passes with a couple of team-mates before releasing his skipper.