Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Ireland gets win against the Aussies

FRIENDLY As a result of goals by John O'Shea and and Clinton Morrison, the hosts were able maintain their recent winning streak


Ireland's Damien Duff, left, gets to the ball ahead of Australia's Lucas Neill during the first half of the Ireland versus Australia international soccer friendly at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland, Tuesday.


With a bit of luck, Ireland came from behind to beat Australia 2-1 in a hard-played international soccer friendly Tuesday.

The win -- thanks to goals in the 73rd minute from midfielder John O'Shea and the 80th minute from substitute striker Clinton Morrison -- kept alive a seven-game undefeated streak for new manager Brian Kerr.

Victory came at a potentially costly price for Ireland, which faces a crucial Euro 2004 qualifier at home versus Russia Sept. 6. Starting striker Robbie Keane was stretchered off just before halftime clutching his right hamstring, although he later was able to walk on the leg.

"We hope he's going to be OK, but it's too early to say yet," Kerr said.

Until Ireland's late fightback, Australia had appeared headed for a second road victory against European competition in only its second international match in a year. The Socceroos' last match was a 3-1 victory over England in February.

Australia put considerable pressure on Ireland despite the absence of star striker Karry Kewell, who sat out nursing a strained Achilles tendon.

The visitors were probably unlucky not to go ahead in the first half, when they out-passed and out-shot a sluggish Ireland side.

Mark Viduka scored the opening goal in the 49th minute by firing a close-range shot past goalie Nick Colgan, who was starting his first international match and made several saves that kept Ireland in the game.

"I thought we deserved at least a draw," said Australian coach Frank Farina.

Ireland's fortunes turned once Ian Harte delivered a pinpoint free kick from the near right side to O'Shea, who headered the ball high over the outstretched arms of goalie Mark Schwarzer.


* Australia: Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill, Hayden Foxe, Tony Popovic, Stan Lazaridis, Brett Emerton, Marco Bresciano, Paul Okon (Vince Grella 67), Danny Tiatto (Tony Vidmar 69), Mark Viduka (John Aloisi 77), Scott Chipperfield

* Ireland: Nick Colgan, Steven Carr (Ian Harte 57), Kenny Cunningham (Richard Dunne 83), Gary Breen (Andy O'Brien 46), John O'Shea, Steve Finnan (Kevin Kilbane 66), Matt Holland (Colin Healy 19), Mark Kinsella, Damien Duff (Alan Quinn 79), Gary Doherty (Clinton Morrison 57), Robbie Keane (David Connolly 45)

Morrison squandered one chance to put Ireland ahead in the 77th minute, when his header from point-blank range managed to sail wide left of the net.

But the Birmingham City striker won an unlikely redemption three minutes later when, outracing the defense for a long-range delivery from Harte, he mis-hit a second shot that caught a jumping Schwartzer off guard. The ball hopped beaneath the goalkeeper's legs and rolled in slow motion into the undefended net, sending more than 30,000 fans in the Lansdowne Road stadium wild.

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