Euro 2012 play-off RESULT: Estonia 0-4 Ireland

Euro 2012 play-off RESULT: Estonia 0-4 Ireland

Ireland lead in Tallinn...
11th Nov 2011

Estonia         0-4         Republic of Ireland (Full-time)

                                     Keith Andrews 13

                                     Jonathan Walters 67

                                     Robbie Keane 71, 86 (pen)

The Republic of Ireland won by four goals in Tallinn against nine-man Estonia in tonight's Euro 2012 play-off first leg.

Keith Andrews netted a precious away goal on 13 minutes by guiding his header from a delightful Aiden McGeady cross inside the post.

The Ipswich Town midfielder grabbed the opener by surging into the box to arrive on cue and nod the delivery past Estonian goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko.

The home side were reduced to ten men on 35 minutes when Andrei Stepanov received his second booking after taking out Robbie Keane as he latched onto a stray pass by Aleksandr Dmitrijev.

Estonia's main chances were restricted to the long-range efforts they became known for during the group campaign they finished ahead of Serbia, Slovenia and Northern Ireland.

From one of them, on 22 minutes, Konstantin Vassiljev had Shay Given in a spin as the 25-yarder dipped before whizzing past the left upright.

It was the Estonians who looked like the team with the extra man early in the second half and Ireland survived a scare on 53 minutes when Richard Dunne stuck out a leg to divert Vassiljev's low free-kick wide of Given's post.

However, two Ireland goals in four minutes gave them a dream cushion. On 67 minutes, Pareiko could only parry McGeady's crisp shot and Keane looped the rebound to the back post where Jonathan Walters marked his first competitive cap with a goal.

The third arrived shortly after when Andrews won a free-kick 30 yards out. Damien Duff's back-heel enabled Andrews to smack the free which Pareiko once again failed to deal with. There to tap home the rebound was Ireland captain Keane.

The night got worse for Estonia 14 minutes from the end when Estonia captain Rai Piiroja joined his fellow centre-back Stepanov on the sideline by picking up a second booking in the space of five minutes for a deliberate handball.

Ireland substitute Stephen Hunt won a penalty on 85 minutes, allowing Keane add his second from the spot.

Estonia come to the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday for the second leg requiring a miracle to deny Ireland a place in next year's European Championships to be hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

Republic of Ireland: Given (Aston Villa); Kelly (Fulham), Dunne (Aston Villa), St. Ledger (Leicester City), Ward (Wolves); Duff (Fulham), Whelan (Stoke City), Andrews (Ipswich Town), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Keane (LA Galaxy), Walters (Stoke City).

Substitutions: Hunt (Wolves) for Duff (73 mins), Fahey (Birmingham City) for Whelan (78 mins), Cox (West Brom) for Walters (83 mins).