GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI BRUSHED aside questions about his side’s shambolic performance as the Republic of Ireland kicked off their World Cup qualification campaign with a smash-and-grab win against Kazakhstan on Friday evening.
Substitute Kevin Doyle was the game-changer, first creating a penalty for Robbie Keane to equalise in the 89th minute and then volleying home a minute later to give Ireland a laboured 2-1 win.
“I’m not happy but today was away game, the first game in the qualifier,” Trapattoni told RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue afterwards.
“I am happy because we achieved the result. We have the habit again, we achieve again the habit to win. Now in this moment, all that is important is the result.”
Kazakhstan captain Kairat Nurdauletov put the hosts 1-0 up in the 37th minute, stunning Ireland after a first half in which they failed to create meaningful chances against the side ranked 142nd in the world.
Trapattoni’s starting XI lent itself to a direct approach with long balls targeting Jon Walters, who partnered Robbie Keane in attack, while Simon Cox tried to support from an unfamiliar position on the wing.
Doyle’s introduction for Cox in the second half was key to Ireland’s late comeback but still, the Italian insisted that he had made the right decisions at the right time.
“When we see the games in England, we watch about the performance of the player. The performance like Cox, also Jon Walters was important. Now we change it and we got it right to change it, to put in Long and Doyle. Fantastic.
“I said also in the [pre-match press] conference, we have good changes on the bench. Important. In fact, they won the game.”