ALMATY (Reuters) - Ireland scored twice in the final two minutes to snatch a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan after trailing to the former Soviet republic for most of their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Substitute Kevin Doyle volleyed a 90th minute winner with his left foot, a minute after captain Robbie Keane had scored from the penalty spot after being impeded on the goal line. It was Keane’s 54th goal in 121 appearances for Ireland.
Kazakh captain Kairat Nurdauletov had given his side the lead in the 37th minute, meeting an inswinging free-kick from Germany-based midfielder Heinrich Schmidtgal to glance a header across Irish goalkeeper Keiren Westwood into the top corner.
Before their late rally, Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland had created few chances and were frustrated by a Kazakhstan side placed 142nd in the FIFA world rankings.
Playing on an artificial pitch in the capital Astana, Kazakhstan came close to extending their lead 15 minutes from time when substitute Baurzhan Jolchiyev burst through the center and forced Westwood to turn his fierce drive around the post.
Reporting by Robin Paxton; editing by Martyn Herman