herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Trap on cloud nine after 'golden point'

GIOVANNI Trapattoni dodged a hail of bullets in Moscow last night. And after Armenia's remarkable victory over Slovakia, a play-off place is the least he can expect once six points are banked in Ireland's final two Group B fixtures.

Best of all, if Slovakia beat Russia in a month's time and Trap fulfils his side of the bargain, Ireland will qualify automatically for the Euro 2012 finals.

After admitting that he had St Patrick, Richard Dunne and Shay Given to thank for a "golden point" against Russia, he tried to put some sense on Armenia's 4-0 win.

"After playing against both teams, it is clear that the Slovakians' heads must have gone down against Armenia," he said.

"The result means that the group seven is more tightly in the balance than before and like before, we must only concentrate on each of our games as they come."

"There are two games left and Russia have a very difficult game against Slovakia. At this moment all is possible, nothing is a sure and no team is unbeatable. With six points we can be close."

Russia's fate now depends on match with Slovakia on October 7.

"A draw with Ireland is not a tragedy for us," former Russian international and current coach of Aiden McGeady's Spartak Moscow, Dmitri Alenichev said.

"We must win in Slovakia now, nothing less will do," is how Russian captain Andrei Arshavin reacted to the game's result.

"It's disappointing to draw a game we should have won but it's not a tragedy, we move on to October."

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