Lawrence belter beats Bafana Bafana

Liam Lawrence's first senior international goal handed the Republic of Ireland a creditable 1-0 victory over World Cup hosts South Africa.

Last Updated: 08/09/09 at 21:51 Post Comment

Lawrence: Celebrates his sublime strike

Lawrence: Celebrates his sublime strike

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

A Republic side featuring only three of the men who started Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Cyprus, saw off the challenge of Joel Santana's men at Thomond Park in Limerick - courtesy of Lawrence's unstoppable 37th-minute free-kick.

However, the 27-year-old's strike in just his second appearance for his country came distinctly against the run of play - South Africa dominating the first half with an impressive display which lacked only a cutting edge.

Giovanni Trapattoni's understudies defended in depth and with characteristic commitment to ride out the storm in front of a crowd of 11,300 on a night when even the promise of a handful of pre-released tickets for next month's crucial qualifier against Italy failed to fill the stands.

That kind of resilience has become a trademark of Trapattoni's reign - and while his critics bemoan the pragmatism, he continues to get results.

Ireland were much more pro-active after the break, and substitute Leon Best three times went close to extending the lead.

Trapattoni challenged those members of his squad who have largely provided the back-up during the World Cup campaign to make a case for their future inclusion.

For long periods during the opening 45 minutes, the hosts found themselves on the back foot as the excellent Steven Pienaar prompted the likes of Blackburn new boy Elrio van Heerden and strikers Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker.

It was they who created most of the chances before the break, although goalkeeper Keiren Westwood was never under the kind of pressure he perhaps should have been.

Defender Morgan Gould skied a first-minute effort high over the bar, as did Mphela 10 minutes later, while midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi saw another effort deflected wide by Stephen Kelly after he surged towards goal.

Pienaar curled a 22nd-minute free-kick just over Westwood's bar, and the Everton man threatened to play Mphela in on several occasions - with central defenders Paul McShane and Sean St Ledger repeatedly at full stretch, particularly when their side was temporarily reduced to 10 men while striker Caleb Folan had four stitches put into a head wound.

But Pienaar was booked for blocking Lawrence's original free-kick after breaking early from the defensive wall - and although van Heerden was similarly premature from the re-take, the Stoke man sent the ball arcing into the top corner.

Ireland returned determined after the break - and with Folan and captain Kevin Doyle pushing their markers ever deeper and Darron Gibson and Keith Andrews tigerish in central midfield.

Santana's side continued with their enterprising approach.

Gibson kept Fernandez on his toes with a 25-yard drive which sailed just wide of the far post.

Best, who had come on as a 59th-minute replacement for Doyle, forced Fernandez into a solid block within two minutes - and Lawrence was devastated to see his follow-up deflected agonisingly wide.

A spate of substitutions sent the game into something of a lull as both sides attempted to re-adjust, but it took a vital close-range block from substitute Darren O'Dea to deny Pienaar an equaliser.

Best three times went close to a second goal inside the final 10 minutes as the Republic finished strongly.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Wednesday, 10 September 2014
03:00
Mexico 1-0 Bolivia  
02:00
Brazil 1-0 Ecuador  
01:00
Chile 1-0 Haiti  
00:30
Canada 3-1 Jamaica  
Tuesday, 09 September 2014
17:00
Kuwait 0-1 Bahrain  
13:00
Qatar 0-2 Peru  
12:35
China 1-1 Jordan  
11:20
Japan 2-2 Venezuela  
Monday, 08 September 2014
20:00
Saudi Arabia 2-3 Australia  
15:00
Uzbekistan 3-1 New Zealand  

Footer 365

Sky Bet Championship: Fulham thump Bolton, Huddersfield win at Wolves, Leeds held

Fulham thrashed Bolton 4-0 in the Championship, while Huddersfield won at Molineux to deny Wolves top spot.

Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet delighted Lee Cattermole stayed at club

Gus Poyet believes keeping Lee Cattermole was the best transfer decision he has made while at Sunderland.

Champions League: Liverpool out of sorts in 1-0 defeat at FC Basel

Liverpool paid the price for a disjointed performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League.

Mail Box

It Was Better When City Were Rubbish

'I think I preferred it when we were s**t' says one City fan in the afternoon mailbox. There's a decent chat about the empty seats plus views on Liverpool and Roma...

Do City Really Need To Expand Their Stadium?

That's the question posed by one Man United fan in the mailbox after seeing the empty seats at the Etihad last night. Sadly, there isn't a single mail from a City supporter...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property