World Football - Ireland beat Scotland to win Nations Cup

Mon, 30 May 22:13:00 2011

Robbie Keane struck the only goal as the Republic of Ireland beat Scotland 1-0 to win the Carling Nations Cup at the Aviva Stadium with a 100 per cent record.

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The two sides went into the game tied on six points after respective victories against Wales and Northern Ireland, but with the Republic of Ireland only needing a draw courtesy of having a better goal difference.

But Keane's 23rd minute strike, his 49th goal in Republic of Ireland colours, ensured Giovanni Trapattoni’s side lifted the inaugural trophy ahead of their crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia on June 4.

Scotland started brightly and Blackpool playmaker Charlie Adam’s strike, which left Republic goalkeeper Shay Given scrambling across goal, went just over the crossbar.

And the visitors soon went close again, with Given producing a fine fingertip save to push Phil Bardsley’s swerving 35-yard effort onto the bar and over.

The hosts found their feet, however, and took the lead when Keane was given the freedom of the Aviva Stadium to charge forward and plant a fierce strike past Allan McGregor to equal Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record for Ireland’s rivals England.

Given was called upon twice more before the break, first getting down well to save Adam’s curling free-kick before saving Steven Naismith’s half-volley.

The Republic of Ireland nearly extended their lead five minutes after half-time when Stephen Hunt found Simon Cox but the West Bromwich Albion forward dragged his shot across the face of goal.

Scotland captain Kenny Miller was left fuming after being denied a penalty having been pulled back by Hunt, chasing after the referee and duly receiving a yellow card for his troubles.

That sparked a late Scotland revival and Given was on hand again to keep out Miller’s flick from Barry Bannan’s cross.

And Miller should have earned Craig Levein’s side a deserved point with just two minutes remaining but the Bursaspor striker missed the target with just Given to beat.

George Scott / Eurosport

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