"A fourth goal, and Estonia can cancel the flight to Dublin and not turn up next week." I'm not sure if this is actually allowed by UEFA, Mr. Commentator, but it would likely save Estonia plenty of kroons and an utterly pointless match. With Robbie Keane's penalty conversion in the 89th minute, Ireland cemented a 4-0 away win, and are off home to start booking flights to Poland and hotel rooms in Ukraine.
The Boys in Green started the match off right, with Keith Andrews scoring in the 13th minute. Estonia failed to adequately close down Aidan McGeady, allowing the winger to chip the ball over the head of the defenders to where Andrews was lurking at the far post.
Estonia came alive then, swarming Shay Given's goal, with Ireland content to simply sit back and defend. But the beginning of the end came in the 39th minute, when Andrei Stepanov, already on a yellow card, committed a nasty challenge on Keane. The referee pulled yellow, then red, and the defender was sent off.
Surprisingly -- or perhaps not so surprisingly for regular watchers of Ireland -- when play resumed after halftime, it was difficult to tell which side had the man advantage. Estonia kept plenty of possession, and Given was forced into at least one decent save. But then things really started to melt down for the Sinisärgid.
It was just a little slip-up, really, by goalkeeper Enar Jaager, when blocking a shot -- but his spill landed straight at the feet of Keane. In a move nearly identical to that of McGeady in the first half, the forward chipped the ball across the goal, where Jonathan Walters headed it down and in. Just three minutes later, Keane himself added a third goal for Ireland.
As if that weren't bad enough, defender Raio Piiroja stuck out his hand to stop the ball, and with that action immediately spotted by the referee, was also sent off with a second yellow. Fortunately, with the score at 3-0, Estonia really didn't need any defenders.
But in the 89th minute it was all over, with the aforementioned Keane penalty conversion. Even with Giovanni Trappatoni's predilection for spectacular screw-ups, it seems there's no way Ireland aren't on their way to Euro 2012.
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