Kazakhstan go one up against Ireland

Kazakhstan are one up in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

Kazakhstan go one up against Ireland

Kazakhstan are one up in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

Kairat Nurdauletov scored in the 38th minute.

Latest score: Kazakhstan 1 Ireland 0

James McCarthy made his first competitive start for Ireland this evening as Giovanni Trapattoni’s men looked to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start in Kazakhstan.

Trapattoni, who named his starting XI yesterday, opted for the brute force of Jon Walters up front while Sunderland winger James McClean had to settle for a place on the bench.

Kazakhstan, who are 116 places below the Republic in the rankings, included were led by Ordabasy midfielder Kairat Nurdauletov.

Today's match against the minnows was the perfect chance to consign Ireland's dreadful performance at Euro 2012, where they lost all three matches and scored just one goal, to history.

The team had travelled 3,000 miles and crossed five different time zones to make it to the former Soviet republic, but luckily for Trapattoni and his men, there was no intimidating atmosphere inside the half-full 30,000-capacity Astana Arena.

McCarthy almost got Ireland off to the perfect start when he curled a low shot towards goal but Andrey Sidelnikov tipped the midfielder’s shot wide with an athletic save.

John O’Shea’s header from the resulting corner would have gone in had it not been for a deflection as the Republic dominated proceedings early on after adapting well to the Astroturf pitch inside the arena.

The Kazakhs then started to settle into their rhythm and threatened through Tanat Nusserbayev, the FC Astana forward who once claimed he was as fast as Theo Walcott.

Nusserbayev was in the thick of the action moments later when he drove at the Ireland defence, but his threaded pass to Alexandr Kirov went to waste after the full-back mistimed his run.

Panic spread across the Republic defence when a cross trickled through to the back post where Ulan Konysbayev was lurking but Keiren Westwood moved sharply off his line to snatch the ball from the midfielder’s feet.

A neat interchange from Walters and Simon Cox gave the Nottingham Forest man an opportunity at the other end but he hit the side-netting.

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