THE pity for Ireland was that Armenia had done Giovanni Trapattoni a huge favour earlier yesterday in Yerevan by claiming their first Euro 2012 Group B win over our group rivals Slovakia.
Yura Movsisyan gave the home side the lead after 23 minutes, but Slovakia equalised through Vladimir Weissbefore half-time.
However, Armenia were not to be denied and Gevorg Ghazaryan put them back in front just five minutesafter the break before Henrik Mkhitaryan made certain of the win a minute from the end.
Armenia dominated throughout and took the lead when Mkhitaryan’s ball from the right found Movsisyan in the area and he fired into the bottomcorner from 12 yards.
Armenia were not content to sit back on their lead and Mkhitaryan’s 25-yard free-kick was tipped over the bar by Slovakia goalkeeper Jan Mucha.
Weiss, currently on loan at Rangers from Manchester City, had tried his luck from distance before having more luck from 12 yards in the 37th minute to get Slovakia back on level terms.
But parity lasted only five minutes after the interval as Ghazaryan had the simple task of turning Edgar Manucharyan’s cross into the net from close range.
Slovakia went in search of a second equaliser but Kornel Salata could only head Marek Hamsik’s free-kick straight at goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky.
And Mkhitaryan put the result beyond any doubt with Armenia’s third in the closing minutes to give them four points from three games.
“The loss is my fault,” Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss said. “The result is to Ireland’s and Russia’s favour.”
Sadly, however, Ireland were unable to take advantage.
- Macedonia picked up their first Group B win, defeating Andorra 2-0 thanks to goals from Ilco Naumoski and Vance Sikov.
ARMENIA: Berezovsky, Mkrtchyan, Hovsepyan, Arzumanyan (Arakelyan 79), Pizzelli (Edigaryan 72), Gazaryan, Movsisyan, Mkoyan, Pachajyan (Manucharyan 46), Edigaryan, Mkhitaryan.
SLOVAKIA: Mucha, Pekarik, Skrtel, Zabavnik (Sebo 81), Karhan, Weiss, Sestak, Stoch (Holosko 57), Kopunek (Kucka 57), Salata, Hamsik.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
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