Anelka’s deflected strike hurts Irish

“Nicolas Anelka fired France a step closer to next summer’s World Cup finals as the Republic of Ireland’s brave resistance finally wilted. Anelka’s 72nd-minute strike, which was deflected past Shay Given by the unwitting Sean St Ledger, was enough to condemn Giovanni Trapattoni’s side to their first defeat of the qualifying campaign and send the French into Wednesday night’s return with a lead and a precious away goal.” (ESPN)

Pluck of the Irish is deflated by Anelka
“What a pity. This was arguably Ireland’s best performance under Giovanni Trapattoni but it earned them absolutely nothing bar an incredibly steep hill to climb in Paris on Wednesday. Nicolas Anelka’s deflected goal on 72 minutes was the difference between the teams on the night and the result means that Ireland have to score once at the Stade de France to stay in the tie, or twice if they want to win it without recourse to a penalty shoot-out. Which is a shame because Ireland’s efforts last night were worthy of a 0-0 draw, or with some better finishing – particularly from Liam Lawrence in the first half – a single goal advantage.” (Independent)

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