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Gorman full of respect for Keane

Kazakhstan defender Mark Gorman is relishing his showdown with Ireland skipper Robbie Keane.

The 24-year-old defender could face the task of trying to keep the LA Galaxy striker at bay as his side attempts to end its World Cup qualifying campaign on a high in Dublin.

Keane, 33, has 60 senior international goals to his name and having missed on Ireland's 3-0 defeat in Germany on Friday evening, will be raring to go if he forces his way back into interim coach Noel King's starting line-up for the game at the Aviva Stadium.

Gorman said: "I will treat him with absolute respect, but at the same time, I do know how much pressure it puts on me to defend and protect my team.

"But I do hope that I will be able to play accordingly to a high level and up to his talent. As a team, we will try our best."

The Kazakhs arrived in Dublin on the back of a 1-1 draw with Group C minnows the Faroe Islands in Torshavn, a result which did not go down well with sections of the fanbase.

However, Kazakhstan coach Miroslav Beranek is confident there is more to come from his players.

He said: "I was not disappointed with the result. I know that the team can play better, and that's the goal we will be trying to achieve tomorrow."

The two sides met in the opening round of fixtures in Astana in September last year on a night when Ireland's campaign very nearly got off to the worst possible start.

They trailed 1-0 to Kairat Nurdauletov's first-half strike with just two minutes of normal time remaining when Keane drew them level for the penalty spot to set the stage for Kevin Doyle to win it at the death.

However, Beranek is adamant that revenge will not be on his mind in Dublin.

He said: "I wouldn't say that in this match, we are talking about revenge, but of course we would like to get the most points we can in order to finish as well as possible.

"This game is going to be about the national pride of the team. Of course we will be trying our best in order to achieve the best possible result for the team because we are very proud that we are taking part in this game.

"We will be doing everything possible to defend ourselves."

Ireland created chances in Germany on Friday and on another night, could have scored two or three goals.

However, King has indicated they will not take a gung-ho approach in their mission to round off the qualifying campaign with a victory.

But Kazakhstan midfielder Andrei Karpovic is expecting a traditionally robust approach from the Irish.

He said: "We completely and totally respect our opponents. However, we do hope that we will be able to achieve the best possible result for our team.

"We are determined to show that we are a high-quality team and bring some joy to our supporters.

"We are aware of the difficulties we are going to face playing against the Irish team because they are known as a strong, very defensive and very aggressive, in the positive meaning, when playing football."


From Belfast Telegraph