Thursday 19 October 2017

Republic of Ireland v Austria - story of the match

Jonathan Walters was on target to clinch Republic of Ireland a 1-1 draw with Austria
Jonathan Walters was on target to clinch Republic of Ireland a 1-1 draw with Austria

Jonathan Walters kept the Republic of Ireland's World Cup hopes on track as he denied Austria victory in a dramatic finish in Dublin.

Walters cancelled out Martin Hinteregger's first-half strike with five minutes remaining and Shane Duffy had what he thought was a winner ruled out seconds later.

The 1-1 draw means Ireland maintain their four-point lead over the Austrians in Group D, although they were perhaps fortunate to emerge with a point on a night when they were second best for long periods.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Well that bets sh#te!!big ask now?" - Former Republic of Ireland and Liverpool striker John Aldridge‏ (@Realaldo474) reacts to Austria's opening goal.

STAR MAN

Jonathan Walters. The Stoke striker had looked a lonely figure for most of the match, firing high and wide with his side's only chance of a disappointing first half. But his striker's finishing instincts paid off with a late goal which could prove invaluable for the Republic's qualifying hopes.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Walters proved the Republic's saviour with five minutes to go as he chased down a long ball and held off Aleksandar Dragovic before firing a perfectly-placed volley into the far corner to earn his side a share of the spoils.

LAST LINE OF DEFENCE

Red Bull Salzburg defender Stefan Lainer was in the right place at the far post to clear off the line when a header from Kevin Long looked set to earn the Republic a point with less than 10 minutes remaining. Minutes earlier Lainer had seen the ball hit him from a Republic cross with goalkeeper Heinz Lindner well placed to catch it.

VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Martin O'Neill went into the game with a fine home qualifying record and Walters' late strike ensured that was intact to keep alive hopes of qualification for the World Cup in Russia next year.

Austria boss Marcel Koller was under pressure before kick-off and without several players because of injury and suspension and for a long time it looked like his qualification hopes would be boosted by victory, until the late intervention of Walters.

DATA POINT

9 - Martin O'Neill's run of undefeated home qualifying matches as manager of the Republic continued with the 1-1 draw against Austria. The result took the manager's record to five wins and four draws.

PLAYER RATINGS

Republic of Ireland

Darren Randolph: 6 (out of 10)

Cyrus Christie: 6

Shane Duffy: 6

Kevin Long: 6

Stephen Ward: 5

Glenn Whelan: 6

Harry Arter: 6

Robbie Brady: 4

Jeff Hendrick: 5

James McClean: 7

Jonathan Walters: 8

Substitutes

Daryl Murphy (on for Ward, 55 minutes): 6

Wes Hoolahan (on for Arter, 71): 7

Aiden McGeady (on for Whelan, 77): 6

Who's up next?

Georgia v Republic of Ireland (World Cup qualifier, Saturday September 2)

Wales v Austria (World Cup qualifier, Saturday September 2)

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