Tuesday 24 April 2018

FINAL SCORE: Russia 0 Ireland 0

MAN OF THE MATCH: Shay Given. Photo: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH: Shay Given. Photo: Getty Images
A free cleared by heroic Richard Dunne
Shay Given pulls off save after save for Ireland
Despite injuries, suspensions and widespread criticism over his tactics, Giovanni Trapattoni insisted right up to kick off that Ireland could secure a result against Russia.

Man of the match: Shay Given shades it over Richard Dunne.

93: Cox wrestles keeper to the ground and Russia win a free ... but it’s all over. Miraculous and heroic. Outclassed, but a great result. It’s not over yet ...

91: Another heart-stopper but Hunt clears for Ireland.

89: Ireland try to clear across their own box. Another corner is cleared and Ireland wins a free out. Three additional minutes!

86: Russian keeper panics and McGeady starts promising attack. But it comes to nought and then a amazing save from Given at the other end … from a diving header. End to end.

84: Another brave block from Dunne and Ireland breath again. Then a header goes so close and brushes the wrong side of the net and Russia wonder if they’ll ever score.

83: Now Russia pouring forward and sensing blood and Ireland fail to bundle clear. And they come again …

80: Free kick from Hunt spilled by keeper by no real danger. But clearance leads to glorious chance for Russia which is whipped over the bar. Phew!

77: Hunt booked for tackle on Arshavin, but free cleared by heroic Dunne.

75: Dunne sent off - but only to change his unnumbered shirt. Number has to hand written on to the shirt!

74: Massed Irish defence as Russia regroup but no immediate danger.

72: Dunne hurt in heavy challenge on touchline. He ends up on the running track. Receives a yellow card while being treated.

70: Russian have dropped the pace a bit. And Ireland, while still passing erratically, are having more time on the ball.

67: A Keane header goes harmlessly over, but this is marginally better stuff.

66: Stephen Hunt comes on for Damian Duff.

65: Another corner for Russia. Then another.

62: Cox blasts over the bar but at least he’s up for it.

61: A rare Irish attack is wasted with poor final ball, but Cox looks lively.

60: Kelly clears for a corner after another dazzling attack. Another escape, but for how much longer? Russians steaming through midfield.

55: Simon Cox enters the fray in place of an unhappy looking Kevin Doyle.

54: Dunne is dispossessed in driving run, but he won back the ball. With Given, our best player. Then breaking Russians waste another fine chance.

52: Pavlyuchenko comes on as Russian sub.

51: Andrews gives away a sloppy free kick. A poor effort is easily cleared but McGeady plunder puts us back under pressure. Another corner. But goes wide.

49th: A temporary lull gives Ireland and its small travelling band of fans a little breather.

48th: Despairing tackle from Dunne saves certain goal. Here we go again so...

46th MINUTE: No changes to team but concerns about the fitness of both Keane and Doyle. Bad tackle and Russian right full is booked. But Irish free wasted.

SECOND HALF LIVE ... RUSSIA V IRELAND

HALF TIME: Russia 0 Ireland 0

45th: Relief ... half time

44th: But then another corner … 7 corners to 1 … and this one taken off the Irish line.

42nd: A bit of relief as Ireland take the game to the Russians. Maybe a sign of the things to come in the second half?

39th: Another corner and a lame shut for a penalty. Then another penalty and another great save and driving volley over the bar. Half time can’t come soon enough.

37th: Russian fans doing Mexican wave as Irish enjoy their best patch. Final ball never on though.

34th: James McCarthy is on the bench and he might be needed soon.

32nd Dazzling Russian attack and it’s scrambled off the line by Duff. This time Given gathers the corner. If Ireland can’t get a grip on midfield a goal is certain.

30th: Then another corner after the Russian full back pulls a cross into the box. Thankfully cleared.

29th: Another series of attacks, but without real penetration this time.

27th: A series of scramble clearance about the Irish areas as home team grows in confidence.

On the 24th minute Dunne gives away a free in a dangerous area.

A third corner on the 23rd minute after Given fluffs it but he safely gathers the resultant corner.

On the 20th minute Given pulled off another great save from a 16 yard volley.

Ireland put a pattern of passed together on the 19th minute but it came to nought and the final ball ran harmlessly wide.

Most of Russia’s good work was coming down Stephen Ward’s side. He was having a busy afternoon.

In the 16th minute, Russia streamed through the Irish midfield again and Ireland’s position began to looked ominous. Not a good start from Ireland who looked rattled in front of the 40,000 crowd.

In the 12th minute another probing attack lead to a second corner and the resultant ball whizzed across an open goal.

By the 10th minute Russia were finding space around the Irish penalty area and Arshavin was looking increasing dangerous.

From the resultant corner, Keane cleared.

Then on 7 minutes made a superb save from Arshavin.

But the early exchanges saw both sides probing each other for weaknesses.

After 4 minutes a decent attack by the Irish ended when an over hit pass ran away from attacking full back Stephen Kelly.

IRELAND started confidently. Playing in their away strip of white shirts and green shorts, they quickly got to grips with the plastic surface. Early Russian probing was easily contained by the Irish defence.

A defiant Ireland kicked off against Russia in Moscow at 4pm (Irish time) in a game they hoped to win but knew they couldn’t afford to lose if qualification for Euro 2012 was to remain a realistic aim.

Despite injuries, suspensions and widespread criticism over his tactics, Giovanni Trapattoni insisted right up to kick off that Ireland could secure a result against Russia.



Making just two enforced changes to his team, with Stephen Kelly in for the injured John O'Shea and Darren O'Dea replacing the suspended Sean St Ledger, Trapattoni declared: "We can win the game. No team is unbeatable."



With defeat in Moscow likely to have grave consequences for the Italian, outlandish speculation in the English media floating Roy Keane as a possible successor has hardly helped the mood.



That prospect has been laughed off by numerous sources, but the Corkman - who has been out of work since his departure from Ipswich - was also linked yesterday with a return to football as manager of Iceland.



Despite Russia's daunting home record, Trapattoni's optimism was echoed by captain Robbie Keane.



"Don't think for one second that we're coming here to lie down, or thinking that Russia are going to roll us over," said the Dubliner. "Believe you me, the players know we're coming here to get a result."



Victory here would put Ireland back on top of Group B, but Trapattoni's men face a mammoth task missing two of the preferred back four and Keane and Shay Given playing through the pain barrier. see pages 65-67

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