Republic of Ireland claim a draw in Montenegro
10/09/'08: Montenegro 0 - 0 Republic of IrelandA high tempo game unfolded in Podgorica against the back-drop of humid conditions but Ireland couldn’t grab the goal their play deserved yet will be glad to be have accrued four points from their opening pair of World Cup qualifying matches.
18th Jun 2009
|World Cup Qualifer|
|Montenegro||0||-||0||Republic of Ireland|
|Wednesday, 10 September 2008|
Republic of Ireland claim a draw in Montenegro
|A high tempo game unfolded in Podgorica against the back-drop of humid conditions but Ireland couldn’t grab the goal their play deserved yet will be glad to be have accrued four points from their opening pair of World Cup qualifiers. |
Once the Irish withstood a frenetic opening by a Montenegro side clearly buoyed from Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Bulgaria, they looked the more likely of the teams to snatch the three points.
Although Shay Given was called into action during the early stages and again late on to produce a superb save from a deflected effort, it was Ireland who left the City of Podgorica stadium feeling unfortunate not to have recorded a perfect start to their qualifying quest.
Aiden McGeady was presented with the clearest opening of the game 13 minutes from the end when Robbie Keane released the winger in space on the right.
The Celtic winger could see the far side of Vakasin Poleksic’s goal but, after steadying himself, went with the more difficult option and drilled his low shot into the side-net of the near post.
Ireland, too, were denied what appeared a stone-wall penalty in first-half stoppage time after Radoslav Batak seemed to control a cross by Hunt with his arm. The sheepish look on the defender’s face when he saw referee Sten Kaldma wave Hunt’s appeals away said it all.
Trapattoni’s Ireland knew they were in for a sterner test than Saturday’s tie against Georgia soon after the action got underway.
Backed by the vocal home support, Montenegro strode forward in waves with 18-year old Stevan Jovetic the stand-out player as the link-man between midfield and attack.
Mirko Vucinic tested Shay Given with a shot after three minutes and, from the resulting corner, Milan Jovanovic was left stray into the box unmarked to glance his header a yard wide.
Steven Reid and Glenn Whelan gradually took a stranglehold in central midfield for Ireland and the passing was crisp and incisive for the remainder of the half as the visitors sought to penetrate.
They were almost offered that breakthrough on the stroke of the half-time whistle through the penalty claim but their industry was rewarded with a better return after the break.
Robbie Keane was short of service in the opening 45 minutes but snuffed out a chance with real aplomb eleven minutes after the turnaround.
A deep cross by Steve Finnan found it’s way to Keane who, with his back to goal, instantly swivelled to poke a left-footed shot on goal which the alert Poleksic batted away.
Ireland continued to attack and Whelan flashed a snap-shot from the edge of the box wide on 63 minutes as an opener looked on the cards.
Given was then called into action on two occasions four minutes apart. Vucinic could have spoiled Kevin Kilbane’s 90th cap when he outmuscled the Wigan full-back on the right side after 72 minutes and Given was forced to turn the striker’s stinging shot around the near post.
The Newcastle United stopper Shay Given came to the rescue again for Ireland moments later. The wistful Jovetic was given space to exploit in the central area and when his shot clipped off O’Shea, Given displayed his reflexes to switch direction and dive across goal to claw the ball away.
McGeady might have clinched the victory for Ireland a couple of minutes later had his finishing been better but, at the final whistle, the squad gave all the indications that the exercise proved a success.
With three home fixtures coming up in the qualifying series, starting against Cyprus on Wednesday October 21, Trapattoni and his players can accelerate the momentum they started in the past week.
|REP OF IRELAND: Shay Given (Newcastle United); Steve Finnan (Espanyol), John O’Shea (Manchester United), Richard Dunne (Manchester City), Kevin Kilbane (Wigan Athletic); Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Steven Reid (Blackburn Rovers), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Stephen Hunt (Reading); Robbie Keane (Liverpool), Kevin Doyle (Reading).||MONTENEGRO: Vakasin Rodomir Poleksic, Savo Pavicevic, Radoslav Batak, Jovan Tanasijevic, Milan Jovanovic, Nikola Drincic, Milorad Pekovic, Elsad Zverotic, Stevan Jovetic, Vladamir Bozovic (Simon Vukcevic 54), Mirko Vucinic.|
REFEREE: Sten Kaldma (Estonia)