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14.10.2009 at 15:00 Croke Park Attendance: 36442
Republic of Ireland 0 - 0 Montenegro
Referee: World Cup Qualifier-match

Goalscorers
None. None
Opening squads
Shay Given
Sean St Ledger
Richard Dunne
Paul Mc Shane
Liam Miller
Martin Rowlands
Steve Hunt
Kevin Kilbane
Damien Duff
Noel Hunt
Robbie Keane
Marko Basa
Milan Jovanovic
Elsad Zverotic
Milorad Pekovic
Mitar Novakovic
Branko Boskovic
Vukasin Rodomir Poleksic
Nikola Drincic
Simon Vukcevic
Andrija Delibasic
Radoslav Batak
Substitutes
Keiren Westwood
John O'Shea
Stephen Kelly
Liam Lawrence
Leon Best
Kevin Doyle
Andrew Keogh
Mladen Bozovic
Miodrag Dzudovic
Nikola Vukcevic
Mladen Kascelan
Ivan Delic
Dejan Damjanovic
Vladimir Gluscevic
Substitutions
John O'Shea -> Martin Rowlands (40)
Leon Best -> Noel Hunt (68)
Andrew Keogh -> Steve Hunt (88)
Miodrag Dzudovic for Radoslav Batak 31 mins;
Dejan Damjanovic for Andrija Delibasic 68 mins;
Mladen Kascelan for Branko Boskovic 31 mins;
Yellow cards
Martin Rowlands (35)
Milorad Pekovic 47 mins;
Milan Jovanovic 83 mins;
Red cards
None. None
Match report | Preview
Statto Both Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane win their 100th cap
Hunt Brothers Norl and Stephen start together.


Republic of Ireland 0 Montenegro 0
Republic of Ireland ensured they remained unbeaten throughout their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 0-0 draw with Montenegro.

The Irish had already secured their play-off spot in second place after Saturday's draw with Group 8 winners Italy and had little to play for at Croke Park.

The lack of incentive made for a dire display from both sides, with both goalkeepers restricted to little action in either half as shots on target were scarce.

Ireland shot-stopper Shay Given skippered the side in his 100th appearance for his country along with full-back Kevin Kilbane in what was the only highlight of a drab affair.

Montenegro should have had a penalty on 66 minutes as Simon Vukcevic dribbled through the Irish penalty area and saw his goal-bound effort strike the hand of Paul McShane.

The referee failed to spot the clear handball and Giovanni Trapattoni's men survived to keep their unbeaten record intact ahead of Monday's play-off draw.

Given managed to play out the 90 minutes without picking up a booking, which would have ruled him out of the first leg of the play-offs, but Trapattoni saw midfielder Martin Rowlands carried off with what looked like a bad knee injury.
No risks

Trapattoni had insisted in the run-up to the game that he would take no risks, other than on Given, with those players walking a disciplinary tightrope - and he was as good as his word as Aiden McGeady and Keith Andrews did not even make the bench.

Having seen his side book their place in the play-offs courtesy of Saturday's 2-2 draw with Italy, the Republic boss made no fewer than six changes - handing the likes of McShane, Rowlands, Liam Miller and Noel Hunt another chance to impress in a competitive game.

Rowlands, however, was back in the dressing room within 39 minutes - arriving in agony on a stretcher after catching his studs in the turf and twisting his knee.

There was little other than pride resting on tonight's result, and for long periods the contest had the air of a friendly about it.

But if the home side ever thought Montenegro, who claimed their first competitive victory at the weekend when they beat Georgia, would lie down and accept their fate they were to be sadly disappointed.

Trapattoni's men went close with 27 minutes gone when Stephen Hunt picked out Damien Duff in acres of space wide on the right.

The Fulham midfielder raced into the box - but with Robbie Keane and Noel Hunt begging for a pass, he shot harmlessly into the side-netting.

The Irish were almost made to pay for the miss within seconds when Nikola Drincic's swerving long-range effort flicked off Sean St Ledger's head and briefly threatened to wrong-foot Given.

But the Ireland goalkeeper heaved a huge sigh of relief as Montenegro missed their chance, with unmarked captain Boskovic heading wastefully wide from full-back Milan Jovanovic's cross.

After a promising start, Ireland had lost their way - and it was not until the final few minutes of the half that they flexed their muscles once again.

Unfortunate

Dunne was unfortunate to see his towering header from Stephen Hunt's 42nd minute free-kick come back off the underside of the bar, and Keane fired over on the turn as the Republic put the squeeze on.

Trapattoni's men returned in determined mood but continued to find Montenegro difficult to break down - and with Milorad Pekovic looking to hit lone striker Andrija Delibasic and attacking midfielder Vukcevic with a series of long balls, they had to remain alert at the back.

Drincic made sure Given remained on his toes with another long-range effort which sped just past the goalkeeper's right post with 58 minutes gone, but opposite number Vukasin Poleksic had to get down well to keep out Keane's snap shot on the hour.

However, it was then that the home side enjoyed their major stroke of good fortune.

Full-back Elsad Zverotic's pass found Vukcevic in space inside the box, and he elegantly evaded lunging challenges from St Ledger and Dunne before shooting towards goal.

But apparently unseen by the referee, his effort cannoned back of McShane's arm and went unrewarded. If anything, the visitors enjoyed the better of the game as time ran down.

But neither side really threatened to snatch all three points in a tame conclusion which was in stark contrast to the 2-2 draw the home fans at Croke Park witnessed on Saturday.
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