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Slovakia 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Jan Durica and Shane Long
Shane Long battles with Jan Durica in the Euro 2012 qualifier in Zilina

The Republic of Ireland had to be content with a point in the Euro 2012 qualifier in Zilina as they lost a lead and Robbie Keane missed a penalty.

Sean St Ledger struck the Republic ahead on 16 minutes but Jan Durica levelled for Slovakia.

Robbie Keane squandered the penalty chance on the stroke of half-time as keeper Jan Mucha saved the weak shot.

Slovakia bossed possession in the second half but skipper Keane missed another glorious chance late on.

After Friday's home defeat by Russia, Reading striker Shane Long replaced injured Kevin Doyle in the Republic's attack while Liam Lawrence's failed late fitness test meant a start on the right midfield flank for Keith Fahey.

606: DEBATE
TheAnti-Kuyt

Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss made four changes from Friday's surprise loss in Armenia with Jan Durica replacing suspended Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel.

After a scrappy opening, the first chance fell to Slovakia's Juraj Kucka in the 13th minute but he pulled his shot well wide from a central position just outside the box.

Three minutes later, the Republic were ahead as St Ledger stabbed home from close range after Fahey's superb free-kick had caused consternation in the Slovakian penalty area.

The Republic's confidence was visibly lifted by the goal and Fahey was at the centre of most of the visitors' best work both from his set-piece delivery and open play.

The Birmingham midfielder tested keeper Mucha with a 20th-minute snapshot but the Republic then had an escape when Aiden McGeady's mistake allowed Radoslav Zabavnik to drill in a cross that Erik Jendrisek just failed to convert.

Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane shows his frustration after his first-half penalty miss

From a position where it was going swimmingly for the Republic, they suffered a huge jolt in the 36th minute when Durica powered home a close-range header after Marek Hamsik's corner had been flicked on at the near post.

To their credit, the Republic regrouped quickly and the excellent Long whipped a great ball into the box but Keane could not get enough of a touch on it to turn it in.

Keane was then presented with a glorious chance to put the Irish ahead again on the stroke of half-time after McGeady had been upended by the Slovakia keeper but Mucha atoned for his mistake by saving the spot-kick.

In truth, Keane's penalty was a perfect height for Mucha who made the save look comfortable.

The visitors were almost carved apart in the opening moments of the second half as first Weiss and then Hamsik ran through the middle before a vital block from St Ledger averted the danger.

As the Republic struggled for fluency, Tomas Hubocan tested Shay Given with a 25-yard shot on 69 minutes.

The Slovakians were dominating possession but the Republic wasted a great counter-attacking opportunity in the 77th minute as substitute Darron Gibson's lack of conviction allowed the home defence to clear the danger.

After substitute Oravec missed an 84th-minute chance for the home side, Keane's unhappy night was further emphasised as he blasted over a glorious late chance as the Republic were left to rue two more dropped points.


Slovakia: Mucha, Zabavnik, Salata, Durica, Hubocan, Kucka, Karhan, Hamsik, Weiss (Holosko 69), Jendrisek (Oravec 83), Sestak (Stoch 70).
Subs Not Used: Pernis, Pekarik, Pecalka, Sebo.

Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St. Ledger, Kilbane, Fahey (Keogh 71), Green (Gibson 41), Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Long.
Subs Not Used: Murphy, McShane, Wilson, Foley, Cunningham.

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)



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see also
Trapattoni praises Irish display
12 Oct 10 |  Football
Dunne laments Irish performance
08 Oct 10 |  Irish
Republic of Ireland 2-3 Russia
08 Oct 10 |  Irish


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