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Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 19:59 UK

Montenegro 0-0 Rep of Ireland

Glenn Whelan (left) and Elsad Zverotic
Glenn Whelan (left) and Elsad Zverotic battle for possession

The Republic of Ireland remain unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying group after deservedly drawing in Montenegro.

Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic team had a strong penalty claim turned down in the first half after Radoslav Batak appeared to handle.

Mirko Vucinic and Milan Jovanovic had Montenegro chances with Robbie Keane going close for the Republic and Aiden McGeady missing a great opportunity.

Shay Given made superb late saves to deny Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic.

Republic centre-backs John O'Shea and Richard Dunne both produced fine games in Podgorica while Glenn Whelan again shone in midfield.

After starting well, pre-match injury doubt Steven Reid tired as the game went on but Giovanni Trapattoni opted not to make any substitutions.


The home side made the better start with Montenegro captain Vucinic testing Shay Given with an angled shot which the Republic keeper pushed out for a corner.

Milan Jovanovic got free of Whelan from the corner but the defender's header was well wide.

The Republic then had a sniff of a chance in a counterattack in the fifth minute but Stephen Hunt failed to find the charging Kevin Doyle.

Montenegro continued to have the better of possession during the remainder of the opening quarter without putting the Republic defence under major pressure.

Radoslav Batak (left) and Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane appeals that Radoslav Batak has handled

At the other end of the pitch, McGeady won a free-kick in a threatening position in the 26th minute but the winger's own delivery was far too near goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic.

Kevin Kilbane, again wearing a protective mask, put his own defence under real pressure two minutes before the break by being dispossessed but O'Shea averted the danger by producing a superb block to deny Steven Jovetic.

At the other end, the Republic appeared to be denied a stonewall penalty a minute before the break when Batak clearly handled after he had failed to deal with a Hunt cross.

After McGeady and Hunt had wasted a couple of free-kicks in threatening positions, the Republic went close to taking the lead on 55 minutes when Keane's hooked snapshot was beaten away by Poleksic.

Uncertainly between Dunne and Reid led to the concession of a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 60th minute but Mirko Vucinic blazed over.

A poor Batak clearance gave Kevin Doyle a sniff of a chance on 69 minutes but the Reading striker pulled his shot across goal and his club-mate Hunt was unable to get a good connection on the follow-up.

The Irish had a scare after Vucinic outfoxed Kilbane in the Irish penalty area in the 73rd minute but Given produced a smart save at his near post.

McGeady squandered the Republic's best chance of the match on 76 minutes when he blasted his angled effort into the sidenetting when a shot across the goalkeeper surely represented the better option.

With the game opening up, Jovetic's deflected effort looked set to beat Given on 78 minutes but the Irish goalkeeper reacted brilliantly to tip the ball away for a corner.

Montenegro produced some late pressure but the Republic held on for a deserved point.

Montenegro: Poleksic, Pavicevic, Batak, Tanasijevic, Jovanovic, Drincic, Pekovic, Zverotic, Jovetic, Vladimir Bozovic (Vukcevic 54), Vucinic.
Subs Not Used: Mladen Bozovic, Pejovic, Burzanovic, Jeknic, Novakovic, Djalovic.

Booked: Pekovic.

Rep of Ireland: Given, Finnan, O'Shea, Dunne, Kilbane, McGeady, Whelan, Steven Reid, Hunt, Doyle, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Andy Reid, Miller, McShane, Delaney, Keogh, Murphy.

Att: 12,000

Ref: Sten Kaldma (Estonia).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: The Republic of Ireland's Kevin Doyle 7.27

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
World Cup qualifying as it happened
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Republic draw delights Trapattoni
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Rep Ireland Player Rater
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Georgia 1-2 Republic of Ireland
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals

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