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Page last updated at 21:38 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 22:38 UK

N Ireland 0-0 Czech Republic

Chris Baird challenges Czech striker Milan Baros in Belfast
Chris Baird challenges Czech striker Milan Baros in Belfast

Northern Ireland claimed their first point in the World Cup qualifiers after a stalemate with the group favourites at a wet and windy Windsor Park.

The Czechs had the best two chances in the first half but Radoslav Kovac and Milan Baros sent their headers wide.

The hosts went close on 51 minutes when Petr Cech kept out Warren Feeney's shot and Chris Brunt fired the rebound over.

Keith Gillespie was denied by another Cech save while David Healy blazed wide in the final minute.

Northern Ireland midfielder Steve Davis pulled out of the game late on Tuesday due to family reasons - Chris Baird was promoted from the bench to replace the Rangers player.

The Czechs enjoyed the wind advantage in the first half and the conditions played a part as the visitors threatened twice in the opening 10 minutes.

Maik Taylor tipped over Marek Jankulovski's wind assisted free-kick before Radek Sirl's inswinging corner was headed just wide from eight yards by Radoslav Kovac.

The visitors enjoyed early dominance but Northern Ireland forced their way into the game.

Chelsea stopper Cech reacted quickly to push David Rozehnal's wayward header round the post but the Czechs broke quickly from the resulting corner, only for Libor Sionko to hit a weak shot which was easily saved by Taylor.

606: DEBATE

Gillespie saw his low volley blocked by Rozehnal while Baros squandered an excellent chance on the stroke of half-time when the striker failed to get his near-post header on target from Zdenek Grygera's pinpoint cross.

Sammy Clingan was unable to recover from a should injury picked up in a first-half challenge and he was replaced during the break by Crewe's Michael O'Connor.

Northern Ireland pressed early in the second half with the wind at their back and they created an excellent opening on 51 minutes.

Feeney went clear on goal but his low shot was blocked by Cech's foot and Brunt smashed the rebound over the bar from 18 yards.

Brunt attempted an audacious lob over Cech from just over the halfway line but the ball drifted high and wide.

Tomas Ujfalusi was booked for a poor challenge on David Healy before Gillespie's fierce drive was kept out by Cech.

Martin Paterson came on for Feeney after 72 minutes before Gillespie hobbled off 10 minutes later with an ankle injury to be replaced by Dean Shiels.

Healy struck a 90th minute shot off-target as the sides settled for a point each and a deserved draw.


Northern Ireland: Taylor, McCartney, Evans, Hughes, Craigan, Gillespie (Shiels 84), Clingan (O'Connor 45), Baird, Brunt, Healy, Feeney (Paterson 72).
Subs Not Used: Mannus, McAuley, McGivern, Thompson.

Czech Republic: Cech, Grygera, Jankulovski, Rozehnal, Ujfalusi, Kovac, Plasil, Polak, Sionko (Pospech 67), Sirl, Baros (Slepicka 78).
Subs Not Used: Drobny, Kadlec, Jarolim, Rajnoch, Fenin.

Booked: Ujfalusi, Kovac.

Att: 14,000

Ref: Ivan Bebek (Croatia).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans 7.33 (on 90 minutes).

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




FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Irish Examiner Worthington hails battling display from North - 37 hrs ago
Daily Express Northern Ireland held - 39 hrs ago
Yorkshire Post Northern Ireland held Nigel Worthington saw his Northern Ireland side pick up their first point of their World Cup qualifying campaign with a gritty goalless draw against the Czech Republic. - 41 hrs ago
Market Rasen Mail Northern Ireland held - 41 hrs ago
Pendle Today Northern Ireland held Nigel Worthington saw his Northern Ireland side pick up their first point of their World Cup qualifying campaign with a gritty goalless draw against the Czech Republic. - 41 hrs ago


see also
Worthington happy with NI display
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
N Ireland Player Rater
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Worthington rues NI indiscipline
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Slovakia 2-1 N Ireland
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Pick your N Ireland XI
06 Jun 07 |  Internationals


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