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Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:51 UK

Rep of Ireland 2-2 Italy

By Alvin McCaig

Giorgio Chiellini of Italy moves in as Republic of Ireland captain gets to the ball at Croke Park
Giorgio Chiellini of Italy moves in as Republic of Ireland captain gets to the ball at Croke Park

The Republic sealed a World Cup play-off spot while Italy confirmed their place in South Africa as group winners after a dramatic draw in Dublin.

Stoke City's Glenn Whelan gave the hosts the perfect start with a superb 20-yard strike after eight minutes.

The Italians levelled on 23 minutes through Mauro Camoranesi's header.

Sean St Ledger headed in after 87 minutes to put the Republic back in front but Alberto Gilardino fired home the equaliser in the final minute.

The Republic's bright start was rewarded with Whelan's excellent strike from a perfectly executed free-kick.

Liam Lawrence slipped the ball into the path of his Stoke City team-mate and the unmarked Whelan curled the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.

The hosts pressed for a quick second goal and Aiden McGeady worked himself into a dangerous position, only to loft his cross high and wide.

606: DEBATE
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The Italians began to take control midway through the half with Fabio Grosso a major threat on the left.

Pirlo set up the equaliser with an inswinging corner and Shay Given failed to keep out Camoranesi's powerful near-post header.

Whelan picked up a booking for a foul on Angelo Palombo to leave him suspended for Wednesday's final qualifier against Montenegro.

Nicola Legrottaglie netted for the Italians at the start of the second half but it was ruled offside.

Both sides created half-chances as the game began to open up and Keith Andrews blazed over after Lawrence's free-kick hit the wall.

Republic boss Giovanni Trappatoni made a change in attack with Leon Best coming on for Kevin Doyle

Gianluca Zambrotta fired in a low shot which the alert Given pushed round the post.

St Ledger restored the Republic's lead with a diving header at the far-post from Stephen Hunt's pinpoint free-kick.

But the Italians were not finished and substitute Gilardino slipped the ball past Given from 12 yards with just seconds left.


Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St. Ledger, Kilbane, Lawrence, Andrews, Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Doyle.

Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Chiellini, Legrottaglie, Grosso, Camoranesi, Palombo, Pirlo, De Rossi, Iaquinta, Di Natale.

Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway)



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see also
Inexperience cost us - Trapattoni
10 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Lippi chasing victory in Dublin
06 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Angry Cannavaro cleared of doping
12 Oct 09 |  Europe
Jury still out on Trap
08 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Given aims for return to finals
08 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni extends Republic stay
25 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni focusing on Italy game
06 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni hails 'important' win
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Cyprus 1-2 Republic of Ireland
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals


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