Russia ….............. 0
Rep of Ireland ….... 0
Richard Dunne was the Lionheart as Ireland held on for a precious Euro 2012 point in Moscow on Tuesday night.
The Aston Villa defender ended up with blood on his shirt and stitches in his cheek after a man of the match performance.
Dunne, goalkeeper Shay Given and winger Aiden McGeady were the heroes as Ireland somehow kept a clean sheet for a seventh consecutive game.
Russia, 3-2 winners in Dublin last October, threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Ireland in a game they dominated from start to finish.
They had over 20 efforts on goal over the 90 minutes, Ireland had just four. Yet still the visitors held out for Ireland’s first ever point from all their years visiting Moscow.
They did so thanks to a brilliant goal-line clearance from Dunne when he somehow denied Semshov in the first-half.
Given was just as effective for Giovanni Trapattoni’s team. He served notice of his intentions with an excellent stop from Arsenal’s Arshavin early on.
And right at the death, with just two minutes remaining, Given somehow denied Zyrnakov’s header with a brilliant goal-line clearance.
Ireland, run ragged by the Russians on the plastic pitch, never came close to a clear-cut chance but ultimately it didn’t matter as they held out for a draw.
Trapattoni’s team must now beat Andorra, away, and Armenia, at home, in their final two Group B qualifiers and hope that is enough to earn them at least a play-off place in November.
After this backs-to-the-wall performance, they probably deserve that much at least.