Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for back-to-back major tournaments and their first World Cup since 2002 suffered a massive blow at a freezing Lansdowne Road on Tuesday evening as they conceded a late goal to draw 2-2 with Group C rivals Austria. It was billed as a must win game for the home side after picking up a valuable point in Stockholm on Friday evening but late pressure told and Trapattoni’s side will now have their work cut out to finish in second place behind runaway leaders Germany.
The visitors, coming off the back of Friday’s 6-0 hammering of Faroe Islands, started the game brightly and took an 11th minute lead when Ciaran Clark was caught in possession before Martin Harnik calmly slotted past David Forde.
However, the Boys in Green showed determination and fight to head into the interval with a narrow lead after Jon Walters smashed home a spot-kick before heading home Glen Whelan’s corner just before the break.
But the Irish defence eventually cracked under a late onslaught as David Alaba’s dipping 25-yard effort gave Forde no chance and grab Austria a precious point in the race for second.
More to follow…
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