Russia 0-0 Republic of Ireland

Aiden McGeady and Andrey Arshavin
Aiden McGeady battles with Andrey Arshavin in the qualifier in Moscow

The Republic of Ireland kept their Euro 2012 qualification hopes very much alive as they earned an unlikely Group B point against Russia in Moscow.

Russia laid siege to the Irish goal for the entire contest but heroic displays by Richard Dunne and Shay Given frustrated Dick Advocaat's side.

Given superbly denied Andrey Arshavin, Igor Semshov and Konstantin Zyryanov.

Dunne also cleared a Semshov shot off the line as the Republic didn't create a chance in the game.

The draw keeps Russia two points ahead of the Irish and Giovanni Trapattoni's Irish side remain in the hunt with the Russians still having to travel to face other group contenders Slovakia.

Trapattoni made two enforced changes in defence from Friday's disappointing 0-0 draw against Slovakia with Darren O'Dea replacing the suspended Sean St Ledger and Stephen Kelly taking over from the injured John O'Shea.

Advocaat's side had one change from the 1-0 win over Macedonia as Sergei Ignashevich replaced the suspended Igor Denisov.

After a dull opening on the plastic pitch, the match came to life in the eighth minute as Kevin Doyle got in behind the Russian defence only for him to overhit his cross.

Konstantin Zyryanov immediately broke for the Russians and the move concluded with Given making a brilliant fingertip save to turn Arshavin's low shot away for a corner.

Doyle fired a long-range effort straight at keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev in the 13th minute but the Russians were producing all the significant threat as Semshov blasted accross the face of goal a minute later after Arshavin's short corner.

Given came to the Republic's rescue again on 21 minute as he turned away Semshov's shot for a corner after Alexsandr Kerzhakov's cross.

Republic left-back Stephen Ward was being tormented by the Russians with Semshov and Kerzhakov interchanging on the home team's right flank and full-back Alexander Anyukov also a threat.

As had been the case against the Slovaks, the Republic's central midfield duo of Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan were being over-run by Arshavin and company as the case for withdrawing one of the Irish strikers looked strong.

The Russian pressure was becoming constant with Dunne brilliantly clearing Semshov's point-blank chance off the line in the 31st minute after Yuri Zhirkov had waltzed through the Irish defence.

From the corner, Zyryanov was inches wide with a 25-yard shot with Given beaten.

As the Russians continued to lay siege to the Irish goal, Given had to beat away an angled shot from the impressive Zhirkov with Dunne bravely heading away another whipped cross by the same player.

Miraculously, the Republic held out to half-time which appeared to offer Trapattoni the opportunity to rejig his forces.

But there were no Irish changes and the Russian dominance continued as Arshavin threaded a ball through to Roman Shirokov with Dunne making another heroic tackle.

Semshov spurned another Russian chance in the 56th minute before Trapattoni finally made a change with Simon Cox coming on for Doyle.

Advocaat had already introduced Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko while Stephen Hunt soon came on for the Irish with Damien Duff withdrawn.

As the clock ticked on, the Russian play was becoming less fluent as frustration began to set in at their failure to score despite almost total domination.

Second-half sub Diniyar Bilyaletdinov blazed over and Given then produced an amazing late save with his legs to deny Zyryanov with Andrews blocking Semshov's follow-up.

Russia: Malafeev, Aniukov, Vasili Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Alexei Berezutsky, Zhirkov (Bilyaletdinov 76), Semshov, Shirokov, Zyryanov, Kerzhakov (Pavlyuchenko 54), Arshavin.

Subs not used: Shunin, Pogrebniak, Torbinsky, Glushakov, Shishkin.

Republic of Ireland: Given, Kelly, Dunne, O'Dea, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff (Hunt 67), Doyle (Cox 59), Keane.

Subs: Westwood, Foley, Delaney, Lawrence, McCarthy.

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

Top Stories