Richard Dunne 'proud' after Republic hold Russians

Richard Dunne and Aleksei Berezutskiy
Richard Dunne battles with Aleksei Berezutskiy in Moscow

Richard Dunne said the Republic of Ireland players could be "proud" after earning a battling point in Moscow which keeps their hopes of Euro 2012 qualification very much alive.

Aston Villa duo Dunne and Shay Given were the stars as the Irish somehow held out against the Russians.

"We probably weren't fancied to get anything here," said Dunne.

"Everyone from front to back did a job. It gives us something to build on and hopefully keeps us in the competition."

Dunne added: "It was a tough game. We knew we had to come here and try and put in something similar to what we did in Paris [in the World Cup play-off against France].

"The second half was quite tough. The [plastic] pitch is so fast and you have to be on your toes.

"But we knuckled down and put in a performance we can be proud of."

Dunne produced two superb blocks and ended the game with four stitches in a head wound as Ireland managed to cling on for their first ever point in Moscow.

The Aston Villa defender suffered his wound in a challenge on Yuri Zhirkov which cost him a second booking in as many games, which will rule him out of next month's trip to Andorra.

Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni described the draw as a "golden point" and insisted that qualification remains on for his team.

"I am very, very happy because they were superior - physically also - and had many chances," said Trapattoni.

"It is impossible not to recognise that we have been lucky in this 90 minutes.

"Shay Given and Richard Dunne were outstanding but all our defenders played well.

"He [Dunne] sacrificed himself because he went back on to the pitch with four stitches. He understood the need to stay on the pitch.

"Shay Given also saved two or three goals. They were fantastic saves.

"It was difficult for us. We had many injuries over the past week and hopefully when we play our games next month [against Armenia and Andorra], we will be in a better physical condition.

"Russia still have a very difficult game against Slovakia so maybe we can still top the table."

Russia boss Dick Advocaat could not fault his players for their efforts, but admitted the failure to take their chances had proved costly.

"Without being chauvinistic, Russia played an excellent game, 90 minutes controlling the game and created seven or eight 100% chances," he said.

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