World Cup Group C: Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria

David Alaba celebrates his last-gasp equaliser which stunned the Republic at the Aviva Stadium

David Alaba's injury-time goal stunned the Republic of Ireland as it earned Austria a deserved draw in the World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

A bad mistake by Ciaran Clark gifted Austria the lead in the 11th minute with Martin Harnik scoring.

But Jonathan Walters levelled with a 25th-minute penalty after Shane Long was fouled, then nodded the Republic into the lead before the break.

The Austrians dominated the second half before Alaba's last-gasp equaliser.

The loss of two points keeps Giovanni Trapattoni's side fourth in Group C, behind Austria and Sweden on goal difference, with Germany eight points clear after their win over Kazakhstan on Tuesday night.

After their assured display in Stockholm, the Republic started nervously with a number of misplaced passes gifting possession to the Austrians.

The recalled Glenn Whelan was forced to concede a free-kick in a dangerous central position after giving the ball away in the second minute and Alaba's free-kick was inches wide.

Just as the Irish appeared to be settling down, Clark gifted the visitors the opening goal as he was caught in possession just short of halfway by Zlatko Junuzovic, who ran on before squaring for Harnik to score past the helpless David Forde.

The home side looked rattled in the frenetic minutes after the opening goal before James McClean's superb wing play began to trouble the Austrians.

Still, the visitors still looked reasonably comfortable before Emanuel Pogatetz's reckless challenge on Long gave away a penalty, with Walters holding his nerve to beat keeper Heinz Lindner with an emphatic finish into the left corner.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the Republic began to take control with the lively Long back-heeling against the foot of a post in the 38th minute after more great work by McClean.

Conor Sammon, after a slow start, began to trouble the Austrian defence with his physical presence and aerial threat, supplementing the valiant efforts of Long and McClean.

The Republic would probably have settled for being level at the break but Walters nodded his second goal in first-half injury-time.

On this occasion, Whelan took the corner-kick duties from McClean, and the unmarked Walters nodded his Stoke team-mate's long delivery past Lindner, having beaten Austria captain Christian Fuchs to the jump.

The Austrians battled hard to retrieve the situation after the break with Harnik testing Forde and Gyorgy Garics then pulling a chance across the face of goal after the Republic defence had been stretched.

Garics then nearly scored an own goal from another superb McClean cross, with Lindner producing a wonder save.

As the game reached the final quarter, the Austrians began to dominate possession with substitute Andreas Weimann making an impression.

With the Republic struggling to hold on to possession and dropping deeper and deeper, the situation appeared to be crying out for the introduction of Wes Hoolahan but Trapattoni's instead put on Paul Green for the impressive Long with seven minutes to go.

Long, like James McCarthy, will be ruled out of the game against the Faroe Islands on 7 June after picking up a booking, but the West Brom striker had done his job and more on the night.

As the match entered injury time, the Austrians continued to lay siege to the Republic's goal with Forde stretching to save a Harnik header.

The Republic looked set to hold out but Bayern Munich danger man Alaba fired in a 25-yard shot which flew past Forde after taking a slight deflection.

On the balance of play, the Austrians fully deserved their draw but that won't take away any of the hurt that will be felt by the Irish after this devastating late blow.

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