10.09.2008 at 18:00 Pod Goricom - Gradski - Podgorica
0 - 0
Republic of Ireland
Referee: Sten Kaldma (Estonia)
World Cup Qualifier / Prog-match
Vakasin Rodomir Poleksic,
Aidan Mc Geady
Simon Vukcevic for Bozovic 54 mins,
Milorad Pekovic 63 mins;
Republic of Ireland continued their impressive start to 2010 World Cup qualifying with a 0-0 draw against Montenegro.
A scrappy first-half saw both sides fail to create clear-cut openings, with misplaced efforts from distance littering the game.
Robbie Keane cut a lonesome figure up front for Ireland, and posed little threat, while Roma striker Mirko Vucinic was lively for the hosts.
The second period was little better, although both keepers were called into action.
Keane and Stephen Hunt worked Vukasin Poleksic with acrobatic attempts, but never looked like finding a breakthrough.
However, the best chance of the night fell to Celtic winger Aiden McGeady who blazed wide when sent clean through on goal.
At the opposite end Montenegro's wayward shooting continued, although Shay Given was forced into a smart stop to keep out Stevan Jovetic's deflected effort.
Ireland will be happy with a point and they remain unbeaten en route to South Africa after two tricky away ties.
Having allowed Bulgaria to steel a point at the death in a 2-2 on Saturday, Zoran Filipovic's men set about their task with some relish.
Vucinic led the way as a lone striker with excellent support from hugely-talented 18-year-old Fiorentina midfielder Jovetic and Elsad Zverotic, and Trapattoni's side had to weather something of a storm in the early stages.
Given was in action within three minutes of the kick-off, pulling off a good save low to his left after initially coming from his line and then stopping as Jovetic played Vucinic in.
Defender Milan Jonanovic got his head to the resulting corner, but his glanced effort flew just wide.
The visitors were having to work desperately hard to force their way into the game with Steven Reid, who was a doubt before kick-off with a knee problem, and Glenn Whelan scrapping for every ball in an attempt to protect the men behind them.
But as time wore on, Ireland started to draw Montenegro's sting, and that was reflected in a series of long-range efforts from Vucinic and Nikola Drincic which failed to arouse Given's interest to any meaningful degree.
The game sprang to life as the half-time whistle approached when Kevin Kilbane almost collected an unwelcome memory of his 50th consecutive competitive appearance.
The 31-year-old was pinned back deep inside his own half by Elsad Zverotic, and as he tried to extricate himself, he slipped and allowed the midfielder to surge into the box and pick out Jovetic.
The youngster set himself before pulling the trigger, but John O'Shea got in a magnificent block to protect Given.
But the drama came at the other end in injury-time when defender Radoslav Batak made a mess of clearing Hunt's cross and appeared to handle, although referee Sten Kaldma was unimpressed.
Hunt argued long and hard with anyone who was prepared to listen as he left the pitch at the break, but to no avail.
Ireland started the second half at a much higher tempo than they had the first with Hunt particularly prominent, although his final ball at times left a little to be desired.
But it was from another free-kick that they almost took the lead with 56 minutes gone.
Steve Finnan floated the ball into the penalty area, where a Kevin Doyle challenge helped to divert it into Keane's path.
The Liverpool striker span and sent a firmly-struck, left-foot half-volley towards goal, but keeper Poleksic was well-placed to beat his effort away.
Whelan fired wide and Doyle volleyed straight at Poleksic, but with Ireland committing men to the search for a winner, Jovetic was finding space with ominous ease.
Given came to the rescue twice within four minutes when he blocked Vucinic's near-post effort and then somehow managed to turn Jovetic's deflected shot away after initially finding himself wrong-footed.
Substitute Simon Vukcevic gave Given cause for concern with a late drive, but the ball sped past the post as Montenegro's hopes of victory dwindled.
MONTENEGRO: Vakasin Rodomir Poleksic, Savo Pavicevic, Radoslav Batak, Jovan Tanasijevic, Milan Jovanovic, Nikola Drincic, Milorad Pekovic, Elsad Zverotic, Stevan Jovetic, Vladamir Bozovic (Simon Vukcevic 54), Mirko Vucinic.
REP OF IRELAND: Shay Given (Newcastle United); Steve Finnan (Espanyol), John O’Shea (Manchester United), Richard Dunne (Manchester City), Kevin Kilbane (Wigan Athletic); Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Steven Reid (Blackburn Rovers), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Stephen Hunt (Reading); Robbie Keane (Liverpool), Kevin Doyle (Reading).
REFEREE: Sten Kaldma (Estonia).