Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wales 0-0 Republic of Ireland: Friendly clash fails to ignite in Cardiff

Neither side could find the moment of magic needed in a drab encounter, with numerous substitutions also breaking up the flow of play later on in the game

A sparsely populated Cardiff City Stadium played host to an uninspiring 0-0 draw between Wales and the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

With both sides missing key personnel, the game lacked quality and chances were few and far between.

Craig Bellamy registered the game's first shot on target, but his long-range free-kick failed to break the

The best two chances fell to Ireland's Shane Long, who fired one effort over the bar and another straight at Boaz Myhill.

Ireland came into the match in good form; the 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain in their last game was their first defeat in seven matches.

All the talk in the build-up had focussed on Gareth Bale, whose future at Tottenham remains in doubt, but the Real Madrid transfer target's foot injury kept him sidelined.
Aaron Ramsey and James Collins also missed out with injuries, leaving Wales with a severely weakened team.

Robbie Keane was among the Irish absentees, but John O'Shea earned his 90th cap for the visitors, who were looking to continue an unbeaten record against Wales stretching back to 1992.

Ireland dominated possession in the opening stages, passing through the opposition midfield with confidence, but lacked the penetration necessary to endanger their opponents' goal.

Glenn Whelan dragged a shot wide from inside the box after 22 minutes in a rare first-half opening

Robbie Brady then went close with a rasping drive on his weaker foot before Long missed a great chance to open the scoring, ballooning his effort over the bar from 12 yards.

As half-time approached, Wes Hoolahan saw an excellent curling effort go just wide of the right upright after his quick footwork made space for the shot on the left.

Bellamy's free-kick from 40 yards out was easily saved by Kieren Westwood, but that was the closest Wales came to scoring.

Ireland came close to an opener at the other end when Long rose highest to meet James McClean's corner, but the West Brom striker could only head over the bar.      

Long again had a great chance to score when he burst through on goal late on before firing straight at Myhill.

The game looked to be in danger of petering out as both managers made several second-half substitutions, which included giving an Ireland debut to Yeovil Town's Paddy Madden.

But Ireland produced a late flurry, with Jonathan Walters and Madden both testing Myhill as the visitors searched fruitlessly for a winner.