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Deadlock in Athens

Published: Wednesday 20 November 2002, 21.30CET
Greece 0-0 Republic of Ireland Depleted Ireland secure creditable draw.
Published: Wednesday 20 November 2002, 21.30CET

Deadlock in Athens

Greece 0-0 Republic of Ireland Depleted Ireland secure creditable draw.

Greece 0-0 Republic of Ireland
Greece and the Republic of Ireland played out a goalless friendly draw in Athens - the visitors' first match since the recent resignation of manager Mick McCarthy.

Crowe chance
Don Givens took temporary charge of an Irish side who have lost their opening two UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying Group 10 fixtures and were without a number of key players, ten had withdrawn on Sunday, and selected Bohemian FC striker Glen Crowe, the first League of Ireland player to represent his nation in 16 years.

Narrowly wide
Greece have also made a mixed start to their EURO 2004™ campaign with one win and two defeats, and found themselves under pressure early on when Crowe twice went close in the first eleven minutes, a volley that forced goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis to make a save followed by a shot narrowly wide.

Given escape
Irish custodian Shay Given had a narrow escape in between those chances when he misjudged a back pass from John O'Shea. It hit a divot and bobbled over his foot, but the ball ran just past the post.

Disjointed feel
However, although Given then made a save from Vassilis Tsartas's deflected shot, the rest of the half saw few chances, and at the break Greek coach Otto Rehhagel chose to make seven substitutions, giving the second period a disjointed feel with both sides fielding unfamiliar lineups.

Good save
Just after the hour, Given made a good save from Dimitrios Papadopoulos, but as time went on with Rehhagel having made two more changes, neither team seriously threatened to score. Givens, who is not set to succeed McCarthy permanently, will be the happier coach with the result given Ireland's recent troubles on and off the pitch.

Last updated: 20/11/02 22.26CET

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