Steve Finnan scored in stoppage time to save the Republic of Ireland from a first home defeat in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying, though the draw confirmed that Stephen Staunton's side would not be heading to next summer's finals.
Stelios Okkarides's close-range header with ten minutes remaining had looked enough for Cyprus to leapfrog their opponents in Group D until Finnan struck to keep Ireland in third spot as the visitors overtook Slovakia into fourth.
After a quiet opening, Cyprus goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides was called into action on 28 minutes to keep out Robbie Keane's header, yet Angelos Anastasiadis's team responded by creating an even better chance; Georgallides's opposite number Shay Given doing well to deny Yiasoumi Yiasoumi. Cyprus should have taken a lead into half-time when Stephen Hunt lost possession and they broke in numbers, but Marios Nikolaou lobbed wide.
Liam Miller was introduced at the start of the second half as the Republic sought greater creativity yet it was Cyprus, again, who fashioned a glorious opportunity as Yiannis Okkas burst through and clipped a shot past Given only to be thwarted by the upright. Ireland were stung into action and Andy Reid's cross was flicked just wide by Hunt.
Keane had a similar chance but was also unable to find the target after being teed up by Kevin Doyle. And Staunton's men were made to pay for their profligacy when Konstantinos Charalampidis whipped in a cross which Okkarides rose unchallenged to head in. Ireland salvaged some pride in added time as Finnan buried the equaliser after the defence had failed to clear. Things then went from bad to worse for Cyprus with Marios Elia being sent off.