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Squandered penalty helps Iceland hold Cyprus

Cyprus 0-0 Iceland
A penalty save from Iceland's Stefán Magnússon was responsible for the visitors coming away with their first point in Group H.

Cyprus's Dimitris Christofi (left) goes shoulder to shoulder with Kristján Sigurdsson
Cyprus's Dimitris Christofi (left) goes shoulder to shoulder with Kristján Sigurdsson ©Getty Images

Stefán Magnússon saved Chrysostomos Michail's first-half penalty as an under-strength Cyprus were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against the bottom side in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group H, Iceland.

Standing in for regular captain Yiannis Okkas − who, like strike partner Michalis Konstantinou, missed the game through injury − Michail had his spot kick well saved on 21 minutes. Cyprus had further reason to bemoan Magnússon's expertise when the goalkeeper tipped a deflected Constantinos Makridis shot on to a post in the closing stages.

Denied from the spot in the first meaningful action of the game, after Kristján Sigurdsson had fouled Andreas Avraam in the box, Cyprus dominated possession from the off and were left lamenting a lack of space for lone striker Dimitris Christofi to exploit. In contrast, Iceland menaced on the counterattack and Birkir Saevarsson looked certain to open the scoring on 34 minutes, only for his attempted chip to travel straight into the arms of Antonis Giorgallides.

Magnússon denied Avraam from close range in the final minute of the first half, and Christofi's composure deserted him after the interval, with the forward firing high and wide after Savvas Poursaitides's pass had presented him with an opening. A quick Cypriot break on 78 minutes ended with a Makridis shot, which Magnússon turned on to his left-hand post, and that spurned chance might have proved costlier had Heidar Helguson not blazed off target from a good position late on.