Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trapattoni praise for Dunne and Given

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni saluted Richard Dunne and Shay Given for their heroic performances in a precious 0-0 draw in Moscow.

Dunne produced two superb blocks and ended the game with four stitches in a head wound as Ireland managed to cling on for their first ever point in Russia.

Given was equally resilient as the Donegal man pulled off a string of fine saves, including a vital late stop from Konstantin Zyryanov, to claim a seventh successive clean sheet for his team which kept them firmly in he race for Euro 2012 qualification.

Trapattoni said of Dunne's performance: "He was fantastic. I thank God that we had Richard in this game.

"He sacrificed himself because he went back on to the pitch with four stitches. He understood the need to stay on the pitch.

"Shay Given also saved two or three goals. They were fantastic saves."

Dunne had to have stitches after suffering a head wound in a challenge on Yuri Zhirkov which cost him a second booking in as many games which will rule him out of next month's trip to Andorra.

He was made to change his shirt, but with no number five replacement on the sidelines, goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly had to write the number on a plain shirt in felt-tipped pen.

Trapattoni said: "In life, these things happen. We forgot the reserve shirt. We wrote the number five and thank God, he went back on to the pitch immediately."

Ireland were under the cosh almost from the off as Russia set about the task of easing their way further clear in the race for automatic qualification from Group B.

Trapattoni was quick to admit that his team had ridden its luck on the night.

He said: "It is impossible not to recognise that we have been lucky in this 90 minutes.

"The determination and the application on the pitch of the team, particularly of the senior players like Richard Dunne, Shay Given, Keith Andrews, Aiden McGeady was the pull for the younger players who gained confidence from them.

"That balance allowed us to achieve what I call a golden point.

"With this result, we can look to the future because we have cleared a big obstacle tonight.

"I told the players St Patrick was looking down on us tonight."

Speaking after the game Irish hero Dunne said :

"We probably weren't fancied to get anything here, everyone from front to back did a job. It gives us something to build on and hopefully keeps us in the competition."

Dunne added: "It was a tough game. We knew we had to come here and try and put in something similar to what we did in Paris [in the World Cup play-off against France].

"The second half was quite tough. The pitch is so fast and you have to be on your toes.

"But we knuckled down and put in a performance we can be proud of."

Meanwhile in the other group two game Armenia scored four second-half goals to crush Slovakia and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Euro 2012 finals.

The result means Armenia move up to third in the table, one point behind Ireland and three points behind Russia.