Ireland, Czech Republic draw 1-1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 with the Czech Republic in a Euro 2008 qualifying game on Wednesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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The Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 with the Czech Republic in a Euro 2008 qualifying game on Wednesday. Kevin Kilbane put Ireland ahead in the 61st minute, with Jan Koller equalising for the Czechs two minutes later. The Czech Republic stay top of Group D, a point clear of Germany who have a game in hand, while the Irish are second from bottom with just an single point. Looking up The Irish, missing a host of players through injury, were searching for their first point of their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. They were also hoping for a much-improved display following their humiliating 5-2 defeat in Cyprus on Saturday. Roared on by the home fans, Ireland came close to taking the lead in the 16th minute. Kilbane's throw-in bounced into the path of Jonathan Douglas. It appeared as if Robbie Keane had been fouled, but the referee waved play on, leaving Douglas one-on-one with Petr Cech. But Cech saved with an outstretched foot, and it remained goalless. Point-blank range The Czechs, inevitably, came into the game more as the half progressed. Milan Baros looked set to open the scoring four minutes before half-time, only for Wayne Henderson to save at point-blank range. Steve Finnan cleared off the line. Undaunted, Ireland continued to threaten after the break, and their reward arrived in the 62nd minute. Damien Duff's low cross from the left evaded the Czech defenders on its way through to Kilbane, who fired into the top corner. But the Irish barely had time to celebrate before the Czechs struck back. Koller held off Paul McShane before squeezing a low shot past Henderson. Pressing for win Ireland pressed for a winner, and in the 88th minute it should have arrived as Duff's far-post ball found Robbie Keane unmarked at the back post. But the striker failed to make proper contact, and it stayed 1-1. So, certainly a much-improved performance from the Irish. But they stay second from bottom in Group D, ahead of just one team - San Marino - with just one point from three games. The Czech Republic stay top, with 10 points from four games. Germany are second, with nine points from three games. (AP)

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