Jon Walters rescues point for Republic of Ireland against Austria

Jonathan Walters struck a late equaliser to save Ireland from their first competitive home defeat under Martin O’Neill and avoid of what would have been a severe blow to their hopes of qualifying for the next World Cup. Austria seemed on course to boost their own hopes after Martin Hinteregger gave them the lead in a first half in which Ireland performed horribly. But Martin O’Neill made belated changes in the second half and Ireland surged back into the game to salvage a point that keeps them in a decent position in a group that looks likely to go down to the wire.

Dublin looked a picture under a glowing sun but this match darn near defaced it in the first half. With wayward passes, clunky touches and almost no imagination, it was a grisly viewing until Austria scored with a goal of incongruous quality. The visitors had, in fairness, offered a smidgin more neatness than the hosts in the opening half an hour but nothing that foreshadowed the artfulness of their breakthrough. It came from a corner delivered from the left by David Alaba, then Aleksandar Dragovic and Sebastian Prodl flummoxed the Irish defence by letting the ball run past them and over to Hinteregger near the penalty spot. Hinteregger took one touch before firing a low shot past Darren Randolph.

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