2018 World Cup Qualifier
Ireland 0-0 Wales
Republic of Ireland missed the chance to return to the top of World Cup Qualifying Group D after being held to a goalless draw by 10-man Wales at the Aviva Stadium tonight.
Neil Taylor was shown a straight red card in the 69th minute for a reckless, lunging tackle on Seamus Coleman that saw the Everton defender carried off on a stretcher with a suspected broken leg.
The hosts could not make the most of their numerical advantage and it was Wales who went closest to a winner as Gareth Bale fired just the post.
The draw sees Ireland move level with Serbia on 11 points at the top of Group D while Wales are third, four points behind.
Next up for Wales is a trip to Serbia in June, when they will be without the suspended Bale after he was booked for a rash second-half tackle on John O’Shea.
Ireland made a late change before the match as James McCarthy was withdrawn from the starting line-up minutes before kick-off and replaced by David Meyler, with Richard Keogh at centre-back alongside John O’Shea.
Hal Robson-Kanu was preferred to Sam Vokes up front by Wales, who dominated possession in a cagey first half.
While Ireland spent the majority of the opening 45 minutes around their own box, neither side created a chance.
Taylor would have been in on goal if he had been able to control Bale’s brilliant pass through the defence, while Shane Long had Ireland’s best opportunity when he failed to make contact from a corner.
But Wales started to create chances after the break, with Bale having the first shot on target as he hit a free-kick straight at Darren Randolph, and then firing narrowly wide from 30 yards.
Taylor headed off target from the penalty spot as Wales continued to threaten before half-time substitute Vokes dragged an effort wide.
But Wales suffered two setbacks inside a minute as Bale was booked for a late tackle on O’Shea and then Taylor was shown a straight red for a horrific tackle on Coleman.
After Coleman was carried off on a stretcher, Ireland raised the tempo and McClean saw a shot deflect just wide.
Bale nearly won it for Wales with a fine solo effort as he burst forward from halfway and hit a shot that grazed the outside of the post.
Ireland will settle for a point given the large injury list they had going into the game but will be extremely concerned for captain Seamus Coleman