Kazakhstan hold Austria to boost Irish hopes

Kazakhstan 0 Austria 0

Republic of Ireland group rivals Austria had the bulk of the play but failed to find the target during a disappointing stalemate with Kazakhstan in their World Cup qualifier at Astana Arena.

While the hosts will consider themselves pleased to have posted a first point in Group C, Austria's qualification hopes will have been dented by failure to see off Kazakhstan.

Austria, who lost their opening fixture against Germany, had no shortage of possession or shots on goal but rarely made the home goalkeeper, Andrey Sidelnikov, work hard.

The first 20 minutes saw Zlatko Junuzovic take the initiative but his pair of long shots did not worry Sidelnikov.

Martin Harnik went much closer in the 32nd minute but was denied when Sidelnikov pulled off a smart save with his feet and the same player headed wide in the opening moments of the second half.

Veli Kavlak, Gyorgy Garics and Emanuel Pogatetz each reeled off shots as the Austrians continued to take the attack to their more defensive opponents but none improved on what had come before.

Sebastian Prodl came closest for the visitors in the 65th minute, shooting left-footed from just outside the area and seeing his goalbound effort turned round the post.

Five minutes later Kazakhstan responded with a first real chance of their own, Sergey Ostapenko drilling at goal from 25 yards only for Robert Almer to save.

Austria had further half-chances to secure the points but Kazakhstan, and Sidelnikov, held firm.

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