Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Trapattoni dejected after late leveller

Giovanni Trapattoni was left deflated after Austria stole a point
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 26:  Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni (r) reacts during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group C Qualifiying match between Republic of Ireland and Austria at Aviva Stadium on March 26, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 26: Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni (r) reacts during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group C Qualifiying match between Republic of Ireland and Austria at Aviva Stadium on March 26, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 26:  Austria player Julian Baumgartlinger (r) battles for the ball with Conor Sammon of Ireland  during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group C Qualifiying match between Republic of Ireland and Austria at Aviva Stadium on March 26, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 26: Austria player Julian Baumgartlinger (r) battles for the ball with Conor Sammon of Ireland during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group C Qualifiying match between Republic of Ireland and Austria at Aviva Stadium on March 26, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Giovanni Trapattoni admitted his disappointment after seeing two precious World Cup qualifying points wrenched from his grasp.

The 74-year-old Italian looked to be emerging from a vital double-header against Sweden and Austria with four points safely banked when Bayern Munich midfielder David Alaba snatched a 2-2 draw for the Austrians with a last-gasp equaliser at the Aviva Stadium.

With Ireland having led from first-half injury time until the final seconds of a tense encounter, players and fans alike were left dejected as if it had been a defeat, and Trapattoni admitted his emotions were similar. He said: "Also me - but you think how disappointed the players are."

He added: "We must give them morale and belief and support. We must be positive. We have three or four young players and some players who were playing only their second or third game. We must believe. I said we believe in this new revolution. We have to allow these young players to grow in confidence - why not?"

Trapattoni had hoped to silence his increasingly vociferous critics by claiming a minimum for four points, a return which would have taken them into second place in Group C.

However, successive draws have left them level on points with Austria and Sweden, with the latter having played a game fewer. But asked if he would still be in the post in June - former Reading boss Brian McDermott has been linked with his job in recent days - the veteran boss was defiant.

He said: "Why not? We are in the table. It has not changed. We are the same in the table as Sweden, the situation has not changed."

Ireland looked to have eased themselves above the Swedes and the Austrians courtesy of a concerted fightback which saw them come from behind to lead with a minute of stoppage time remaining.

The impressive Martin Harnik had given Austria an 11th-minute lead with a cool finish after Zlatko Junuzovic had caught defender Ciaran Clark in possession with the Irish struggling to impose themselves.

But they were handed a lifeline when Emanuel Pogatetz needlessly brought down Shane Long in the box and Jon Walters stepped up to fire home the resulting penalty. It was Walters who struck again at the end of the first half to head Glenn Whelan's corner past Heinz Lindner and give his side a lead they would defend until the final moments.

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