Euro 2012 qual. - Keane blows golden chance as Ireland draw
Robbie Keane missed a glorious chance in the second half as the Republic of Ireland were held to a 0-0 draw by Slovakia in their Euro 2012 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium.
The new LA Galaxy forward looked set to seal what would have been an undeserved win when he rose to meet Damien Duff's cross on 71 minutes only to head over the bar from five yards out with visiting keeper Jan Mucha well beaten.
Russia now lead Group B on 16 points from seven games after their 1-0 win over Macedonia earlier in the day with the Republic and Slovakia on 14 points.
Each team has three games of the qualifying campaign to play with the Irish travelling to face Russia on Tuesday.
Ireland blew two other notable chances in the second half with substitute Simon Cox knocking Keane's pass wide of the goal from the edge of the area while Richard Dunne blew his lines when he failed to convert miserably with a free header from Stephen Hunt's cross, moments after the Wolves midfielder had replaced the struggling Aiden McGeady.
In hindsight, a draw was little more than Giovanni Trapattoni's side deserved as a technically superior Slovakian side kept the home support quiet for the majority of the evening.
The other major blow for Ireland on the evening was a booking for the outstanding Sean St Ledger, who is now suspended for the trip to Russia after a late foul on Erik Jendrisek.
Ireland have kept six straight clean sheets, but this was a close run thing as a slicker side than the visitors would surely have punished Ireland's sloppiness in giving the ball away and their constant failure to press space quickly enough.
The visitors could have been on the board as early as the 25th minutes when Vladimir Weiss drove the ball straight at home goalkeeper Shay Given when a better placed shot would surely have signalled the opening goal for the visiting side.
Given was forced to make a diving stop to nudge Filip Holosko's header wide seconds later as the visitors continues to push and probe.
Ireland's best moment of the first half saw Duff win some space 25 yards out, but his effort was far too close to Mucha who punched the shot back out without too much fuss.
St Ledger made a brilliant last-ditch tackle to stop Marek Hamsik getting a shot at goal after Holosko had cut open the home side on the break.
Weiss then waltzed into the Irish area, but opted to try to pick out Hamisk when a shot at goal may well have brought the three points that their play on the night probably deserved.