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Ireland held to scoreless draw by Georgia in dull affair

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Ireland held to scoreless draw by Georgia in dull affair
Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group D - Georgia v Republic of Ireland - Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia - October 12, 2019 Georgia's Guram Kashia in action with Republic of Ireland's James Collins REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze   -   Copyright  IRAKLI GEDENIDZE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Ireland defender John Egan saw his early header come back off a post in his competitive international debut as the Group D leaders were held to a 0-0 draw by Georgia in a drab Euro 2020 qualifier in Tbilisi on Saturday.

Egan’s fourth-minute effort was the closest either side came in a dull encounter that saw both sides struggle to hold on to the ball and create decent chances.

The home side were limited to a handful of speculative shots from distance while the Irish, who edged Georgia 1-0 when the sides met in Dublin in March, showed little in attack until substitute Aaron Connolly entered the fray late on.

The sprightly 19-year-old replaced James Collins in the 78th minute to make his debut and manufactured two late chances for himself, only to see one saved and the other fly just wide.

The draw leaves Ireland on 12 points after six games, three ahead of Denmark, who meet third-placed Switzerland (eight points) in Copenhagen later on Saturday, with the Swiss also having an extra game in hand over both of their group rivals.

The Georgians are fourth on five points after six games, with Gibraltar bottom with zero points from five.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; editing by Ken Ferris)

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