Friday 15 December 2017

Referee leaves O'Neill angry

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile

Martin O'Neill has lashed referee Spanish David Borbalan for bottling the decision which disallowed Shane Duffy's late, late goal.

And the Ireland boss also believes that Jon Walters, who eventually scored a crucial equaliser, should have had a penalty late in the game.

"When he first pointed, I thought he had given it. But we can't change it now. Jon Walters should have had a penalty too. It was an accidental foul on him but I've seen those given in the Premier League," he added.

"Jon is an immense character and we didn't give him the best service and left him isolated in the first-half.

"He's not the quickest and yet he's got a real knowledge of the game and he's got a great will which he showed in the Euros for us. He is totally invaluable to us."

O'Neill took some comfort from the fact that Ireland continued a habit of scoring late to rescue games.

"I should take great encouragement from that. I knew at half time we had left so many things behind. There was a determination to address it. We wanted to try and keep the record going in terms of not losing here over the last few years," he said.

"Austria were better than us in the first half, we had a very poor opening 15 minutes. There was no real pressure on them and it allowed Austria to get into the game and take the crowd out of the scenario.

"We couldn't create anything in the game and I was a bit surprised by that. I wanted to try and be on the front foot.

"In the second-half, we put loads and loads of pressure on, helped by the crowd but there was always a chance Austria would score at the other end with so many attacking players on the pitch for us.

"I was delighted to get the equaliser but we had a totally good second goal disallowed."

Austria boss Marcel Koller, who really needed to win this game to keep his team in the group, has not given up hope that his team might yet qualify.

"It was a very intense and physical game and we managed to go in front," said Koller.

"Ireland put us under pressure and we lost the ball too early. We still had chances to scored a second goal but we could have conceded one too.

"There are still 12 points left and we will try to get as many as we can," he said.

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