Wales 0-0 Republic of Ireland: Bale talents missed

Gareth Bale looks on from the bench as Wales were held to a goalless draw. Picture: Getty
Gareth Bale looks on from the bench as Wales were held to a goalless draw. Picture: Getty
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The talents of Gareth Bale were sorely missed as Wales and the Republic of Ireland played out the most drab of goalless draws at Cardiff City Stadium.

The visitors enjoyed the 
better of the contest and created the better of what chances there were, with Shane Long failing to convert two great opportunities while Robbie Brady also went close.

Craig Bellamy’s second-half free-kick was as close as toothless Wales came, with Ben Davies failing to make the most of their best chance right on half-time.

The build-up to the game had been dominated by Bale and whether the Spurs winger will complete a world record move to Real Madrid. He sat on the bench in his suit and tie thanks to his foot injury, but how the game was crying out for just a glimpse of his pace, power and skill.

Few of the sparse crowd present at Cardiff City Stadium would have complained had he removed the suit, in the style of Clark Kent, to reveal a Wales 
jersey and taken to the pitch to enliven proceedings but, alas, it was not to be.

It is hard to see what Chris Coleman and Giovanni Trapattoni will have gleaned ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifying double-header.

The lack of entertainment on show was summed up by the lack of a shot on target until the 55th minute, and even then it was Bellamy’s tame set-piece.

Ireland made the better start, starving the home side of possession for long periods.

Wales, by comparison, were profligate and gifted what little ball they had back to the visitors during a cagey opening lacking in any degree of intensity.

It took 22 minutes for either side to register a shot on goal, but Glenn Whelan, winning his 50th cap, could not make the most of space on the edge of the area as he dragged well wide from Brady’s pass.

Keiren Westwood was the first of the two keepers to make a save in the 55th minute, as he held on to a Bellamy free-kick. And things didn’t get much better when the usual steady stream of substitutes started soon after.

Wales: Myhill, Gunter, Ashley Williams, Ricketts, Ben Davies, Ledley (King 60), Allen (Crofts 86), Bellamy (Vokes 59), Collison (Craig Davies 82), Jonathan Williams, Robson-Kanu (Taylor 74). Subs not used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Matthews, Vaughan, Church, Richards, Fon Williams.

Republic of Ireland: Westwood, Coleman, Clark, O’Shea (O’Dea 60), Wilson, Walters (Sammon 84), McCarthy, Whelan (Green 60), Brady (McClean 46), Hoolahan (Madden 69), Long (Andy Keogh 74). Subs not used: Randolph, Kelly, McShane, Hendrick, Meyler, Henderson.

Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Cze). 
Attendance: 20,000.