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Italy Held By Ireland

Italy were left frustrated as they were held to 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in an international friendly at Craven Cottage.

This was Italy's first friendly, as they continue their preparations for next month's World Cup in Brazil.

Claudio Marchisio almost opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute, as his 25-yard effort drew a fine a brilliant save from David Forde.

Italy were dealt a blow in the 17th minute as midfielder, Ricardo Montolivo, had to be stretchered off, after the AC Milan midfielder was on the receiving end of  a challenge early in the game.

Salvatore Sirigu came to Italy's rescue minutes later as he pulled off a fine stop to keep out Anthony Pilkington's curling free-kick.

Shane Long should have given Ireland the lead in the 34th minute but the Hull City striker failed to direct his header on target from six-yards out.

Pilkington almost gave Ireland the lead five minutes after the halftime break, the midfielder cut in from the right before firing a left-footed effort inches wide of the upright.

Marchisio tried his luck from distance in the 66th minute but the Juventus midfielder fired an effort straight at Forde, who gathered with ease.

Ireland should have been a goal up in the 78th minute, as Sean Quinn struck the crossbar from close range before Adain McGeady's close range effort produced a brilliant save from Sirigu.

Both sides pushed on for the winner in the closing stages but neither side created any clear cut openings. 



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