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Carr in top gear again

English Barclays Premiership

Stephen Carr starred again as the Republic of Ireland almost caused a shock at fancied Holland on Saturday.

Now established as Ireland's first-choice right-back, last season's Player of the Year at the Lane was in magnificent form in the Amsterdam Arena as Mick McCarthy's men gained a 2-2 draw in the World Cup Group Two qualifier.

Carr could have been celebrating even more - Ireland went 2-0 up before two goals in the last 20 minutes clawed the Dutch back into the game.

Dutch debutant Wilfred Bouma was hardly given a kick by Carr in the first half and the 23-year-old helped create Ireland's opening goal - he beat two Dutch defenders before feeding Jason McAteer, whose cross was headed home by Robbie Keane.

McAteer fired home the second goal from 25 yards after 64 minutes and Ireland looked on for victory. However, Jeffrey Talan headed home Ronald de Boer's cross home with 20 minutes left and the hosts grabbed a point when Giovanni van Bronckhurst's shot was deflected home.

Boss McCarthy said: "I'm proud of my team because we came here to take Holland on at their own game, passing the ball and playing with controlled aggression. I would have taken a draw before the start but in the end I was a little disappointed."