2016 European Championship Qualifying, Group Stage 2016

Romania fail to break down winless Greece in goalless draw

Greece held Romania to a 0-0 draw to hand Northern Ireland a Euro 2016 lifeline.

Victory for Romania would have seen them leapfrog Northern Ireland -- who drew 1-1 with Hungary -- at the top of Group F but they had to settle for a point against their struggling visitors.

Romania are second, a point behind Northern Ireland, while Greece claimed just their third point of the qualifying campaign and are bottom of the group.

Claudiu Keseru wasted the hosts' best chance but his shot was blocked with Ovidiu Hoban free in the box during the first half.

Romania made a good start with FC Astra Giurgiu's Constantin Budescu lively but he was denied by the feet of keeper Orestis Karnezis after 17 minutes.

Keseru had a shot blocked just before the break when he went alone instead of passing and Romania's frustration continued when Gabriel Torje fired wide after the restart.

Greece rarely threatened and had just two efforts on goal as they underlined their position in the group.

Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu replaced defensive midfielder Hoban with forward Florin Andone as time started to run out for the hosts and their desperation grew.

They could not find a winner though and were left cursing when substitute Lucian Sanmartean fired a stoppage-time free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.

Romania host Finland and then go the Faroe Islands in their final two qualifying games in their bid to reach France next year.