Russia remain top of Euro 2012 qualification Group B while Armenia have played their way back into contention with a shock win in Slovakia.
In the day's early kick-off, leaders Russia were unable to break down a dogged Republic of Ireland defence in a 0-0 draw in Moscow but uphold their two-point advantage nonetheless.
Dick Advocaat's side went all out to find the win that would have all but guaranteed their automatic qualification but were prevented by a formidable Richard Dunne display.
It leaves Russia on 17 points, with Giovanni Trapattoni's men just behind on 15, and the Irish will guarantee at least a play-off place if they can take maximum points in their final two games in Andorra and at home to Armenia.
The result in Moscow favoured Slovakia, but they failed to take the initiative and later collapsed at home with a 4-0 defeat to Armenia, who move level with the Slovaks on 14 points.
Yura Movsisyan broke the deadlock in the 57th minute and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Gevorg Ghazaryan and substitute Artur Sarkisov completed a rout which lifts Armenia to a shock third place in the group, only three points behind leaders Russia.
The victory opens up a four-way battle for the top two places, with Ireland's final game against them in October developing extra significance.
In the group's other encounter, Macedonia moved on to seven points with a 1-0 home win over pointless Andorra, but a late challenge for a top-two finish is mathematically beyond them.
Mirko Ivanovski's 59th-minute strike ultimately proved the difference between the sides as Macedonia registered their second win of the campaign.