If Carlsberg made good results, ROI got one!
Denmark v Rep. of Ireland
Randolph to the rescue as Martin O’Neill’s men hold out for a 0-0 away in Copenhagen.
It wasn’t pretty but it was effective as the Middlesboro stopper made a string of fine saves to ensure The Republic of Ireland took a talented Denmark side back to the Aviva Stadium in a winner takes all game on Tuesday night.
Despite a man of the match performance from Darren Randolph (6th clean sheet of the campaign) and couple of others, Shane Duffy included, it was a case of more of the same and an expected style of play from the Boys in Green, frustratingly opting to bypass midfield and turn over possession at every opportunity. Daryl Murphy cut a frustrated figure alone against the Danish backline as long ball after long ball went over his head with the visitors offering little to nothing in an attacking sense.
The home side, and favorites, had two glorious chances in the first half alone. Centre back / playmaker for the evening, Kjaer found full-back Stryger Larsen, who volleyed a brilliantly at Darren Randolph. The rebound fell to the feet of Andreas Cornelius but just as he looked to slot home, Randolph scurried across his line to make it an incredible double save.
Moments later, Randolph again was equal to Eriksen’s strike from outside the box. Pione Sisto had the goal at his mercy but somehow put it wide of the post.
Right before the half, Cyrus Christie had probably the only chance for the visitors, making a lung bursting run to round Jens Stryger Larsen but Kasper Schmeichal made himself big to deny the full back.
Depending on how you see it, a 0-0 away in a play-off qualifier could be seen as a decent result, but in a one off game and the opportunity of a valuable away goal now gone, questions should be asked as to why there was not more attacking intent from Ireland.
On a positive note, the vast number of players who had the threat of suspension looming escaped unscathed and remain available for selection along the return of David Meylor will be seen as an undoubted boost as the Boys in Green look to book their place at Russia 2018.
Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel; Peter Ankersen, Simon Kjaer ©, Andreas Bjelland, Jens Stryger Laresen; Thomas Delaney, William Kvist, Christian Eriksen; Andreas Cornelius (Yussuf Poulsen 64), Nicolai Jorgensen, Pione Sisto (Nicklas Bendtner 72).
Subs Not Used: Jonas Lossl, Jesper Hansen, Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Mathias Jørgensen, Lukas Lerager, Lasse Schone, Jonas Knudsen, Mike Jensen, Viktor Fischer.
Republic of Ireland: Darren Randolph; Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, Stephen Ward; Harry Arter (Glenn Whelan 88); Callum O’Dowda, Jeff Hendrick (Conor Hourihane 90+3), Robbie Brady, James McClean; Daryl Murphy (Shane Long 74).
Subs Not Used: Kieren Westwood, Rob Elliot, John O’Shea, Matt Doherty, Kevin Long, Paul McShane, Aiden McGeady, Wes Hoolahan, Scott Hogan.