Duffy grabs a draw for Ireland in Copenhagen

Duffy grabs a draw for Ireland in Copenhagen
Ireland's Shane Duffy celebrates scoring the equaliser. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Denmark 1 Ireland 1

SHANE Duffy was the hero last night as the Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 with Denmark in their Euro 2020 qualifier in Copenhagen.

The powerful defender was on hand to head home a free from Alan Judge in the 84th minute to rescue a point for Mick McCarthy's side.

In a lively start to the game, it was the Danes who had the first real attempt on goal after Conor Hourihane was adjudged to have fouled Lasse Schone 25 yards out.

Eriksen stepped up to a curl an 11th-minute free-kick over the wall which bounced nastily in front of goalkeeper Darren Randolph, who managed to turn it around the post.

Randolph was in action again two minutes later but this time saved Martin Braithwaite's skidding drive more comfortably.

However, it was the visitors who almost took the lead after 21 minutes when central defender Shane Duffy bundled Hourihane's inviting free-kick towards goal, where Kasper Schmeichel just managed to prevent it from crossing the line.

Duffy was in the right place at the right time at the other end four minutes later to block another a Braithwaite effort after Schone and Yussuf Poulsen had combined to play him in.

Ireland managed to stem the tide as the first half entered its final 10 minutes to the point that the home fans indulged in a Mexican Wave, although the visitors were able to create little of note going forward.

The half-time whistle sounded with the game still goalless, proving a source of greater frustration to Denmark.

Ireland started the second half in promising fashion but they almost succumbed within eight minutes.

Striker Nicolai Jorgensen initially saw a fiercely-struck shot blocked by Richard Keogh, and when the resulting corner was only half-cleared, he played in Poulsen only for Randolph to deny him.

McClean then came close to giving the visitors the lead seconds later when, after being picked out superbly by Robbie Brady, he saw his effort repelled at the near post by Kasper Schmeichel.

Denmark were becoming increasingly frustrated as chances continued to go begging with Hourihane's last-ditch 59th-minute block denying Poulsen and Braithwaite and Jorgensen both passing up good opportunities.

Fifteen minutes from time Denmark finally made the breakthrough, with Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - on just three minutes earlier for Lasse Schone - nipping in front of Richard Keough to head home from 11 yards a whipped-in cross from Jens Stryger Larsen.

In the 84th minute, the Republic responded superbly with Shane Duffy timing his run and jump to perfection to an inswinging free-kick from Alan Judge to beat Schmeichel with a downward header from six yards.

Denmark's Lasse Schone with Conor Hourihane and James McClean of Ireland. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Denmark's Lasse Schone with Conor Hourihane and James McClean of Ireland. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

McCarthy had named an unchanged side as the Republic of Ireland attempted to defend a perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying Group D in Denmark.

He kept faith with the 11 who secured a 1-0 win over Georgia at the Aviva Stadium in March, which meant starts for Glenn Whelan and Robbie Brady in midfielder, while David McGoldrick was again given the nod up front.

Denmark boss Age Hareide handed Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen the chance to banish the memory of last weekend's Champions League final misery as he made just one change to the side which fought back to draw 3-3 in Switzerland, with Andreas Christensen replacing Mathias Jorgensen.

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