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Macdara Ferris in Copenhagen
It is all to play for in the second leg of the World Cup playoff set to take place at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night. For Ireland, having come to Copenhagen to at the very least take away a draw, it is a case of job done thanks to some typical resolute defending.
The clean sheet made it seven competitive away matches that Ireland are now unbeaten in. Ireland are however required to go and score a goal on Tuesday if they are to progress – or face penalties if it remains scoreless over 120 minutes.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill feels that one goal might not even be enough for his side in the second leg.
“I think with the players Denmark possess they are capable of scoring a goal,” said O’Neill in his short post-match press conference in the Parken Stadium after the 0-0 draw with the Danes.
“We might have to score two to win the match. That is the way I’m looking at it. We will have to show a bit more creativity during the course of the game in the Aviva.
“I think we are capable of doing that, urged on by a good crowd. We have a lot to play for.”
Eight Ireland players started the first leg with yellow cards and all eight will be available for selection in the Aviva. extratime.ie asked O’Neill just how pleased he was with his team’s discipline to keep it that way.
“That was remarkable really that there wasn’t a yellow card tonight. From our view point that was good.”
O’Neill claimed it was a “real physical battle” but the players certainly didn’t go off their feet into too many tackles, maybe a function of a pitch that the Ireland boss said was “pretty awkward”.
Outside the stadium and across the city, Copenhagen local election posters were on display. While Christian Eriksen won the popular vote in the man-of-the-match award via a text election from spectators in the ground, it was Darren Randolph who should have got that prize at the conclusion of a tense 90 minutes.
The Middlesbrough ‘keeper kept his sixth clean sheet in his last 11 competitive internationals. He pulled off a couple of double saves in the first half, with this finger tip save right at the death from sub Yussuf Poulsen keeping the tie scoreless going to Dublin.
“Darren Randolph is a very fine goalkeeper,” said his manager. “He made an excellent save where he tipped it over the bar but that has been the way he was been playing for us in this campaign.”
There will be nearly 15,000 more spectators in Dublin on Tuesday, with a lot less away fans sitting in home sections of the stadium than in the Parken Stadium. That home support in the Aviva should spur on Ireland according to O’Neill.
“We want to be better in Dublin when we are playing in front of the home fans. In all honesty we will need to be as we will need to score a goal. It is very evenly poised. I said last night that they are capable of scoring in the Aviva.”
Reaction from the Danish camp: Fireworks off the pitch but not on it in Parken Stadium