Sam McKeever reports from Aviva Stadium
Martin O’Neill's Republic of Ireland side played out a scoreless draw against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night in their second UEFA Nations League game. O’Neill's three-at-the-back formation proved solid enough to keep the Danes at bay on this visit to Dublin at least.
The Boys in Green almost got off to a fantastic start inside the opening minutes. Confusion from the Denmark players as they thought they were instructed to put the ball out for a throw in for treatment for an Injured Harry Arter.
Jeff Hendrick took advantage dispossessing Thomas Delaney who seemed to stop playing, leaving the Burnley midfielder with a straight run on goal. He could not take the chance as his effort went just past the post.
In a game which did not have much to shout about it took until the 33rd minute for Denmark to have their first half chance. Middlesbrough midfielder Martin Braithwaite played a good ball to the back post which was met by Kasper Dolberg with the striker diverting his effort over the bar.
Just a few minutes later and Ireland created a decent chance of their own. Hendrick put the ball to the back post from a dead ball situation finding the run of Shane Duffy who jumped too early with his tame header going wide.
A minute from the break and Denmark caused panic in the Irish defence. A deep cross from Dalsgaard seemed to take Matt Doherty by surprise and he took a touch instead of clearing it away. Denmark skipper Simon Kjaer tried to pressure the Wolves defender to put it into his own net but he stayed calm and diverted it away for a corner.
The closing mintues of the half were probably the best spell of the opening period. Celta Vigo winger Pione Sisto cut inside onto his left foot and tried to bend it into the far corner his effort had Randolph scrambling with Sisto unlucky to hit the post.
The start of the second half continued where it left off with the game being played at a slow tempo. Denmark were making more of an effort to try and get on the front foot and Sisto was involved once again with a curling effort from the Celta Vigo winger just going past Randolph’s right hand post.
A few minutes later and the away side came close to breaking the deadlock. An out-swinging corner from Larsen found the head of Kjaer at the front post who got a good head on it despite being under pressure.
It had Randolph beaten before Cardiff midfielder Harry Arter came to the rescue hacking the ball off the line.
It took until the final 20 minutes before Ireland had their real first shot on goal of the second half. Shane Long picked up the ball from a cross.
He passed it off to Cyrus Christie on the edge of the box who hit a powerful strike with his right foot which Kasper Schmeichel had to get down well to save.
The Danes could of won the match with six minutes to go. Sisto was influential again running at the Irish back three and he found Martin Braithwaite in a bit of space with the Middlesbrough midfielder hitting a decent effort at the front post but his Middlebrough counterpart Darren Randolph got down well to hold it and not parry it out.
Republic of Ireland:Darren Randolph; Matt Doherty, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Callum O’Dowda(Enda Stevens 45), Shane Long(Aiden O’Brien 83); James McClean, Jeff Hendrick, Richard Keogh; Kevin Long Harry Arter (Callum Robinson 63),
Subs not used:Colin Doyle, Sean McDermott, Ciaran Clark, David Meyler, Shaun Williams, Sean Maguire, John Egan, Conor Hourihane,Scott Hogan
Booked:Harry Arter (7), Cyrus Christie (64), Shane Duffy (90).
Denmark:Kasper Schmeichel; Simon Kjaer, Thomas Delaney, Kasper Dolberg (Anders Christiansen 79), Martin Braithwaite; Mathias Jorgensen, Henrik Dalsgaard, Jens Stryger Larsen, Lasse Schone; Yussuf Polusen, Pione Sisto
Subs not used:Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronnow, Peter Ankersen, Jannik Vestergaard, Jonas Knudsen, Andreas Christensen,Mike Jensen, Pierre Hojbjerg, Lukas Learager, Andreas Cornelius
Booked: Thomas Delaney (56)
Referee:Javi Estrada (Spain)
Man of the Match:Cyrus Christie (Ireland)