Denmark 1-1 Republic of Ireland: Shane Duffy maintains unbeaten start
Highlights and report as Irish extend lead at top of Group D to three points
Last Updated: 08/06/19 7:26am
Shane Duffy scored an 85th-minute equaliser as the Republic of Ireland maintained their unbeaten start to Euro 2020 qualification with a 1-1 draw against Denmark in Copenhagen.
Denmark looked on course to register the first victory of their qualifying campaign when substitute Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg headed the hosts in front on 76 minutes, just four minutes after coming off the bench.
But Duffy's towering header from Alan Judge's exquisite free-kick five minutes from time earned Mick McCarthy's side a credible away point to strengthen their bid to reach next summer's tournament.
The draw moves Ireland on to seven points at the top of Group D, three clear of second-placed Switzerland and five clear of Denmark, who have now drawn their opening two games.
Denmark: Schmeichel (7), Larsen (6), Kjaer (6), Christensen (6), Daalsgard (6), Delaney (6), Schone (6), Braithwaite (5), Eriksen (7), Poulsen (7), Jorgensen (5).
Subs: Dolberg (5), Hojbjerg (6)
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (7), Coleman (6), Duffy (8), Keogh (7), Stevens (7), Hourihane (7), Whelan (6), Hendrick (6), Brady (6), McClean (6), McGoldrick (6).
Subs: Judge (6), Hogan (n/a), Robinson (n/a)
Man of the Match: Shane Duffy.
The early chances in Copenhagen fell to the hosts but Darren Randolph kept them at bay, tipping Christian Eriksen's bobbling free-kick behind on 11 minutes before getting down low to his right to prevent Martin Braithwaite firing Denmark into the lead.
Duffy thought he had given Ireland the lead on 21 minutes when his hooked effort, an improvised attempt while Henrik Dalsgaard had hold of his arm in the area, found the target, but Kasper Schmeichel blocked the shot on the line.
Denmark responded with two chances of their own in quick succession. Eriksen's cross from the right was poked into the path of Yussuf Poulsen but, just as he shaped to pull the trigger, Richard Keogh intervened with a last-gasp challenge.
From the resulting corner, Thomas Delaney was given free rein to attack Lasse Schone's cross. He headed wide but that flurry of activity signified Denmark's growing attacking threat as Eriksen began to pull the strings in midfield.
Denmark laid siege to the Irish goal in the second half. Randolph was needed to prevent Poulsen from slotting the opening goal at the end of a slick move within eight minutes of the restart, but Ireland gave as good as they got as James McClean's near-post drive drew Schmeichel into action before David McGoldrick's glancing header nestled on the roof of the net.
Poulsen, Braithwaite and Thomas Delaney all spurned chances gilt-edged chances before the Danish pressure finally told 14 minutes from time; Jens Larsen's wicked cross from the left glanced into the back of the net by Southampton midfielder Hojbjerg - his third international goal.
Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side from the Republic of Ireland’s win against Georgia last time out. Less than a week on from defeat in the Champions League final, Christian Eriksen started for Denmark, who made one change as Andreas Christensen replaced Mathias Jørgensen at centre-back.
But Ireland ensured they would leave Denmark with their unbeaten record in tact as Duffy rose high to meet Judge's free-kick from the right and sent a powerful header into the ground and beyond Schmeichel.
- Republic of Ireland are unbeaten in their last five games (W2 D3), their best run since going six games without defeat from August 2016 to March 2017.
- Denmark are now unbeaten in eight games in all competitions (W4 D4), though they have drawn each of their last four games in this run.
- Republic of Ireland failed to score in the first half - this was their ninth consecutive away game without doing so, last netting before half-time on the road against Georgia in September 2017.
- Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was the first player to score against a Republic of Ireland side managed by Mick McCarthy since Fabio Celestini for Switzerland in October 2002.
- Højbjerg's goal ended a run of four games without conceding for Republic of Ireland, having not conceded since October 2018 against Wales in the UEFA Nations League.
- All three of Shane Duffy's international goals have been headers, two of which have been scored against Denmark (also in Nov 2017 & Sep 2017 v Georgia).
Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy speaking to Sky Sports: "It's nice to come and earn it [a point], and I thought we did earn it tonight. The resilience impressed me. We played against a very good Denmark team who passed through us at times and made chances. But, having conceded the goal, the desire to get back into the game, it was us at the end trying to get another goal. To come here and take them on, stand toe-to-toe with them and create chances, I think that's progress."
Morrison hails motivator McCarthy
Ex-Ireland striker Clinton Morrison told Sky Sports: "Mick is a great man manager - he's brilliant on the training pitch and makes everyone feel welcome. I'm not saying there wasn't a good atmosphere under Martin O'Neill but it feels like there's good togetherness in this Ireland squad. We are seeing something special now, that never say die attitude, and Mick installs that in teams."
Walters salutes 'colossal' Duffy
Former Republic of Ireland forward Jon Walters told Sky Sports: "Shane Duffy is a colossus of a man in both boxes, he made so many blocks in the first half and is always a threat at set pieces. When he goes up he normally has two or three men marking him at one time. That was the case with the goal, when he bullied Denmark's centre-half and captain and attacked the ball aggressively."
Republic of Ireland host Gibraltar in Euro 2020 qualification on Monday - live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30pm (kick-off at 7.45pm).
Denmark, meanwhile, host Georgia at the same time - live on Sky Sports Football - Red Button from 7.35pm.