Ciaran Clark own goal denies Irish win in Euro 2016 opener

Ciaran Clark own goal denies Irish win in Euro 2016 opener

sweden-republic-of-ireland-wes-hoolahan-celeb-euro-2016_3483459Republic of Ireland were forced to settle for a point in their Euro 2016 opener after Ciaran Clark’s own goal saw them draw 1-1 with Sweden in Paris.

Wes Hoolahan’s sumptuous half-volley three minutes after the interval had given Martin O’Neill’s men a deserved lead at the Stade de France.

But Clark provided the one blotch on what was an otherwise encouraging performance, levelling the contest on 71 minutes when he headed Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cross beyond the stricken Darren Randolph.

The Irish now head to Bordeaux to take on the highest-ranked team in the tournament, Belgium, on Saturday while Sweden take on Italy in Toulouse on Friday.

After a stirring rendition of the Irish national anthem sounded out around the Stade de France, Ireland set about imposing their game on Sweden, and created their first opening after nine minutes when Jeff Hendrick’s rasping drive forced Andreas Isaksson to tip the ball behind for a corner.

Sweden responded two minutes later when Ibrahimovic’s raking diagonal ball almost fell for Marcus Berg, but Irish stopper Randolph was quick off his line to gather.

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