Euro: Spoils shared after own goal

Euro Ireland Sweden draw
13 June 2016; Sweden players celebrate after Ciaran Clark of Republic of Ireland scored an own goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ciaran Clark’s Euro own goal saw Ireland Sweden draw

An agonising own goal from Ciaran Clark meant Sweden held Ireland to a frustrating draw in their opening Euro 2016 tie, after Ireland had dominated the first half.

The Aston Villa defender reacted under pressure from a low Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross back into the box, cancelling out Wes Holohan’s opening goal which gave the boys in green a deserved lead.


Martin O’Neill’s side dominated the first-half as they attacked Isaac Isaksson’s goal with Derby County’s Jeff Hendrick one of Ireland’s most dangerous attacking threats, hitting the cross bar in the opening period. All the talk prior to the game had been focussed on the menacing Ibrahimovic and in the end it was he who forced the error from Clark.

Euro Ireland Sweden draw
13 June 2016; Wes Hoolahan, centre, of Republic of Ireland celebrates after he scored his side’s first goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland’s opening goal was of superb quality after Seamus Coleman twisted and turned to the edge of the box from the right wing, before whipping a dangerous ball into the box.

Holohan had to run out of position to meet it, but struck a sweet half-volley from 14 yards past the reach of Isaksson.

But Ireland began to sit back and invited the Swedes to put pressure on their goal before the Paris Saint-Germain striker, who had been uncharacteristically quiet for the most part, put in the ill-fated cross from left of the goal-line.

Euro Ireland Sweden draw
13 June 2016; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill after the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“We were fantastic I don’t know how we didn’t come in three goals in front. It was a really great effort from the team. It was more than that, we never lack effort, but we have seen over the past few years sometimes you need more than effort,” Martin O’Neill told RTE Sport after the game.

“Wes got a fantastic goal after half-time, he stuck it in after great work from Seamus Coleman.

“We had to weather the storm for a little while. There were lots of corner kicks that we had to defend as strongly as we could. They were entitled to come into the game at some stage or other.

“There is real disappointed in the dressing room now, as we could have come away with three points, but I am delighted with the performance.

“The players have come on leaps and bounds at international level. They can fight it out amongst the very best.”

Ireland will need to pick up points if they are to progress to the knock out stages, with themselves and Sweden now tied on a point a piece.

They face Belgium on Saturday before having to face Italy in their final group game next Wednesday evening.


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