A star studded Sweden side needed an own goal from Ciaran Clark at Stade de France, Saint – Denis to pick a point off the Republic of Ireland in the Group E clash at the ongoing Euro 2016 Championships on Monday 13 June.
Sweden’s reliance of their star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic was clear as most balls forward were directed at him. Early in the game Martin Olsson had a run up the left, hammering a cross that Glenn Whelan blocked for a throw in.
The ball made its way back to him from the throw-in and he crossed once more, but his ball was too high for Ibrahimovic at the far post.
Ireland who went to the game as the underdogs were giving a good account of themselves in the opening exchanges, with good defensive discipline as well as attacking acumen.
On the ninth minute Jonathan Walters knocked down a long throw and, from nowhere, Jeffrey Hendrick popped up to slam a shot at goal which saved and for a corner, from which Ireland failed to capitalize.
Two minutes later Sweden threatened through Marcus Beg but Ireland keeper Darren Randolph, with a good command of his area pulled a good save and a good spell for Ireland saw them win a 15th minute corner that Ibrahimovic struggled to clear.
Ireland then missed a great chance as Ciaran Clark headed down a corner across the box and John O’Shea, six yards out, made a half-hearted, foot-first dive at it, but failed to connect and thus missed a great chance to open the scores with the goal gaping.
Ibra was involved in the attacking half for the first time on the 21st minute as Sweden won a freekick some 35 meters out. The big forward opted to go for a powerful shot and in the end it backfired badly as he hit it straight into the wall.
The big forward would be caught offside moments later and on the opposite end Ireland went close with a rasping shot from Brady that missed the target by inches on the 28th minute.
Three minutes later it was Hendrick’s script, the midfielder orchestrating a great run from midfield before unleashing a shot that clattered into the bar to the shock of the star studded Sweden side.
The persistence for Ireland paid off three minutes after resumption with a lovely strike from Wesley Hoolahan. Seamus Coleman twisted his way up the right, before cutting the ball back high across the penalty area, taking out the entire Swedish defence and setting up Hoolahan to curl it home.
Emil Forsberg should have leveled the scores immediately after but smashed the ball over with the goal at his mercy after a poor Oshea clearance from a corner.
Ireland by virtue of being in the lead, attracted a barrage of attacks from Sweden and for once Ibrahimovic’s presence was felt in the game.
On the 71st minute, a wonderful, fast and incisive passing move sent the ball whizzing through the Irish defence. Ibrahimovic cut the ball across the face of goal and Ciaran Clark, with Larsson right behind him, headed the ball into his own net to see Sweden pull level.