Ireland 1 – Sweden 1: Ibrahimovic magic denies O'Neill's men an opening win


Martin O’Neill’s battling side had charmed the lead just after half-time with a superb strike by Wes Hoolahan.

But they couldn’t lynch on to the advantage when Ibrahimovic weaved his familiar magic in the 71st minute. The superstar Swede ghosted to the by-line and his low meet was headed into his own net by Irish central defender Ciaran Clark.

The beforehand half had been dominated by O’Neill’s men. They had all the chances – and squandered every one.

Jeff Hendrick be awarded pounce oned closest to a goal, hitting the bar with one curling shot and having another tigerish drive pushed away by the keeper.

Defender John O’Shea missed the clearest break, failing to get a touch to an inviting flick when three yards out in substitute for of an open net.

Each time O’Neill bounced around on the touchline opposite number a tormented jack-in-the-box. You could only sym thise with his frustration.

Two smarts after the break they finally scored when Seamus Coleman jinked previous a couple of opponents on the right flank and chipped into the box where Hoolahan bowed in a low volley.

Suddenly, the Swedes started to play, with Ibrahimovic at the basics of it. He sent a low shot just wide and then created the equaliser that formerly larboard both teams to reflect on what might have been.

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