Shane Duffy’s late header saw the Republic of Ireland earn a valuable point in their Euro 2020 qualifier at Denmark by securing a 1-1 draw in Copenhagen.
The Irish looked set for their first defeat of the campaign when Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg gave the Danes the lead on 76 minutes.
But Duffy’s 85th-minute bullet header, his third international goal, was enough to claim a point at the Telia Parken Stadium and preserve his side’s unbeaten start to their Group D campaign.
The draw is the fourth in five meetings between the sides in the last 19 months and while Republic boss Mick McCarthy will be delighted with his return from a battling performance in Copenhagen, opposite number Age Hareide was left kicking himself.
Darren Randolph made fine saves from Christian Eriksen and Yussuf Poulsen either side of the break, but Denmark wasted a series of golden opportunities to open the scoring before Hojbjerg belatedly did so, and they were ultimately made to pay.
The Danes entertain Georgia on Monday evening with just two points from the opening two qualifiers, while Ireland have banked seven ahead of Gibraltar’s trip to Dublin the same night.
Irish obstinacy – three of the four most recent encounters between the sides have finished 0-0 – has been a source of great exasperation to the Danes, with midfielder Thomas Delaney describing the Republic as his nation’s “most annoying” opponent in the run-up to the game.
Quite what the mood was in the home dressing room at the break on this occasion was a matter for debate with Denmark dominating the first half for long periods – Eriksen showed few signs of a Champions League final hangover – but without finding a way past goalkeeper Randolph.
It was Erisken who tested Randolph with an 11th-minute free-kick which bounced nastily in front of the goalkeeper, although he should have done better with 27 minutes played when he took advantage of a collision between Glenn Whelan and James McClean to race clear, although his decision to cut back on to his right foot to shoot allowed Jeff Hendrick to make a timely intervention.
In the meantime, Martin Braithwaite spurned two passable opportunities, but Kasper Schmeichel had found himself desperately clawing away Duffy’s improvised effort after Conor Hourihane had caught out the home defence with a devilish free-kick.
The Republic gradually managed to stem the tide as the half-time whistle approached, but McCarthy had work to do at the break.
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Poulsen squandered a glorious opportunity to put the Danes ahead within eight minutes of the restart when, after running on to Nicolai Jorgensen’s perfectly-weighted pass, he stepped inside Duffy’s lunge, but could not find a way past Randolph.
However, Ireland responded within seconds when Robbie Brady picked out McClean inside the box and he drilled a shot into the near post, where Schmeichel made a vital block.
David McGoldrick flicked a header onto the roof of the net with the visitors sensing an opportunity, but they were quickly put back in their place when Poulsen’s 59th-minute run only failed to result in the opening goal when Hourihane’s desperate challenge sent the ball agonisingly wide of the post.
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Braithwaite and Jorgensen both passed up good chances as McCarthy’s men became increasingly stretched, but the deadlock was broken with 14 minutes remaining when Hojbjerg timed his run to perfection to get to Jens Larsen’s cross ahead of Richard Keogh and glance a header past Randolph.
The lead lasted just nine minutes, however, and Ireland snatched a point as the game approached its final throes when Duffy climbed high above Simon Kjaer to power home a header from substitute Alan Judge’s free-kick and secure a potentially priceless point.
The Premier League season may have been done and dusted for over a week now but clubs are still naming the winners of their Player of the Year awards.
Some aren’t too surprising with the usual superstars having smashing seasons, but a few men have risen to the top and become shock heroes at their sides.
No one would have expected Ryan Fraser to bag 14 assists, while Luke Shaw established himself as a regular at Old Trafford, there was even shock among Tottenham Hotspur fans that Heung-Min Son won their accolade and not the rejuvenated Moussa Sissoko.
The duo, though, have done well this campaign and now earned the rewards for it.
It’s not just the PFA’s Player of the Year award that matters, the individual club honours mean a lot to recipients who are being credited for their consistent excellence over a single year.
But who are each Premier League club’s Player of the Year winners from the 2018/19 season? Find out below.
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AFC Bournemouth – Ryan Fraser
Fraser would have had strong competition from Callum Wilson, but he has deservedly picked up the prize. The Scotland international has been in remarkable form this season, scoring seven goals and registering 14 assists in the Premier League.
Lacazette has enjoyed a prolific season with Arsenal, netting 18 goals in all competitions. And despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being the club’s top scorer with 26 goals, Arsenal fans believe Lacazette has been their star man this season.
The Frenchman scored three goals across two legs in Arsenal’s successful Europa League semi-final games against Valencia.
Brighton – Shane Duffy
In what’s been a testing season, Brighton’s centre-back partnership of Duffy and Lewis Dunk has helped drag them over the line to Premier League safety.
Duffy, who has chipped in with five goals, has been crucial to the Seagulls’ resolute defence, which helped them earn unlikely draws against Arsenal and Wolves in recent weeks.
Burnley – Ashley Westwood
Westwood has missed just four Premier League games this season and has been one of Burnley’s standout performers since the turn of the year.
He picked up the club’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
Cardiff – Neil Etheridge
A fully deserved award by Cardiff’s goalkeeper in a season which will end in relegation.
Cardiff signed Alex Smithies in a £3.5million deal last summer which could have put Etheridge’s starting place at risk. However, the Philippines international played every minute of the Bluebirds’ Premier League season, which included three penalty saves.
He has also been the second busiest goalkeeper in the top-flight this term, making 141 saves.
Chelsea – Eden Hazard
Hazard is now a four-time winner of the club’s Player of the Year award. Who else was going to win it?
He has scored 19 goals and provided 16 assists for the Blues. If it is his farewell season, he will hope to bow out with a piece of silverware.
Crystal Palace – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
This wouldn’t have surprised many Palace fans given Wan-Bissaka’s stunning breakthrough campaign.
He is second and third in the charts for most interceptions and tackles, respectively. His form has reportedly alerted the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City.
At just 21, he will get even better with time.
Everton – Lucas Digne
Fulham – Yet to be announced
Huddersfield – Christopher Schindler
It has been a bleak season for Huddersfield, whose relegation to the Championship was confirmed more than six weeks ago.
They have won just three league games and accumulated 15 points. Only Fulham (81) have conceded more goals than Huddersfield (76) this season. Schindler, who scored the winning penalty in the 2017 Championship play-off final, has missed just one game in the 2018/19 campaign.
Leicester – Ricardo Pereira
The right-back has been one of Leicester’s most consistent players this season.
In his debut campaign in England, he has netted two goals and registered six assists in 35 Premier League appearances. He will be invaluable for the Foxes next term.
Liverpool – Yet to be announced
Manchester City – Bernardo Silva
Manchester United – Luke Shaw
In a season where United conceded 54 league goals – the most of any top-six side in England – it would seem odd to see a defender win this award. However, on a personal note, Shaw has had his best season in a Red Devils shirt.
The 2018/19 Premier League season is edging towards its conclusion and that can only mean one thing – the race for FPL glory is hotting up.
As Fantasy managers head into Gameweek 29, talkSPORT.com has identified the best bargain options you could choose to catch-up or stretch your lead on your mini league rivals.
Hear are our findings…
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Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United) – £6.4m
The Argentine has had a long lay-off with injury but impressed in his cameo appearances off the bench against Fulham and Manchester City.
At the top of his game, Lanzini is a forced to be reckoned with as he is a threat from set pieces and technically very gifted.
Now he is close to returning to full fitness he could be in line for a first start for the Hammers in over six months and has a favourable home fixture against Newcastle.
He is owned by just 0.1% of managers and could be a bargain differential for the rest of the season.
Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) – £5.5m
The Foxes youngster has broken through into the Leicester starting team, with four starts in his last four matches and has put in a string of fine displays in his appearances.
Against Brighton he was deployed on the left flank in an attacking formation and registered more shots than any other player on the pitch.
Barnes always seems a threat and is owned by just 0.3% of managers – he also has great fixtures against Watford, Fulham and Burnley next.
Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion – £4.7m)
Brighton’s centre-back has scored more goals (5) than any other defender this season and he looks dangerous at every set piece.
He has had the second most shots of any defender in the game – runner-up to Matt Doherty – and there is strong potential for Brighton to get a clean sheet against bottom side Huddersfield in their next fixture.
James Maddison – (Leicester City – £6.6m)
Another potential FPL goldmine over the coming weeks could be Maddison.
Leicester’s favourable run of fixtures against Watford, Fulham and Burnley are hard to ignore and with a new attacking manager in Brendan Rodgers at the helm there is a case to stock up on Leicester players.
Maddison has created 21 chances over the last four weeks – significantly more than any other player in the division.
He is also a threat from set-pieces and is a cheaper option.
Pedro (Chelsea) – £6.3m
The veteran winger was Chelsea’s standout player against Tottenham and scored his eighth of the season in the match.
The Blues make the short trip to Fulham on Sunday and the Craven Cottage outfit have shipped in more goals than any other side this season (63).
Pedro also has a good record against the Cottagers having hauled 14 points in the first contest between the sides earlier this term.
Victor Lindelof (Manchester United) – £5.1m
Manchester United’s revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen their defensive issues improve with six clean sheets in the 11 games under the Norwegian.
Lindelof has been in great form – racking up 30 points in his last four outings.
Southampton travel to Old Trafford on the back of a 2-0 victory against Fulham but they only have three goals in their last four away trips.
Lindelof is a certain starter and offers great value due to the superb form of the Red Devils.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool – £5.3m)
The Reds full-back became the youngest Premier League player to assist three goals in a game against Watford in mid-week and could continue his good form against Everton on Sunday.
Most FPL managers will know Alexander-Arnold is a great asset in the game and he is still at an absolute bargain at £5.3m.
He is also playing in the best performing back four in the league – with Liverpool recording 16 clean sheets so far this season.
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