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Dublin: 9°C Friday 23 October 2020

Coleman and Clark staying positive despite the disappointment of conceding a late goal

The defensive duo are focused on getting themselves ready for Monday’s second leg against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Coleman salutes away fans at full-time.
Coleman salutes away fans at full-time.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Ben Blake reports from Bosnia-Herzegovina

SEAMUS COLEMAN ACCEPTS Ireland’s 1-1 draw in Zenica was a good result, but he can’t help feeling that it may have been a missed opportunity.

Only five minutes remained on the clock when Edin Dzeko cancelled out Robbie Brady’s solo effort to leave the Euro 2016 play-off evenly-poised — although Martin O’Neill’s men do hold the slight advantage of an away goal.

“We probably would have taken a 1-1 draw (before the game) with the away goal,” Coleman told reporters after the game.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re not overly-disappointed and we have to be positive going into Monday but we’re slightly disappointed to concede so soon after scoring.

They are a threat and they have got good players so we have to prepare again, get the bodies right and look forward to Monday.

“You have to defend well when you come away to difficult places like this and I thought the two centre-halves did that and gave us a platform to go on and score the goal so it’s just a pity we conceded.”

With John O’Shea absent, Ciaran Clark deputised at centre-half alongside Richard Keogh and the Aston Villa defender came in for praise from manager Martin O’Neill after keeping Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic quiet for much of the game.

Ciaran Clark with Vedad Ibisevic Clark tussles with Vedad Ibisevic of Bosnia. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“They had a lot of possession in the first half and put plenty of balls into the box,” said Clark.

“They created a couple of decent chances where they could have possibly scored but thankfully for us they didn’t go in and we managed to get the first goal.

“That could turn out to be a big goal for us. We’ve got to get re-focused and go into the game like it is 0-0 again.”

The 26-year-old had to time his interception perfectly in the second half to cut out a cross with Roma striker Dzeko ready to pounce. His partner Keogh was unable to get his toe to a similar ball late in the tie, however, as the Bosnian captain pulled them level.

“As a defender, you’ve just got to try get something on it and so many balls like that go flying into the back of the net,” he said. “Thankfully for me, Darren (Randolph) was able to just scoop it up but it was a pretty heart-stopping moment.

On playing the second half in heavy fog, he added: “I’ve never experienced anything like that before and it was getting worse as the half went on but everyone came through it and we got a good result.”

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Ben Blake

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