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Republic held by Denmark in dour stalemate

Dublin (AFP) – Republic of Ireland are still waiting for their first win in the Nations League after being held to a dour 0-0 draw by Denmark on Saturday.

Martin O’Neill’s side are bottom of their three-team group, with this tepid stalemate at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium following a 4-1 thrashing by Wales in their first match.

Ireland are without a win in their last four competitive matches.

Denmark beat Wales in their opener and have four points from two matches in the new competition, which offers qualification for Euro 2020.

Matt Doherty was handed a first start for the Republic as O’Neill made six changes.

There was a place for Cardiff midfielder Harry Arter following his return to the squad after resolving his differences with assistant manager Roy Keane.

Denmark were without injured playmaker Christian Eriksen and the Tottenham star’s absence rendered the side toothless.

Tempers frayed within five minutes of kick-off when, with Denmark’s Thomas Delaney apparently attempting to play the ball into touch after Arter had gone down injured, Jeff Hendrick robbed him and raced in on goal before shooting wide, sparking an ugly confrontation.

Arter made a crucial 58th-minute goal-line clearance to keep his side level as he hacked away Simon Kjaer’s header from a Lasse Schone corner.

Shane Long teed up Cyrus Christie for a ferocious strike from outside the area which drew a fine save from Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Denmark threatened again when Pione Sisto picked out Martin Braithwaite, but his effort was well saved by Darren Randolph.

The Irish had a late penalty appealed turned down when Shane Duffy was booked for diving after appearing to be bundled over.

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