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Published: 22:05 | 25/3/16

Clark heads Ireland to win over Switzerland

Shane Duffy named Man of the Match

Ireland kicked off their Euro 2016 preparation's with a well drilled 1-0 win over Switzerland at the Aviva.

Ciaran Clark’s header after two minutes was enough to seal the win for Martin O’Neill’s men after an impressive defensive performance from Clark and Shane Duffy left O'Neill with plenty to think about.

The hosts started with a real intensity and they took the lead after just two minutes.

Robbie Brady whipped in a superb corner that was met by Shane Duffy who headed into the path of Clark and he made no mistake in heading home to make it 1-0.

Switzerland reacted well to the goal and they almost levelled from a corner of their own after 16 minutes.

Blerim Dzemaili whipped in a good ball that was met by Haris Seferovic but he headed just over Darren Randolph’s bar from six yards out.

The visitors were certainly the more composed on the ball as they forced Ireland onto the back-foot and they threatened again ten minutes before the break.

Granit Xhaka collected 25 yards from goal and hit a powerful effort that looked to be heading wide before it was deflected on target but Randolph was on hand to safely gather.

The Swiss continued to dominate possession after this but it was Ireland who were next to threaten as they almost doubled their advantage after 37 minutes.

A quick free quick released Seamus Coleman down the right and he clipped an inch perfect cross onto the head of Shane Long but his header came back off the underside bar as the Swiss survived and went in just one down at the break.

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with the visitors dominating possession without really threatening Randolph in the home goal.

And they had wait until 15 minutes into the half for the first real sight of goal in the second period.

Blerim Dzemaili slipped in Breel Embolo but he was denied by a brilliant recovery challenge from the impressive Clark.

Ireland seemed content to sit back and let Switzerland control the ball and they continued to looked comfortable in defnece throughout the half but they were almost undone eight minutes from time.

After a scramble inside the Ireland area, the ball dropped to Pajtim Kasami on the edge of the box. The former Fulham man teed up Shani Tarashaj and his deflected strike trickled just millimetres past the post.

Again, though, it was Ireland who looked the more threatening on the break and they almost wrapped up the victory in the final minute.

Wes Hoolahan pressed Kasami who lost the ball to debutant Eunan O’Kane, the Bournemouth man broke through but he dragged his effort just past the post.

The miss mattered little, though, as Ireland held on to collect a valuable win as they continue their preparation for Euro 2016.

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