World Cup: Ciaran Clark takes confidence from shutting out Zlatan Ibrahimovic
23 March 2013 12:32
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Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark says he will take a lot of confidence from shutting out Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 0-0 draw in Stockholm.
Sweden's superstar striker, who scored four goals against England last November, endured a frustrating night against a stubborn Ireland defence in their World Cup qualifier.
His one meaningful effort was deflected wide and Aston Villa centre-back Clark enjoyed the challenge, saying: "He is a big, strong guy and his technical ability is unbelievable.
"So managing to keep a clean sheet away from home is obviously a brilliant result.
"I am sure it will give the whole back four, and everyone else, confidence going into the next game."
That will be against Austria back in Dublin on Tuesday and although Germany have taken a five-point lead at the top of Group C, the battle behind them is tight.
Ireland have slipped to fourth but they are just a point behind second-placed Sweden and level with Austria.
Clark, 23, said: "It is a big game but we are happy with the point in Sweden and we can go on now, play at home on Tuesday and with a big crowd behind us hopefully we can get three points."
Ireland were good value for their draw although Sweden had the more clear-cut chances with goalkeeper David Forde forced into three top-class saves.
Clark said: "It is always a tough place to come. They have had some good results recently and for us to get a draw is a brilliant result in the end.
"We always felt we might get a chance to go on and get the goal. We had a couple of half-chances and were a bit unlucky not to come away with three points.
"Fordey made one or two good saves to keep us in the game but other than that we managed to keep them quiet.
"We showed we can create chances and we could have won the game. We have got to concentrate on the next game now."