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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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Here’s the Serbia starting XI for tonight.

4Mins

Great start for Ireland.

Brady’s free kick is parried away, but O’Shea lofts the ball back into the box from out wide.

Ivanovic mishits a clearance and it falls to Hendrick, whose shot deflects in off the Chelsea defender.

8Mins

Interestingly, Roy Keane told Hendrick in the build-up to this game that he needed to score more.

That effort was the perfect response from Burnley’s new signing.

10Mins

Danger for Ireland as Serbia find space out wide.

The cross falls to Tadic, but he hesitates, and the danger is averted.

11Mins

Ivanovic has somehow just escaped a booking for a very late challenge on  Glenn Whelan.

Randolph’s subsequent free kick sails over the head of Long and goes harmlessly out for a goal kick.

14Mins

The long ball to Shane Long has been tried a few times now, but it’s not really sticking at the moment.

Ireland need to keep the ball a bit better.

18Mins

A lovely backheel from Mitrovic creates space for Kostic, but the attacker’s shot from outside the area is straight at Randolph.

Serbia have looked the slightly more threatening of the two sides since the goal.

21Mins

Stephen Ward appears to win the ball, but he follows through with his right foot and gets booked as a result.

Randolph deals with the ensuing free kick unconvincingly, and Ireland clear nervously.

23Mins

Ireland are coming under a good bit of pressure now.

Kostic’s shot forces Randolph to parry the ball away.

27Mins

Hendrick has just been booked for a rather innocuous 50:50 headed challenge, after the Serbia player goes down holding his face.

The official certainly needs no invitation to produce a yellow card.

32Mins

More panic in the Ireland box, as Keogh mis-kicks a cross.

However, fortunately for Martin O’Neill’s side, the ball then deflects harmlessly out of play.

36Mins

Poor play from Ireland.

Hendrick and Brady play a one-two from a corner, only for the former to be caught offside.

The visitors need to make better use of their set pieces, as it’s probably their best chance of a goal.

37Mins

Chance for Ireland!

Brady’s free kick from out wide finds the head of Walters, but Rajkovic does well to parry the effort away.

40Mins

Ireland are having serious problems keeping the ball.

Jeff Hendrick is the latest culprit with a stray pass, as his side are put under further pressure as a result.

43Mins

Serbia are increasingly dominant in terms of possession and territory.

As I type however, Hendrick and Long break, and the Southampton star wins a throw-in.

44Mins

Sam Vokes has just given Wales a 1-0 lead over Moldova in a game that kicked off at roughly the same time as this one.

Looks like there won’t be a surprise result there.

48Mins

There was another chance for Serbia just before the break there.

Randolph could only parry a cross, and the ball fell to Mitrovic, but the Newcastle striker couldn’t sort his feet out in time, and the chance was wasted.

Boos from the home crowd greeted the half-time whistle.

So it’s 1-0 to Ireland at half-time, but the Boys in Green have been less than convincing.

The Irish side have struggled to keep the ball, and Serbia have upped the pressure as the half wore on and will ultimately feel they’re unlucky not to be level after spurning a few decent chances.

It’s as if Ireland have been hindered rather than boosted by the early goal, as Serbia have grown since then, while the visitors have played as if they’ve something to lose.

The introduction off the bench of Wes Hoolahan could come sooner rather than later, as Ireland need someone to get the team passing the ball.

47Mins

The second half is continuing where the first left off so far.

Serbia are dominating possession and territory, while Ireland are sitting back with two banks off four.

50Mins

Good play from Walters, who wins a free kick in a tight space, relieving the pressure on the defence in the process.

Ireland need more of that type of play if they are to hang on to this lead.

53Mins

It’s now 3-0 to Wales against Moldova.

That game is effectively all over.

54Mins

Ireland find themselves in a good position, but McClean tries to take on two men when the cross is on and loses it cheaply.

Ireland’s decision-making on the ball has been very poor in this match.

58Mins

The ball breaks to Rukavina on the edge of the box, and his curling effort goes just wide.

There are shades of Bosnia away, and Sweden and France at the Euros. The opposition keep applying the pressure and you feel as if a goal will come eventually.

60Mins

Coleman has just been penalised for a foul throw.

There have been so many similar incidents of sloppy play from Ireland tonight.

63Mins

1-1 and it’s more than Serbia deserve.

O’Shea fails to clear and it breaks to Kosic, who makes no mistake from close range.

It felt inevitable, given how negatively Ireland have been playing.

65Mins

Strange as it may seem, that goal could be a wake-up call for Ireland.

Already, they seem to be playing with a bit more positivity and are getting greater numbers forward.

67Mins

Another chance for Serbia.

Randolph parries a cross, and the ball is played back in to Tadic, whose weak shot is easily saved by the West Ham stopper.

67Mins

PENALTY FOR SERBIA!

69Mins

Tadic strikes a penalty into the roof of the net.

It was a dubious decision, as Kosic went down under a challenge from Walters, but there appeared to be minimal contact judging by replays.

71Mins

Stephen Quinn has replaced Stephen Ward.

It looks like Robbie Brady will go to left-back now.

73Mins

The ball is in the net, but it’s ruled out for offside, as Walters headed Hendrick’s cross home.

It was a good decision, as the replay revealed.

75Mins

Ireland win their first corner of the second half and second overall.

15 minutes remain, as Daryl Murphy replaces Jeff Hendrick.

78Mins

Brady crosses and McClean’s diving header goes over.

It’s getting desperate now.

81Mins

Murphy, whose made a big difference since he’s come on, heads home Robbie Brady’s corner.

What a time to get his first international goal!

Time for a late winner?

85Mins

Another heart-in-mouth moment!

Coleman plays Ivanovic on, and is forced to clear the Chelsea defender’s effort off the line after Randolph’s initial save.

90Mins

Serbia look the more likely side to score now.

A number of Irish players look exhausted.

91Mins

Shane Long hobbles off to be replaced by Ciaran Clark.

Martin O’Neill is clearly happy with the draw.

90Mins

So Ireland secure a somewhat fortuitous draw.

The visitors seemed to play for a 1-0 win after scoring early on, but ultimately did well to secure a point.

Serbia will feel disappointed given the chances they wasted, but they were lucky to get the penalty, so perhaps a draw was a fair result.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and stay tuned for more reaction to follow.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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