Daryl Murphy scores his first international goal to level the scores
The Republic of Ireland had made the perfect start to last night's World Cup Qualifier after Jeff Hendrick's effort deflected off Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic into the net. However the Republic were then subjected to a Serbian onslaught for much of the match.
In their first game since Robbie Keane's retirement, Martin O'Neills's men held out until half-time despite the constant pressure, however two quick-fire goals from the Serbs in the second half gave the home side a well deserved lead. Fillip Kostic levelled the scores on 62 minutes while, Southampton's Dusan Tadic dispatched a somewhat debatable penalty. The referee pointed to the spot after Johnathan Walters was adjudged to have impeded Kostic, although replays showed that contact was minimal. Tadic was unconcerned though and duly sent the spot-kick into the roof of the net.
Ireland come from behind in Belgrade to secure a vital draw on the Road to Russia. #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/QP60iNpv4x— FAIreland (@FAIreland) September 5, 2016
It could have been worse for the Republic after substitute Andrija Pavlovic rattled the ball against the bar after Randolp had spilled a Filip Mladenovic. TO their credit, the Republic rallied well after nearly going 3-1 down with James McClean going close just after Walters had been denied by the offside flag. Then on 81 minutes Murphy powered a Robbie Brady corner into the net to level the scores.
Daryl Murphy wheels away in celebration following his first international goal. #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/51q6En2yFV— FAIreland (@FAIreland) September 5, 2016
The Republic's defensive nervousness was all to evident in the final ten minutes, as Serbia pressed for a late winner. The Irish suffered several scares before the final whistle, with Seamus Coleman having to clear off the line after an Ivanovic shot.
The Republic held on however and despite a rather disjointed display, Martin O'Neill's men have begun their World Cup Qualifying with a valuable away point. Next up for O'Neill's team is a home game with Georgia on the 6th October.
The Republic's result follows Northern Ireland's 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic yesterday