The Republic of Ireland were beaten 2-1 by Serbia in their international friendly at the Aviva Stadium as Ljubinko Drulovic's side inflicted the first defeat on the Martin O'Neill/Roy Keane managerial partnership.
Ireland were excellent in the first half and went into the break 1-0 up thanks to Shane Long's 11th international goal. The Hull City striker took advantage of a Branislav Ivanovic mistake in the eighth minute before coolly chipping the ball over Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. Long then had a golden chance to double the lead just before the half-hour mark when set through on goal by Wes Hoolahan, only to see his first effort and then his rebound saved by Stojkovic.
Serbia's greater technical ability showed in the second half, and they levelled three minutes into the second period when James McCarthy put through his own goal as he attempted to intercept Aleksandar Kolarov's pass with Filip Dordevic waiting behind him to tap in.
Long wasted another great chance two minutes later when put through again by another Hoolahan pass, and Ireland were made to pay for Long's profligacy when Dordevic netted the winner on the hour.
3’ CHANCE: Glenn Whelan lashes home at the far post from James McClean's cross from the right, but Wes Hoolahan is judged offside when he gets the final touch.
8’ GOAL: Ireland go 1-0 up thanks to an opportunistic strike from Shane Long. Marc Wilson punts a hopeful ball down the left, and Long forces the mistake from Ivanovic and the Hull City striker nets his 11th international goal with a cool chip over Stojkovic.
19’ ON THE HEAD: Ivanovic's header from Tadic's corner is headed off the line by McCarthy.
30’ AMAZING RUN: Wes Hoolahan wins the ball on the edge of his own area from Tadic, runs 40 yards and sets up Long one-on-one down the centre, but Stojkovic saves Long's first effort and the off-balance follow-up.
40’ TIPPED OVER: Tadic tries a teasing cross-shot from the right which almost catches out Forde, but the Millwall goalkeeper back-pedals and tips the effort over the bar.
48’ GOAL: Ireland 1-1 Serbia. It is an own goal from James McCarthy - the Everton player attempted to intercept Kolarov's pass with Dordevic waiting behind to tap in.
51’ CHANCE: Long chips the ball over Stojkovic and wide when put through the centre by an unbelievably cute pass from Hoolahan. Long could have taken two more steps there!
60’ GOAL: Tadic crosses from the left and though Tosic mishits his shot, the ball drops to Dordevic to convert at the far post. Markovic puts pressure on Coleman and Serbia won the ball down the left, and from that moment on the Ireland defence was stretched.
69' PASS MASTERS: Serbia had 45 passes in that move but when the ball dropped to Tosic, he was unable to get any purchase on the shot in the six-yard box following Dordevic's miskicked bicycle kick.
TALKING POINT: Matches turn on single moments. It would have been a completely different evening for Ireland had Long netted when put one-on-one with Stojkovic on the half-hour mark.Instead, the Serbia goalkeeper saved the first effort and then the follow-up to prevent the Irish going 2-0 up.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Nemanja Matic (Serbia): Matic rejoined Chelsea in January after impressing in his three years at Benfica following his move away from Stamford Bridge in 2011. You can see why Jose Mourinho splashed the euros again on the 25-year-old. He was excellent at the Aviva Stadium, bringing striker Dordevic into the game constantly with astute short passes in and around the Ireland penalty area.
Rep of Ireland: Forde 7, Coleman 6, Keogh 7, Wilson 6, Ward 6, McGeady 6, McCarthy 6, Whelan 6, Hoolahan 8, McClean 7, Long 7. Subs: Clark 6, Daryl Murphy 6, Pilkington 6, Quinn 6, Walters 6, Meyler 7.
Serbia: Stojkovic 7, Rukavina 7, Kolarov 8, Ivanovic 6, Bisevac 7, Matic 9, Fejsa 7, Basta 7, Tadic 8, Markovic 7, Djordjevic 8. Subs: Tosic 7, Scepovic, Sulejmani 7, Ljajic 7, Gudelj 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Wes Hoolahan
- Branislav Ivanovic