News Live Scores

Serbia v Republic of Ireland Live Commentary, 25/03/21

3 - 2
D. Vlahović (40)
A. Mitrović (68)
A. Mitrović (75)
A. Browne (18)
J. Collins (86)
Stadion Rajko Mitić


Serbia get their World Cup qualification show on the road, then, as they host Portugal next. Ireland, meanwhile, face Luxembourg. It's a false start for Ireland in Group A but there's still plenty of time for them to make their mark on this group. That's all for now. Goodbye!
Serbia's win makes them the first leaders of Group A, ahead on goal difference of Portugal who've beaten Azerbaijan 1-0. We've only seen one game, of course, but Serbia look like Portugal's most likely challengers for the group's automatic qualification place. Ireland are fourth in the group. Luxembourg are the only side yet to play.
Serbia get off to a winning start in Group A, seeing off Ireland in an unexpectedly exciting game. Ireland made life difficult for Serbia early on, taking the lead through Browne, but Serbia soon stepped up a gear thanks to two goals from substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic. Collins' late goal made life nervy for Serbia but the hosts managed to see the game out.
90' + 4' Travers boots the ball forward but there's no more time for Ireland. The final whistle blows!
90' + 3' Serbia manage to deal with Brady's corner and the hosts have a countering opportunity. Gudelj can't find the right pass though and Travers slides out to smother the ball.
90' + 2' Ireland go hunting for a late equaliser. McLean rattles a cross against Maksimovic and wins a throw-in. Brady tries another delivery and Ireland get a corner out of it.
90' There'll be four minutes added onto the end of this match.
S. Pavlović
Yellow Card
89' Pavlovic picks up a late yellow card for a poor challenge on Doherty. It's been quite a clean game otherwise.
88' Coleman looks forward for Collins but Serbia make the clearance. Hendrick clatters a shot off a defender and Dmitrovic is out to claim it.
87' That's Collins' second goal for Ireland in his seventh appearance for them. The 30-year-old Luton striker has proven to be a decent option for his country since his senior debut.
S. Long
Republic of Ireland
87' That was great work by Long in the build-up to the goal who pressured Stefan Mitrovic into the mistake. We're all set now for an exciting finish to this game.
J. Collins
Republic of Ireland
86' GOAL! SERBIA 3-2 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND! Ireland have a lifeline, just as the game started to feel dead and buried! Stefan Mitrovic is lackadaisical in dealing with Brady's ball forward and Long persists with it, luring Dmitrovic off his line. Long cuts back for Collins who bundles into the net!
84' Ireland have a corner down their left which Brady will take. O'Shea dives in to make something of it but nods wide at the near post.
83' Serbia have scored with three of their four shots on target. They've definitely been the better side but Aleksandar Mitrovic's clinical finishing has been the real difference.
L. Jović
D. Vlahović
82' Vlahovic makes his exit having grabbed Serbia's first goal. Jovic, on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from Real Madrid, comes on. Serbia have a lot of strength in depth.
81' Ireland have kept the same formation for now with Stevens slotting into the back three. McClean, their new left wing-back, looks to find his counterpart Doherty who is unable to get his head on the cross.
J. Collins
A. Browne
Republic of Ireland
79' Last to go off is Ireland's goalscorer Browne. Collins comes on for him.
J. McClean
C. Robinson
Republic of Ireland
79' Robinson's game is also done. McClean is the player replacing him.
R. Brady
C. Clark
Republic of Ireland
79' Ireland make a few changes as they attempt to turn this game around. Clark makes way and Brady comes on.
N. Gudelj
D. Tadić
78' Tadic heads off having firmly made his mark on this game. The Sevilla midfielder Gudelj is his replacement.
D. Tadić
75' It's a hat-trick of assists in this game for Tadic who has run the show for Serbia. Ireland will be disappointed that this game seems to have slipped away from them.
A. Mitrović
75' GOAL! SERBIA 3-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND! Aleksandar Mitrovic grabs his second goal! Cullen loses possession to Pavlovic and Serbia capitalise. Tadic dinks the ball into the area for Mitrovic who nods it past Travers.
74' Ireland are trying to force the issue a little more now. Long gets into the air once again and stretches to reach a Stevens cross but the Southampton man, currently on loan at Bournemouth, is unsuccessful.
73' Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last nine qualifying matches for Serbia with 11 goals and one assist. He might not be getting many goals for his club this season but he's still a potent striker.
72' Robinson hangs the ball up into the box for Long who can't get a clean header. Pavlovic brings the ball away for Serbia.
70' Serbia are firmly in control of this game now. Let's see how Ireland respond to going behind for the first time.
D. Tadić
69' And with that Tadic gets his second assist of the game. That goal was all about Aleksandar Mitrovic though who showed his experience at this level. Travers was badly caught out.
A. Mitrović
68' GOAL! SERBIA 2-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND! It's a fabulous goal by Aleksandar Mitrovic! The Fulham man spots the inexperienced Travers off his line and dinks the ball over the Ireland keeper from outside the box.
68' Tadic finds Vlahovic in the box with the free-kick. Vlahovic has a free header but can't make the most of it. That's a let-off for Ireland.
S. Long
A. Connolly
Republic of Ireland
67' Here's that Ireland change. Their vergreen striker Long is on for Connolly.
66' Serbia win a free-kick to the left of the box that Tadic will take. Ireland will make another substitution first.
65' Pavlovic tries to carry the ball forward for Serbia but finds his path blocked. Ireland are having to do a lot of defending at the moment.
N. Maksimović
U. Račić
63' Racic's game for Serbia is also over. The Napoli centre-back Maksimovic is on for him.
A. Mitrović
F. Đuričić
63' Serbia make a few more changes. Djuricic, who's been quiet since the break, is replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
62' Chance for Serbia! Milenkovic fizzes the ball across the penalty area and Vlahovic is inches away from poking it in at the far post. Ireland are relieved to get the goal-kick.
J. Hendrick
J. Molumby
Republic of Ireland
61' Ireland make their first substitution of the game. Hendrick replaces Molumby in midfield.
60' Tadic tries a throughball for Gajic who's offside. Ireland are going to make a change.
58' Coleman makes an important challenge to block a Serbia cross from the right. The Ireland captain is marshalling his defence well.
57' Browne takes the corner. It's nodded wide by Clark who stoops low at the near post. Serbia goal-kick.
56' Ireland are starting to see more of the ball. Doherty gets down the right and Connolly steps over it. There's no one at the far post for Ireland though and they have to settle for a corner.
54' Clarke knocks the ball down the line for Browne who reaches it near the byline. Browne cuts it back for Robinson who's arriving in the area but Pavlovic reads it well.
52' Ireland's corner comes in. Dmitrovic is confident in claiming it despite Browne lurking around at the far post.
51' Connolly takes a tumble in the penalty area as Stefan Mitrovic makes a sliding challenge. The referee says no to a penalty and hands Ireland a corner.
50' Ireland have a promising counter-attack which breaks down. Serbia go up the other end and Vlahovic has the ball in the net but the forward is well offside.
49' Doherty flings a cross into the Serbia box and Connolly is just a little late in getting his head on the end of it. That's better from Ireland who've created very little apart from their goal.
48' Vlahovic is tracked by Coleman all the way to the touchline, causing the Serbia striker to go down. Coleman is frustrated to see the free-kick given.
46' Serbia go on the attack straight away as Lukic fires high and wide from range.
46' Serbia get the second half going then. Stojkovic will be keen to make a statement in his first match in charge of his country.
F. Kostić
F. Mladenović
46' Serbia make a change at half-time. It's a like-for-like swap with Kostic coming on for Mladenovic.
Tadic has provided seven assists in his last seven qualifying matches for Serbia. The Ajax captain's relationship with Djuricic looks particularly fruitful for the hosts. Ireland can be content with that first half. You suspect they'd take a draw away from home in the campaign's opening game but Serbia will believe they can win this.
It's been a solid start to the game with both sides getting on the scoresheet. It's been a cagey affair with Ireland grabbing a long-awaited goal through Browne before Vlahovic slotted home an equaliser for Serbia. Serbia looked as though they'd started to find their feet by half-time with Djuricic causing Ireland issues.
45' Tadic's corner is wayward and goes out of play. There'll be one additional minute in this half.
44' Serbia are suddenly looking menacing as we approach half-time. Travers bats away an effort from Djuricic at the near post after Djuricic again combines with Tadic.
42' Chance for Serbia! Djuricic is lurking in the box waiting for a cross from the left and O'Shea blocks the winger's shot. Serbia get the corner only for Lukic to commit a foul on the edge of the box.
41' Vlahovic has scored in consecutive appearances for Serbia after finding to find the net in his first three games for his country. The Fiorentina striker's finding his feet in a Serbia shirt.
D. Tadić
40' Serbia haven't really threatened to score a goal in this first half but now they've got one. Tadic's header in the build-up was nice.
D. Vlahović
40' GOAL! SERBIA 1-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND! Serbia equalise out of nothing. Vlahovic latches onto Tadic's flicked header on, peels off O'Shea and rolls the ball past Travers into the far bottom corner. It's a great finish.
38' Travers waves his defence up the pitch and booms the ball forward from the back. Ireland get a throw from it. Robinson looks to switch the play to Doherty on the opposite flank but Pavlovic is well-placed to intercept it.
37' Serbia press Ireland into their defensive third but Robinson relieves the pressure by earning a free-kick.
36' Stevens sends an early ball in towards Connolly that's cleared by Stefan Mitrovic.
35' Tadic has his pocket picked by Clark and now it's Ireland's turn to go forward. Molumby tries to beat his man by the right touchline without success.
33' Cullen is down and in need of a bit of assistance. The Anderlecht midfielder doesn't look too distressed and soon gets to his feet.
32' Robinson's high ball from the left is headed away and Serbia get possession back. Djuricic plays a one-two with Tadic to make his way into the box. Coleman sticks with Djuricic to see the ball out.
31' Ireland pass their way around Serbia and make their way upfield again. Robinson goes over and buys a free-kick down Ireland's left.
30' Djuricic picks out Tadic whose early ball is not quite right for Serbia. It'll be an Ireland goal-kick.
28' Serbia play pretty triangles down their right. The hosts are looking neat but uninspired as of yet.
26' Ireland's strikers Robinson and Connolly chase after the ball, leading Serbia to pass all the way back to their goalkeeper Dmitrovic. The visitors have looked very solid in this opening 25 minutes.
25' Serbia force their seventh corner of the game already as O'Shea blocks Vlahovic's shot from the left of the box. Tadic's ball in is inviting again but doesn't cause Ireland any problems.
24' Serbia have had 67 per cent possession so far but most of it has been in their own half. Ireland haven't looked too worried yet.
23' Robinson lofts the ball away from near his own corner flag. We'll have to see how Ireland can withstand these spells of Serbia pressure now they have a lead to protect.
22' Ireland clear the corner but Serbia force another. And another. Ireland will have to concentrate.
21' Serbia get things restarted and immediately win a free-kick as Coleman impedes Djuricic down Serbia's left. The hosts' free-kick soon turns into a corner.
20' Ireland scored with their first shot of the match. If they can keep that ratio up they'll be very happy. They'd gone 677 minutes without a goal in all competitions before that.
C. Robinson
Republic of Ireland
18' That was a smart cross by Robinson who knew exactly where Browne was. That early goal will give Ireland tons of confidence.
A. Browne
Republic of Ireland
18' GOAL! SERBIA 0-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND! It's Ireland's first goal in eight games! Doherty's initial cross is poor but the visitors keep the ball. Robinson clips it up towards the far post from the left-hand channel. Browne nods it back across goal and into the net!
17' Ireland can't play through Serbia's press as Pavlovic earns Serbia a throw. The hosts' attack breaks down and Ireland counter...
16' Ireland's right wing-back Doherty gets himself into a good position but his final cross is poor. Ireland are going to have to stay patient if they want to break their scoring duck.
15' Serbia retain possession, trying to unpick the Ireland defence. Tadic goes for an intricate pass and O'Shea shepherds it out of play for a goal-kick.
13' Serbia are looking the more settled side on the ball in these opening stages. Ireland are sitting deep and narrow.
11' There's a coming together between Djuricic and O'Shea who comes across to block Djuricic's run. O'Shea makes a fair challenge and play continues.
9' Ireland work the ball forward from the back. Browne looks to find his left wing-back Stevens but sells his teammate short with the pass, handing Serbia a throw-in.
7' Tadic swings this latest corner in. Pavlovic's header is blocked and headed out for a third Serbia corner. This is a good early spell from the hosts. The ball comes in again. Ireland get in the way of Racic's speculative shot from range and eventually clear.
5' Cullen snuffs out a Serbia attack with Tadic making a dangerous run. Serbia get a corner which Tadic takes. It goes out for another Serbia corner.
3' Ireland have started the game with a back three made up of Coleman, Clark and O'Shea. Ireland force two quick corners down their right. Browne crosses into the box from the second corner and Clark pokes wide to the right.
1' Serbia and Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaigns get underway!
The two teams are on the pitch in Belgrade. Serbia are in their preferred all-red home kit. Ireland are in their away kit of white shirts and green shorts.
Serbia and Ireland have met five times previously, with Ireland failing to win any of those games. Serbia have lost just one of their last 13 World Cup qualifying matches, while Ireland have won just one of their last 15 away matches, an underwhelming 1-0 win against lowly Gibraltar in 2019. Serbia look the stronger side then, but Ireland have a fresh slate and everything to play for.
Serbia boss Ljubisa Tumbakovic names a completely different 11 from their last outing, a 0-0 draw against Panama back in January. Ireland, meanwhile, are also much-changed. O'Shea is the only survivor from Stephen Kenny's line-up in Ireland's 0-0 draw with Bulgaria in the UEFA Nations League last year.
SUBS: Daryl Horgan, Jason Knight, James Collins, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Gavin Bazunu, Kieran O'Hara, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean, Robbie Brady, Darragh Lenihan, Shane Long.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (4-3-3): Mark Travers; Seamus Coleman (c), Dara O'Shea, Ciaran Clark, Enda Stevens; Jayson Molumby, Josh Cullen, Alan Browne; Matt Doherty, Callum Robinson, Aaron Connolly.
SUBS: Uros Spajic, Nemanja Gudelj, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Mihailo Ristic, Marko Petkovic, Nemanja Maksimovic, Djordje Nikolic, Nemanja Radonjic, Predrag Rajkovic, Luka Jovic, Filip Kostic, Aleksandar Mitrovic.
SERBIA (3-4-3): Marko Dmitrovic; Nikola Milenkovic, Stefan Mitrovic, Strahinja Pavlovic; Milan Gajic, Sasa Lukic, Uros Racic, Filip Mladenovic; Dusan Tadic (c), Dusan Vlahovic, Filip Djuricic.
Both teams tend to start well in the group stage. Serbia haven't lost their opening group stage match in all of their last eight qualifying campaigns, while Ireland haven't lost their opening match in a World Cup qualifying campaign since 1976. With Ireland enduring their longest ever goalless stretch - currently at seven games and counting - something may have to give here.
So it begins. Serbia and Ireland's World Cup qualification campaigns start here. While the European champions Portugal are the overwhelming favourites to top Group A, there should be space for at least one of these sides in the play-offs in a fairly weak group. They'll be looking to get off to a good start here.
Hello! Welcome to our live text commentary of this 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification UEFA Group A match between Serbia and the Republic of Ireland at Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade.