Match between Georgia and Ireland ends in a draw

The Republic of Ireland lost ground on World Cup qualifying rivals Serbia after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Georgia in Tbilisi.

However, not only did they not build upon it, but turned in so abject a first-half display that Valeri Kazaishvili's 34th-minute equaliser was the least the Georgians deserved on a night when they played by far the better technical football. Some of the more intriguing players on The Green Army include Robbie Brady, James McClean, James McCarthy and Shane Long but the absence of Seamus Coleman due to injury is a big blow to the team.

Having taken an early lead thanks to Shane Duffy, Martin O'Neill's men struggled to get a foothold as Georgia dominated, with 68 per cent possession. It looked like the ideal beginning for a comfortable away win, a base for Ireland to push on and take the game to the hosts.

The visitors broke the deadlock after just four minutes at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena through Shane Duffy.

"It was a different environment and one that I've got to try get to grips with better than I did tonight", he added.

"Saying that I believe we're better, but tonight we didn't show that - all over the pitch they were better, passed the ball better. We have been in situations before where we have had to bounce back, so hopefully we can all recover quickly, get the bodies right and put in a much better performance on Tuesday".

"Even if we'd won here, they still would have been top of the group with goal difference and it would have been as critical a game if we'd had won here".

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A free-kick ended up with Aiden McGeady ten yards out, but the Sunderland winger got his feet under the ball and blazed it over in the third minute of injury time.

O'Neill went on the defensive in an interview with RTE Sport, and attempted to take the pressure off his players ahead of Tuesday's game by describing Serbia as "technically better" than Ireland.

"We want to have the ball and that's how we're going to win games, ultimately".

Aleksandar Kolarov then made it two for Serbia 10 minutes later, arriving at the back post to slot home, before Aleksandar Mitrovic rounded off the scoring by converting Filip Kostic's delivery nine minutes from the end.

There was still 41 minutes left to play in the first half and if you were to look at the highlights reel from the opening half, it would have possibly appeared a decent performance from Ireland based on chances in the opposition half.

The Crusaders have an interesting squad with players who play all across Europe and even one MLS Player, Valeri Qazaishvili of the San Jose Earthquakes.

"They're a lot better than what people think when you look at their results through the group". Martin O'Neill said post match that his side will have to put "their heart and soul" into Tuesday's crunch tie.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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