Serbia 3-2 Republic of Ireland: Mitrovic smashes late brace in win

Serbia 3-2 Republic of Ireland: Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic smashes late brace to secure emphatic comeback win after Alan Browne’s early opener

  • Serbia pulled off a strong comeback to defeat the Republic of Ireland 
  • Alan Browne broke the deadlock after 19 minutes with a low, headed effort 
  • Dusan Vlahovic equalised as the hosts started to assert their dominance 
  • Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic then grabbed a brace to wrap up all three points

For Republic of Ireland, an 11-hour wait for a goal is finally over. For manager Stephen Kenny, though, a first win still lingers out of reach.

Make that nine matches and counting after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s second-half double – including a stunning chip – secured three points for Serbia last night.

If Ireland are to reach a first World Cup since 2002, that duck needs to be broken sharpish.

Aleksandar Mitrovic was the hero after scoring a late brace to wrap up all three points

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Mark Travers was left helpless as Mitrovic found the top corner

Earlier Dusan Vlahovic had slotted home to cancel out Alan Browne’s header

Kenny’s side led in Belgrade after Alan Browne headed home their first goal in eight matches and 677 minutes.

But Dusan Vlahovic equalised before substitute Mitrovic broke Irish hearts.

First he spotted rookie goalkeeper Mark Travers off his line and exquisitely lifted the ball over his head from 25 yards out. Then, seven minutes later, Mitrovic’s header made sure of the win.

It was a cruel end to a night that started with such promise for Ireland. After Browne headed home Callum Robinson’s cross, there was delight on the visiting bench. 

Red shirts gathered en masse to celebrate the leveling of the scoreline in Belgrade

Browne jumped highest in the first half to open the scoring with a low, precision header

Browne was mobbed by his team-mates after getting the Republic of Ireland off the mark

And why not after such a barren spell since their first game under Kenny?

The coach’s bold selections seemed to be paying off until his new-look backline were too easily cut apart. Vlahovic ran on to Dusan Tadic’s header and Serbia were level.

After the break, Vlahovic saw a second ruled out for offside before Aaron Connolly’s calls for a penalty at the other end were waved away.

Soon, though, Mitrovic’s brilliance had pulled Serbia clear. James Collins did take advantage of a defensive mix-up to give Ireland hope late on but their 16-month wait for a win goes on. 

And the road to Qatar just got a little bit steeper. 

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