Browne’s header ended Republic’s 677-minute drought.

Tadic and Mitrovic break Irish hearts

As the Irish defence began to show cracks, Serbian captain Tadic became increasingly influential. Three minutes after the equaliser he forced Filip Djuricic into a weak shot that went just wide of the Sassuolo goal.

Tadic then tried in vain to beat Republic goalkeeper Mark Travers with a shot from a corner kick as the visitors started to apply more pressure late in the half.

The Republicans didn’t have as much fun on offense after the break, but they should have been awarded a penalty when Aaron Connolly was brought down on a shot by Stefan Mitrovic.

But four minutes later, when Vlahovic collided with Coleman, the Irish captain lost his footing and Italian referee David Massa was again unmoved.

Tadic continued to look for space and retaliated when the in-form Ajax striker played in Mitrovic, who cleverly lobbed Travers to open up the Serbian attack.

Once again, Tadic was the architect of the result the Serbs achieved against the Republic. The former South Hampton playmaker crossed for Mitrovic, who placed his header perfectly.

The Republic had a lifeline in substitute Collins, who took advantage of a defensive error by the hosts, but the Irishman could not save the point, as he did when the two sides met in Belgrade in 2016.

Tadic scored all three of Serbia’s goals with an outstanding performance.

Kenny’s bold move fails to deliver.

Kenny’s team certainly looked brave and inexperienced, with the Republic coach opting for a five-man backfield.

Shane Duffy, who has struggled at Celtic this season, is out of defence. West Brom’s Dara O’Shea was preferred to Ciaran Clarke and captain Seamus Coleman, who was making his first international appearance under Kenny.

Jason Molumby and Josh Cullen started in midfield, where they played their sixth and fifth internationals respectively, while Jeff Hendrick settled for a place on the bench.

Brown, along with Preston’s teammate Molumby, formed a midfield that lacked experience but had promising energy and mobility in abundance, while Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson were tasked with leading the attack.

O’Shea was the sole survivor of the Republic’s last match, a 0-0 Nations League draw with Bulgaria in November, while only Stephens and Robinson were in the starting line-up for the 2012 European Championship play-off defeat against Slovakia a month earlier.

Kenny was able to catch fire in the first half of the announcement. Serbia’s equaliser could easily have been prevented, but the Republic’s three centre defenders worked tirelessly to nip the hosts in the bud, while O’Shea showed his ability to deliver passes from behind that broke through the line.

However, the second half was much more daunting as the Republic’s energy levels dropped, allowing Tadic to twice open the door for the lethal Mitrovic.

Kenny and the Republic must regroup for Saturday’s home game against Luxembourg, while Serbia hosts Portugal, who won their opening match 1-0 over Azerbaijan.

Lines

Serbia

3-4-3 training

1Dmitrovich

4Milenković13Mitrović2Pavlović

15Gacic16 Lukic14Racic3Mladenovic

10Tadic18Vlahovic21Djuric

  • 1Dmitrovich
  • 4Milenkovic
  • 13Mitrovic
  • 2PavlovicReserved in 89 minutes
  • 15Gadzic
  • 16Lukić
  • 14RasicRemoved by MaksimovicT 63 Min.
  • 3MladenovicSubstituted for Kosticat 45’minutes
  • 10TadicSwapped for Gudelat 78’min
  • 18VlahovicSubstituted for Jovicat 82’min
  • 21 DjuricSwapped for Mitrovica 63 minutes

replaces

  • 5Spain.
  • 6Maximovich
  • 7Radonich
  • 8Goodle
  • 9Mitrovich
  • 11Jovic
  • 12Rajkovic
  • 17Kosiya
  • 19In particular
  • 20Milinkovic-Savic
  • 22Petkovic
  • 23Nikolich

R. Ireland

3-5-2 Training

1Crossbars

2Coleman20O’Shea5Clark

7Doherty15Molumby17Callen8Browne3Stevens

12Robinson9Connolly

  • 1Crossbars
  • 2Coleman
  • 20O’Shea
  • 5Clark replacesBrady after 79 minutes
  • 7Doherty.
  • 15Molum replaced by Hendrick after 61′ minutes
  • 17Cullen
  • 8Browner replacesCollinswith79’minutes
  • 3Stevens
  • 12RobinsonReplaced by McClean in the 79th minute.
  • 9ConnollyReplaced by Long 67’minutes

replaces

  • 4Duffy.
  • 6Knight
  • 10Brads
  • 11McClean
  • 13 Hendrick
  • 14Horgan
  • 16 Bazunu
  • 18Long
  • 19 Collins
  • 21Lenish
  • 22Christ
  • 23O’Hara.

Real-time text

  1. End of match, Serbia 3, Republic of Ireland 2.
  2. End of second half, Serbia 3, Republic of Ireland 2.
  3. Corner, Republic of Ireland. Nikola Milenkovic cashed in.
  4. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) is penalised after committing a foul.
  5. Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
  6. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) wins a free kick on the left wing.
  7. Dara O’Shea (Republic of Ireland) is penalised after committing a foul.
  8. Strahinja Pavlovic (Serbia) is shown a yellow card for a foul.
  9. Strahini Pavlovic (Serbia) is penalised after committing a foul.
  10. Matt Doherty (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
  11. Attempt blocked. Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
  12. Goal! Serbia 3, Republic of Ireland 2. James Collins (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from the right side of the box goes wide. Sponsored by Shane Long.
  13. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) is penalised after committing a foul.
  14. Dara O’Shea (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
  15. The attempt failed. Dara O’Shea (Republic of Ireland) header from an awkward angle misses to the left. Robbie Brady’s assist off a cross goes into the corner.
  16. Corner, Republic of Ireland. Prepared by Milan Gajic.
  17. Substitute, Serbia. Luka Jovic replaces Dušan Vlahović.
  18. The attempt failed. Matt Doherty (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Set up by James McClean with a cross.
  19. Offside, Serbia. Marko Dmitrovic tries a through ball, but Dušan Vlahović is caught offside.
  20. Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Supported by Dušan Vlahović.

 

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