Serbia 3-2 Republic of Ireland: Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic hits late support

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

  • Serbia made a strong comeback to beat the Republic of Ireland
  • Alan Browne broke the deadlock after 18 minutes with a low, main effort
  • Dusan Vlahovic was right when the hosts began to exercise their dominance
  • Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic then grabbed a brace and took all three points

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

Make that nine games and count it after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s second half double – including a stunning chip – secured three points for Serbia on Wednesday-evening.

If Ireland wants to reach its first World Cup since 2002, that duck needs to be sharply broken.

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates after scoring a late brace

Fulham man hit two in seven minutes

Fulham man hit two in seven minutes

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

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

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

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

Earlier, Dusan Vlahovic had thrown the ball home to undo Alan Browne's early header

Earlier, Dusan Vlahovic had thrown the ball home to undo Alan Browne's early header

Earlier, Dusan Vlahovic had thrown the ball home to undo Alan Browne’s early header

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

But Dusan Vlahovic equalized before substitute Mitrovic broke Irish hearts.

First, he saw rookie goalkeeper Mark Travers off his line and superbly lifted the ball above his head from 25 yards away. Then, seven minutes later, Mitrovic’s header secured the victory.

It was a brutal end to a night that began with such a promise for Ireland. After Browne led Callum Robinson’s cross home, there was joy on the visiting couch.

Red shirts flocked to celebrate the leveling of the score in Belgrade

Red shirts flocked to celebrate the leveling of the score in Belgrade

Red shirts flocked to celebrate the leveling of the score in Belgrade

Browne jumped highest in the first half to open the score with a low, accurate header

Browne jumped highest in the first half to open the score with a low, accurate header

Browne jumped highest in the first half to open the score with a low, accurate header

Browne was harassed by his teammates after taking the Republic of Ireland off goal

Browne was harassed by his teammates after taking the Republic of Ireland off goal

Browne was harassed by his teammates after taking the Republic of Ireland off goal

And why not after such a dry period since their first game under Kenny?

The coach’s bold choices seemed to pay off until his new backline fell apart too easily. Vlahovic ran to Dusan Tadic’s header and Serbia was right.

After the break, Vlahovic saw a second ruled out for offside before Aaron Connolly’s call for a penalty kick was dismissed on the other side.

But soon Mitrovic’s genius had made Serbia clear. James Collins took advantage of a defensive confusion to give Ireland hope late in the day, but their 16-month wait for a win continues.

And the road to Qatar just got a little steeper.

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