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Published: Sun, September 03, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Georgia vs Republic of Ireland World Cup Qualifying UEFA

Georgia vs Republic of Ireland World Cup Qualifying UEFA

Now O'Neill needs to fire Ireland's burners ahead of the Serbia game on Tuesday that could make or break his hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Russian Federation next summer.

The midfielder cancelled out Shane Duffy's early opener, the first goal of his senior worldwide career, before the break to leave the Republic hanging on on a steamy night in Tbilisi.

Each time a Shane Duffy header or a Glenn Whelan hoof was to nobody and each time the home side, roared on by the crowd in the Dinamo Arena, came right back.

Ireland made the breakthrough in just the fourth minute.

With four minutes left, Ireland could - and perhaps should - have netted a second when Long played in McClean but despite advancing into the penalty area, the midfielder's effort was smothered by Makaridze. Rarely got forward until the final minutes.

That signalled the end of Arter's involvement in the game as he was replaced moments later by Tbilisi talisman Aiden McGeady.

It was Sunderland winger McGeady who could have won it in stoppage time when the ball fell to him in front of goal amid a frenetic conclusion, but he ballooned his shot high over the bar.

However, Makaridze was called upon seconds later when Brady thumped in a swerving effort which the keeper took two attempts to claim.

The culmination of that is a tetchy interview after Ireland dropped two points in Georgia. Republic of Ireland won all the games.

"We have some very good technical players who didn't perform as well as they can".

They then had to survive a bit of late pressure, but they still had a late chance to secure what would have been a vital victory.

Ireland could have had no complaints had the home side eventually picked up their first win of the campaign, but instead the points were shared and Ireland now know that victory is needed against Serbia on Tuesday.

Georgia were having the better of the play after the restart but slowly but surely, Ireland began to switch the momentum and from the hour mark, O'Neill's men could count themselves as the better team. But based on tonight's performance, that particular path could also be in jeopardy. But Ireland were very poor in the game, struggling to string three passes together and Georgia deserved more from the match.

Georgia: 1 Giorgi Makaridze; 21 Otar Kakabadze, 4 Guram Kashia (capt), 5 Solomon Kverkvelia, 7 Jano Ananidze, 8 Valeri Kazaishvili (Davit Khocholava 90), 10 Nika Kvekveskiri, 13 Giorgi Kvilitaia (17 Giorgi Merebashvili 86), 15 Valerian Gvilia, 20 Jambul Jigauri (11 Giorgi Chanturia 75), 22 Giorgi Navalovski.

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