Aleksandar Mitrovic nets twice as Serbia defeat Republic of Ireland
An Aleksandar Mitrovic masterclass put the Republic of Ireland defence to the sword in their World Cup qualifying opener.
Serbia needed to come from behind but were dominant in possession against an Ireland side who will take positives from scoring twice in a 3-2 defeat.
Ireland had not scored in their last seven games but took the lead when Alan Browne heading in from a Callum Robinson cross.
Serbia were controlling the play though, and their dominance in possession led to the equaliser before half time. Dusan Tadic played in Dusan Vlahovic to finish.
The Serbs thought they had taken the lead in the 52nd minute but Vlahovic was ruled offside.
With Ireland’s next attack, Aaron Connolly fell under the pressure of a Serbian defender but the referee waved away his penalty appeal.
Serbia really did turn the screw on Ireland in the closing stages. They took the lead when Mitrovic lobbed Mark Travers from the edge of the box.
The second came 14 minutes from time when the Fulham striker headed into the roof of the net.
James Collins struck back for Ireland with four minutes remaining from close range but it was too late for Ireland to mount a comeback.
Ireland will be favourites to bounce back from this defeat when they host Luxembourg on Saturday.