As it happened: Relive the goals after Ireland drop points in Tbilisi

By Stephen Barry


Update 7.31pm: That's all for tonight. It wasn't what we wanted and that Serbia game is looking even more of a test now.

Can Martin O'Neill turn things around? We'll see on Tuesday.

Update 7.29pm: Martin O'Neill had a tetchy interview with RTÉ's Tony O'Donoghue after the match.

Looking ahead to the Serbia game, he said: “We’re going to try to win a game against Serbia, which is the most important thing.

“We’re going to put heart and soul into the match on Tuesday night and try to beat a team that’s probably technically better than us.

“That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Update 7.26pm: More reaction from a disappointed Ireland man-of-the-match James McClean.

Update 7.07pm: The draw marred a first international goal for Shane Duffy.

Update 7.04pm: The reaction on RTÉ is less than complimentary of that Irish performance.

Update 6.59pm: Wales can move within two points of second-placed Ireland (on 13 points) if they defeat Austria in Cardiff.

The same goes for the Austrians, who are also on eight points.

Liam Brady thinks Ireland's qualification hopes are "in trouble".

Update 6.53pm: That was poor from Ireland. Serbia win 3-0 in Belgrade to go two points clear at the top of Group D.

They’re next up for Ireland on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium.

94+1 mins: Christie slaloms through the Georgian right flank but overruns the ball and that’s that. 1-1 the final score.

93+1 mins: THAT was surely THE chance for McGeady to be the hero once more.

Duffy knocks a ball down to him but he can’t control it and he hooks the bouncing ball over.

90+1 mins: James McClean named the RTÉ man-of-the-match by Ronnie Whelan.

No other contenders mentioned…

90 mins: The substitute Merebashvili turns inside Duffy and unleashes a rasping shot past the post. It was further away from goal than it first looked, but gave fans’ hearts a flutter.

86 mins: Long keeps the ball in play and then finds McClean with a through-ball. Brilliant from Long but McClean’s touch lets him down and the goalie smothers the shot.

Shane Long in action against Guram Kashia at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

85 mins: SUB: Giorgi Merebashvili for Kvilitaia for the hosts.

84 mins:Georgia winding down the clock. They’ve been the better side but they seem happy enough with 1-1.

82 mins: A few passes put together. Murphy, Walters, McClean, Christie, from left-to-right wing. Christie’s cross is blocked for a corner. But Brady’s in-swinger is headed away.

He gets a second chance but it’s too close to the ‘keeper.

80 mins: Nothing comes from that corner, other than a free for Georgia that is. Some pushing in the box, says the ref.

79 mins: SUB: Daryl Murphy in for captain Glenn Whelan as Martin O'Neill goes for it.

79 mins: McClean stings the gloves of Makaridze from an acute angle to win a corner.

76 mins: Yellow card for James McClean for kicking the ball away. Thankfully, he’s not one of the six Ireland starters sitting on one-match suspensions for another yellow card.

75 mins: SUB: Giorgi Chanturia for Jigauri on the Georgian side..

73 mins: Another break, another chance. McGeady turns defence to attack with a charge upfield but his shot is blocked away.

Back he comes again, with help from McClean, before Brady fires a shot down the throat of Makaridze. He finds it too hot to handle, though, gathering at the second opportunity.

67 mins: A moment of class from Ireland as Christie and McClean show their pace to storm out of defence.

McClean returns the ball to the Middlesbrough defender down the right and he stands up a ball for Long in the middle. But he nods it over the bar.

Still, that's better.

61 mins: SUB: And that's Arter's last action.

The hero of Tbilisi back in 2014 Aiden McGeady is introduced on the left-wing. That's his 91st cap, too.

Here's hoping he can do more to hold the ball.

60 mins: A set piece means a rare chance for Ireland to threaten but the charging Duffy - once again Ireland’s biggest danger in attack – is beaten to Brady’s ball.

From the resultant throw-in, Harry Arter has a chance to shoot off the second ball, but his tame shot is gathered by the rookie goalie.

56 mins: More of the same.

49 mins: More fluid play from the home team, which appears to have broken down, but the ball runs to Ananidze.

He tees up from 20 yards out and sends a low shot just outside the scrambling Randolph’s left-hand post.

An early scare there. Something needs to change.

46 mins: No changes for Ireland but Martin O'Neill has surely read the riot act after that first-half.

We're back underway with another ball over the top from Ireland.

Update 6pm: “I can't think of a worse Irish performance, it is shocking,” says Eamon Dunphy on RTÉ.

45+1 mins: That's the half-time whistle and boy, Ireland are glad to hear it. They've been under the cosh for the majority of the half against a Georgian side who have dominated possession and played all the best football.

Must do better.

Georgia's Valeri Kazaishvili (second left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal at the Boris Paichadze Stadium. Photo: Steven Paston/PA

44 mins: Duffy has been Ireland’s best attacking threat, which says a lot about the team’s approach.

The towering defender forces a save from Makaridze from a deep Brady corner.

Shane Duffy has his header saved by Giorgi Makaridze at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

43 mins: Meanwhile, in Belgrade, Serbia are having a much easier time of it. They lead Moldove 2-0 approaching half-time, with goals from Mijat Gacinovic and Aleksandar Kolarov.

As it stands, they're now two points clear of Ireland at the top of Group D.

40 mins: Nika Kvekveskiri’s low drive gets a touch from Duffy, but Randolph gets down to cover it.

He’s being kept very busy right now.


    Georgia level through VALERI QAZAISHVILI and it’s a well worked, well deserved equaliser.

    Valerian Gvilia finds Jano Ananidze and the Spartak Moscow man steps inside before releasing Qazaishvili, who beats Randolph with a low strike.

33 mins: McClean is proving a real outlet for Ireland and he wins a free down the left. But Brady’s delivery is poor and is cleared with ease.

30 mins: Shane Long sees a shot fly wide from outside the box. Good work from McClean to keep the long ball in play but the shot never worried Makaridze in goal.

25 mins: The Georgians are looking threatening as Ireland fail to control possession and sit back. Randolph punches one strong cross from Otar Kakabadze away with danger behind him.

A crucial intervention.

20 mins: Chances at either end!

Kvilitaia is just a yard away from turning a ball across the goal towards Darren Randolph after a clever flick caught out the Ireland centre-backs.

Then, Shane Long flicks a long ball down to Walters, who swings an excellent cross to McClean, lurking between the defenders. However, the Derryman heads wide.

19 mins: Have the home side a case for a foul on the goalie in the build-up to the goal?

Ireland's Shane Duffy scores the opening goal. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

15 mins: The home side win the first corner of the game. Young striker Giorgi Kvilitaia rises to meet it but, with Duffy close by, he steers it well away from the target.

11 mins: Another free-kick, another chance to test the six-cap goalie Makaridze.

He looks uncertain again under Robbie Brady’s delivery, but it’s too long and goes behind. Goal-kick.


    It’s the big man, SHANE DUFFY, with his first international goal!

    Cyrus Christie launches a hopeful free-kick from halfway and Georgian goalie Giorgi Makaridze comes a long way out of his goal only to clatter into Ciaran Clark.

    That leaves Duffy’s header free to bounce untouched into the net.

    The dream start and just what Liam Brady called for!

1 min: We're underway with James McClean putting immediate pressure on the Georgian right-back.

Big Jack would be proud!

Update 4.55pm: Ireland emerging from the tunnel for the first time in their new home jerseys.

Glenn Whelan leads out the Boys in Green.

Update 4.53pm: It's Jon Walters' 50th cap for Ireland this evening, having recovered from injury just in the nick of time.

Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Here are the big man's thoughts:

Update 4.48pm: Here are the thoughts of Georgia manager Vladimir Weiss and defender Guram Kashia:

“If you give us space we are quite a good team,” says Kashia.

So, we must put ‘em under pressure!

Update 4.44pm: Liam Brady has written about how Ireland need a fast start to break the Georgians in his Irish Examiner column:

“Technically accomplished, Georgia can play good, attacking football – but only if you let them. And therein lies the key to how Ireland can get the win they need today. What we can’t afford to do is what we did in Dublin last October: start slowly and sloppily and allow them grow in confidence.

“Even though the Georgians did enough to pick up a point in Wales, they still have only three points and no wins to show for their six games in the group so far. The fact that, ultimately, they invariably struggle to get over the line and get a win tells you, above all else, that they are mentally weak.

“Ireland can exploit that fragility of character today. If the players eliminate slackness and impose themselves properly on the game from the start, they can really knock the Georgians out of their stride. It’s troubling that we didn’t do that in the Aviva but, hopefully, the lesson has been learned, and we set about the task with the right attitude in Tbilisi.

“Overall, we’ve been far too tentative at the start of a number of games in the campaign so far, and unforgivably sloppy too at times. That has to be avoided in Tbilisi. We can’t afford to give Georgia an early foothold in the match and certainly not the confidence-booster of an early goal. We should take the initiative, if we can, and give them the sense right from the first whistle that there’s going to be nothing in this game for them.”

Update 4.40pm: Breaking Tbilisi weather alert!

It’s cooled down in Georgia so our Slovakian referee has decided there’s no need for the water breaks in either half.

Update 4.37pm: Ireland international James McClean took time out of his pre-match preparations in Georgia to donate €3,000 to help a 17-month-old toddler battling a rare eye cancer.

You can read the full story here.

Update 4.27pm: Martin O’Neill has talked RTÉ Sport through his Ireland selection.

He believes there’s no fear that Walters is at risk of missing the Serbia match on Tuesday as a result of starting today.

Update 4.20pm: Referee Ivan Kruzliak, from Slovakia, has decided that water breaks will take place in either half – around the 25th and 70th minutes, to be exact – to help players deal with the sweltering conditions in Tbilisi.

It’s currently 30-degrees in the Georgian capital.

Update 4.15pm: Georgia boss Vladimir Weiss rings the changes as he looks for a first Group D win at the seventh attempt, retaining only four of the men who started against Moldova last time out amid an injury and suspension crisis.

His team lines out as follows: Makaridze, Kashia, Kverkvelia, Ananidze, Kazaishvili, Kvekveskiri, Kvilitaia, Gvilia, Jigauri, Kakabadze, Navalovski.

Update 4.07pm: Jon Walters has been handed a 50th senior cap after winning his battle for fitness in time to start the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Georgia.

Ireland fan Alan Keane from Castleknock, Dublin ahead of the game. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The 33-year-old Burnley frontman is included in a side which features only two changes to the one which drew 1-1 with Austria in June as Ciaran Clark and Shane Long replace Kevin Long and the injured Jeff Hendrick.

KEYWORDS: soccer, ireland, georgia


By Stephen Barry

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