World Cup Qualifying - European - Group D
Georgia1R. of Ireland1

World Cup 2018: Republic of Ireland held to draw in Georgia

Valeri Qazaishvili scores for Georgia
Valeri Qazaishvili equalised for Georgia after the Republic sat back following Shane Duffy's early goal

The Republic of Ireland remain unbeaten in 2018 World Cup qualifying after being held to a draw by a superior Georgia in Tbilisi.

Shane Duffy took advantage of an error by keeper Giorgi Makaridze to head the visitors in front in the fourth minute.

But the Republic sat back and the hosts equalised before the break through a well-worked goal by Valeri Qazaishvili.

Martin O'Neill's side stay second in Group D but are now two points behind leaders Serbia, who beat Moldova 3-0.

James McClean and Aiden McGeady missed chances late on but victory would have flattered a lacklustre Irish side, who face Serbia at home on Tuesday.

Wales closed the gap on the Republic to two points by beating Austria 1-0 later on Saturday.

Score early, sit back

Georgia v Republic of Ireland average positions map
The average positions of Georgia and the Republic of Ireland show how deep the visitors sat throughout, with striker Shane Long isolated

The first half followed a familiar pattern for the Republic of Ireland - this was the third game of the qualifying campaign in which they have scored inside the opening five minutes, only to sit back and concede before scraping a result.

Daryl Murphy's late goal salvaged a draw against Serbia, McClean's two quick strikes eventually saw off Moldova, and Georgia could not force a winner here - but another lethargic showing will do little to inspire confidence for the three remaining games.

Duffy's opener promised much more. Cyrus Christie clipped a free-kick into the area and the Brighton centre-back rose well to beat Makaridze, who had ill advisedly surged off his line to try to punch clear.

However, having discovered the hosts' frailty, the Republic retreated, sitting so deep they were not even able to win free-kicks high enough up the pitch to test the shaky keeper again.

This was epitomised shortly after Georgia's equaliser when lone striker Shane Long tried to bring a long pass under control, only to lose possession while isolated 50 yards away from his nearest team-mate.

The standard improved in the second half but Long remained a frustrated and largely incidental figure as the Irish failed to beat Georgia for the first time in nine meetings.

Absence of creativity

Prior to the match, O'Neill said Georgia were an "underrated" and "technically very skilful" side. The hosts proved that in places but their creativity was perhaps more apparent because of the Republic's lack of it.

The equaliser seemed inevitable but was superbly taken as Jano Ananidze collected Valerian Gvilia's deft through ball, swerving past Christie to play in Qazaishvili, who clipped over keeper Darren Randolph.

Although the hosts visibly tired in the final stages, Ananidze continued to cause the Irish defence problems as he and Nika Kvekveskiri fired narrowly wide, while Giorgi Kvilitaia headed over from a promising position.

In contrast, the Republic showed an absence of creativity, particularly in central midfield, as they made 214 passes to Georgia's 621 and had just 26% of possession.

Harry Arter was ineffective before he was replaced by McGeady on 61 minutes, while midfield partner Glenn Whelan made only three passes in the game to team-mates playing in more advanced positions, usually resorting to knocking it back to Duffy.

The Republic looked better with wide players McGeady and McClean dropping into central areas later on, while Robbie Brady was a lively presence, playing in McClean on 87 minutes only for his heavy touch to allow Makaridze to save.

It could have been worse but their hopes of automatic qualification now rest heavily on Tuesday's meeting with Serbia, while the Irish will fear having let Wales back into contention.

Group D table

'We're angry with ourselves' - reaction

Republic of Ireland winger James McClean, speaking to Sky Sports: "I'm disappointed. We were below-par, not good enough on the night.

"Our finishing, I was guilty of that myself - I had a couple of chances. Our passing, energy, defending, finishing weren't good enough. We'll have better nights.

"Georgia are better than people think. But probably we're better. We didn't show that. They were better than us.

"If [Tuesday's game against Serbia] goes to plan, then tonight doesn't matter. But we're angry with ourselves."

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, speaking to Sky Sports: "We didn't play well enough in the first half. We created some clear chances but didn't take them and Georgia were better than us in the first half, but we're still in it.

"We didn't look after the ball well enough, we didn't close down strongly and when we had it we gave it away cheaply.

"We need to do better against Serbia on Tuesday because they're a very talented side. I said at the beginning anyone who finishes above Serbia will win the group. Now we'll try to win that game."

Line-ups

Georgia

  • 1Makaridze
  • 21Kakabadze
  • 5Kverkvelia
  • 4Kashia
  • 22Navalovski
  • 10KvekveskiriBooked at 37mins
  • 15Gvilia
  • 20JigauriBooked at 62minsSubstituted forChanturiaat 75'minutes
  • 7Ananidze
  • 8QazaishviliSubstituted forKhotcholavaat 90+3'minutes
  • 13KvilitaiaSubstituted forMerebashviliat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Lobzhanidze
  • 3Khotcholava
  • 6Daushvili
  • 9Dvalishvili
  • 11Chanturia
  • 12Revishvili
  • 14Sikharulidze
  • 16Shergelashvili
  • 17Merebashvili
  • 18Arabidze
  • 19Aburjania
  • 23Kvaskhvadze

R. of Ireland

  • 23Randolph
  • 2Christie
  • 20Duffy
  • 3Clark
  • 17Ward
  • 22ArterSubstituted forMcGeadyat 61'minutes
  • 6WhelanSubstituted forMurphyat 79'minutes
  • 19Walters
  • 10Brady
  • 11McCleanBooked at 76mins
  • 9Long

Substitutes

  • 1Westwood
  • 4O'Shea
  • 5Keogh
  • 7McGeady
  • 8Murphy
  • 12O'Dowda
  • 13Long
  • 14Hoolahan
  • 15Hourihane
  • 16Elliot
  • 18Meyler
  • 21Hayes
Referee:
Ivan Kruzliak
Attendance:
19,669

Match Stats

Home TeamGeorgiaAway TeamR. of Ireland
Possession
Home74%
Away26%
Shots
Home12
Away11
Shots on Target
Home1
Away6
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Georgia 1, Republic of Ireland 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Georgia 1, Republic of Ireland 1.

Attempt missed. Aiden McGeady (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Shane Duffy with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Georgia. Davit Khotcholava replaces Valeri Qazaishvili.

Foul by Valerian Gvilia (Georgia).

Shane Long (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Nika Kvekveskiri (Georgia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Daryl Murphy (Republic of Ireland).

Saba Kverkvelia (Georgia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Shane Long (Republic of Ireland).

Attempt missed. Giorgi Merebashvili (Georgia) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Guram Kashia.

Georgi Makaridze (Georgia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daryl Murphy (Republic of Ireland).

Attempt saved. James McClean (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Shane Long.

Substitution

Substitution, Georgia. Giorgi Merebashvili replaces Giorgi Kvilitaia because of an injury.

Jano Ananidze (Georgia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James McClean (Republic of Ireland).

Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Giorgi Navalovski.

Georgi Makaridze (Georgia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stephen Ward (Republic of Ireland).

Substitution

Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Daryl Murphy replaces Glenn Whelan.

Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Georgi Makaridze.

Attempt saved. James McClean (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Shane Long.

Attempt blocked. Giorgi Chanturia (Georgia) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Giorgi Kvilitaia.

Booking

James McClean (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card.

Guram Kashia (Georgia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Shane Long (Republic of Ireland).

Substitution

Substitution, Georgia. Giorgi Chanturia replaces Jambul Jigauri.

Attempt missed. Giorgi Kvilitaia (Georgia) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Otar Kakabadze.

Attempt saved. Robbie Brady (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Aiden McGeady.

Attempt blocked. Aiden McGeady (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.

Offside, Georgia. Valeri Qazaishvili tries a through ball, but Jano Ananidze is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Shane Long (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Cyrus Christie with a cross.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Giorgi Navalovski (Georgia) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Jambul Jigauri (Georgia) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Valeri Qazaishvili.

Hand ball by Glenn Whelan (Republic of Ireland).

Booking

Jambul Jigauri (Georgia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jambul Jigauri (Georgia).

James McClean (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France75111551016
2Sweden7412147713
3Bulgaria74031214-212
4Netherlands73131310310
5Belarus7124412-85
6Luxembourg7115717-104

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland77001531221
2Portugal76012742318
3Hungary7313118310
4Faroe Islands7124315-125
5Andorra7115216-144
6Latvia7106315-123

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany77002922721
2Northern Ireland75111421216
3Czech Rep723210739
4Norway7214810-27
5Azerbaijan7214311-87
6San Marino7007133-320

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia7430167915
2R. of Ireland734095413
3Wales7250105511
4Austria72239908
5Georgia7043711-44
6Moldova7025418-142

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland75111511416
2Montenegro74121771013
3Denmark7412146813
4Romania72328719
5Armenia7205715-86
6Kazakhstan7025419-152

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England75201421217
2Slovakia7502134915
3Scotland73221210211
4Slovenia732264211
5Lithuania7124614-85
6Malta7007219-170

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain76102432119
2Italy75111871116
3Albania740398112
4Israel7304913-49
5Macedonia7205913-46
6Liechtenstein7007126-250

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium76103323119
2Greece7340103713
3Bos-Herze7322158711
4Cyprus7313811-310
5Estonia7124517-125
6Gibraltar7007333-300

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ukraine7421115614
2Croatia6411112913
3Iceland741297213
4Turkey7322118311
5Finland7115510-54
6Kosovo6015318-151
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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