Football

Ireland Player Ratings As Stephen Kenny's Side Rescue Late Serbia Draw

Ireland Player Ratings As Stephen Kenny's Side Rescue Late Serbia Draw

Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

For 75 minutes, this looked like it would a fairly bleak occasion for Ireland. They couldn't get anything going in attack, with only the brilliance of Gavin Bazunu keeping them in the game.

However, a spark seemed to be lit in the closing stages. There was more than a hint of fortune about the equaliser, but that is something that Ireland have been long overdue to receive.

They could have even won it in the end.

Here's how we rated the performances on mixed, if not encouraging, night for Ireland.

Ireland Player Ratings

Gavin Bazunu - 10

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Pulled off a good save in the opening minutes to rescue a Shane Duffy error, while also pulling off a couple of routine saves from shots from distance.

Bazunu could do nothing about the goal, almost pulling off what would have been a miraculous stop. He also pulled off a few more good saves to keep the deficit at one goal.

This continued in the second half, with the goalkeeper pulling off a number of incredible saves. That's without even mentioning his distribution which was once again exemplary. This game would have been ugly without him.

Andrew Omobamidele - 8

Wasn't afraid to step out of the defence when given the opportunity, Omodamibele showed his eye for a pass with some impressive balls to his teammates. He also defended brilliantly on a couple of occasions in the opening 45 minutes.

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He made a couple of potentially goal saving interventions in the second half, while his calmness on the ball was extraordinary. The defender nearly even won it at the end with a stunning strike from distance. This lad is going to be a star.

 

Shane Duffy - 7

Was very lucky that Bazunu managed to pull off a good save after his wayward back pass early on, but Duffy was otherwise solid in the first half.

He was often left exposed as Serbia broke, but he usually dealt with such situations well. Very good in the air as always. It was his harrying that helped Ireland find the equaliser, forcing the Serbs into a poor defensive mistake.

 

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John Egan - 6

Bring forced to defend deep, Egan did not advance up the pitch in the manner we have become accustomed to seeing from him.

Like Duffy, he was often not helped by those in front of him. It was odd in the fact that they were not asked all that many questions despite the number of chances Serbia created. A solid showing.

 

Matt Doherty - 6

Looked a constant threat down the right early on, but that wained somewhat as we got through the opening 45 minutes. Still, Doherty was dangerous on the ball and offered far more creativity than we saw down the left.

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He looked a class above most other Ireland players on the ball and defended well at times. However, he was depended on far too heavily to launch counterattacks as the team failed to muster them from elsewhere on the pitch.

 

James McClean - 5

Was more than willing to whip the ball into the box, but few of his crosses came close to finding a teammate. There were many occasions when recycling the ball from out wide seemed the wiser option, but McClean seemed intent on crossing it every time he got into an advanced area.

On the occasions he did try and link up the play, his execution was lacking. Ireland needed far more creativity from him.

To his credit, he did make a potentially goal saving intervention late on.

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Josh Cullen - 5

Didn't have the same impact in harrying the opposition that we have seen in previous games, while he also struggled to deal with the Serb press in the middle third at times.

He did improve slightly as the game went on, although the performance was not up to recent standards before being replaced.

 

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Jeff Hendrick - 4

Came very close to opening the scoring after an excellent touch and shot from the edge of the box. However, he completely fell asleep on the corner to allow Milinkovic-Savic to ghost by him on the near post for the opener.

Seemed to be a bit too slow in moving the ball at times, taking two or three touches when the first time pass was on. He did play some lovely flicks at times, but these were too often folowed up by passes across the sideline to nobody.

It was a slight surprise to see him last as long as he did on the pitch.

 

Alan Browne - 6

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Browne was wrestled away far too easily for Milinkovic-Savic's goal, although it's fair to question why he was tasked with marking a player so much more physical than him.

The Cork man was constantly looking for the ball, usually moving it forward with pace on the occasions he got it. Unfortunately, not much came off for him. Replaced by Callum Robinson before the hour mark.

 

Jamie McGrath - 5

Had a very quiet opening 45 minutes, with McGrath struggling to find any sort of pace in his advanced role. He did win a few free-kicks, but his set-piece delivery let him down in a game where Ireland badly needed some quality in that area to take advantage of the few attacking opportunities they were given.

That continued in the second half until he was replaced with 25 minutes to go.

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Adam Idah - 6

Was on the move constantly despite the lack of service in the opening half. On the occasions he did find his way into the box, the delivery was lacking.

Idah attempted to be a menace for the Serbs, but this was difficult considering the lack of quality ball he received. He showed his pace and power on a couple of occasions late on.

 

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Substitutes

Callum Robinson - 6

Robinson was very quiet after coming on, but this was largely down to Ireland's inability to advance the ball up the pitch.

It was his cross that led to the equaliser, one of the rare occasions Ireland managed a good delivery into the box.

 

Jayson Molumby - 6

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Brought on to add some much needed energy to the midfield. He did that in spades, although the same brightness was not quite there on the ball.

Still, he did give the team a lift when it was needed.

 

Daryl Horgan - 5

Horgan tried to make things happen after his introduction, but very little came off for him. Horgan mislaid a few passes and failed to find much space in attacking areas.

 

Conor Hourihane & James Collins - N/A

Not on long enough to rate.

SEE ALSO: Kenny Explains Why Randolph Wasn't Called Up As Fourth Choice Goalkeeper

Darren Randolph Stephen Kenny

Gary Connaughton

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