Match between Georgia and Ireland ends in a draw

Arnold Nichols
September 3, 2017

A big electric storm hit this baking city last night but Martin O'Neill, the Ireland manager, is clearly anxious about Georgia raining on Ireland's World Cup qualification chances this evening.

They levelled 11 minutes before the break through Valeri Kazaishvili and enjoyed much the better of the game for long periods, but ultimately ended it still awaiting their first Group D victory.

James McClean was named man-of-the-match but the Derryman was guilty of over committing to challenges that put Ireland in serious danger only for the Georgian's to be wasteful.

"And he relished it, he scored a fantastic late goal to win the game for us".

Ireland might have retaken the lead had Long managed to make the most of a rare opportunity when he rose unmarked to get his head to Christie's 69th-minute cross, but could only land his effort on the roof of the net.

Shane Long also fired a volley harmlessly over the crossbar but after dominating possession, Georgia finally had their equaliser when Valeri Qazaishvili finished off an excellent move with a composed finish from eight yards out.

"Saying that I believe we're better, but tonight we didn't show that - all over the pitch they were better, passed the ball better".

Arter said: "I've got a job to do for the team and where we are in the group now, it's not a time for anyone to be learning".

Georgia's Valeri Kazaishvili celebrates scoring his side's first goal at the Boris Paichadze Stadium
Georgia's Valeri Kazaishvili celebrates scoring his side's first goal at the Boris Paichadze Stadium

The visitors improved after the break and James McClean and substitute Aiden McGeady both had late chances to win it as Vladimir Weiss' men exhausted, but justice would hardly have been served had either of them done so.

"One thing I would say, though, is that I think as a country and as a management, they have got it spot on in the sense that they pick players in the end purely based on ability and if it is and English-born player that deserves to play, they play him".

"It's still in our hands - if we win three out of three games now, we'll qualify".

"Maybe it was too good a start and subconsciously we sat back way too much and wanted to hold on to the lead".

"It is nice to pop up here and there with a goal but I would rather get a clean sheet and three points".

O'Neill went on the defensive in an interview with RTE Sport, and attempted to take the pressure off his players ahead of Tuesday's game by describing Serbia as "technically better" than Ireland.

Goalscorer Duffy felt the result had taken the gloss off his first strike for Ireland.

Second half we improved, which we had to, and it's disappointing because of the performance, but we are still in it. He's the one tasked with pestering players and managers during their rawest moments on live television for millions of people at home who are probably even more frustrated. They're a good side and we knew they were good at keeping the ball.

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