Republic of Ireland coach Stephen Kenny was delighted that those who showed up at Aviva Stadium “saw a lot of good individual performances” as his side fought to a 1-1 draw against the Serbia during their qualification for the World Cup.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic gave the visitors a deserved 20th-minute lead with an excellent header at the near post.
And while Ireland tried their luck in the second half, relying on Man of the Match Gavin Bazunu to keep them in the game, they got their payoff in the later stages.
Four minutes remained as a scramble in the box caused an unusual moment of panic in the Serbian defense and the ball ended up in the net thanks to defender Nikola Milenkovic who was unable to deviate from a clearance.
Kenny was quick to praise the Serbs afterwards, adding that his team had to dig deep to earn a point.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: “I thought Serbia were great, they were really, really good tonight but we also deserved a lot of the week so far, we could have got four or six points, we were excellent in Portugal.
“Tonight we had a different type of performance, we had to dig deep, a reservoir of energies, players paying three games in six days against a great team. We kept believing, we held on and went. stayed in the game. We had a bit of a break with the goal and Shane Duffy almost won. The crowd was amazing and really supported the team – the energy in the stadium was great to see. “
“What we have to do is turn draws into wins and score more goals”
Stephen Kenny doesn’t get carried away with hard-earned point against Serbia
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Expanding further on the 25,400 who showed up at Lansdowne Road, the Irish boss added: “They had a lot to shout, they had seen a lot of good individual performances.
Kenny then chose a young defender for special attention.
“Andrew Omobamidele was calmness embodied. When you’re that fast, you’ve composed, and you’ve got a physical attribute, those are great attributes. That’s just the start for him. He hasn’t played so many. matches for Norwich, he is so young, himself and Gavin Bazunu.
“We’ll reap rewards over time. The experienced players were amazing, like Matt Doherty, his third game in six days. He was on the baseline, crossing in the odd 80th minute. Shane Duffy, John Egan. These are great professionals and young players can learn from players like this.
“We only lost one game in six, it was against a goal in the 97th minute in Portugal. We have to turn draws into wins, we have drawn too many and we have to score more goals, but we are working on this. “