Five Talking Points As Ireland Leave Georgia With Disappointing Draw

This Saturday, September 2, 2017 (9:00 AM Pacific) Georgia will host the Republic of Ireland at the Boris Paichadze Stadium for a match in the UEFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

However, not only did they not build upon it, but turned in so abject a first-half display that Valeri Kazaishvili's 34th-minute equaliser was the least the Georgians deserved on a night when they played by far the better technical football.

Georgia: 1 Giorgi Makaridze; 21 Otar Kakabadze, 4 Guram Kashia (capt), 5 Solomon Kverkvelia, 7 Jano Ananidze, 8 Valeri Kazaishvili (Davit Khocholava 90), 10 Nika Kvekveskiri, 13 Giorgi Kvilitaia (17 Giorgi Merebashvili 86), 15 Valerian Gvilia, 20 Jambul Jigauri (11 Giorgi Chanturia 75), 22 Giorgi Navalovski.

When asked about Ireland's failure to retain possession against Georgia, O'Neill said: "We'll try and improve, absolutely".

But, the reality is that they will need to be set up to win.

Leaders Serbia are now two clear at the summit after their 3-0 home victory over Moldova.

Temperatures have been soaring in Georgia this week and heat could be an issue with the game kicking off in the early evening. Each time a Shane Duffy header or a Glenn Whelan hoof was to nobody and each time the home side, roared on by the crowd in the Dinamo Arena, came right back.

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".

"We didn't get to grips with it at all in the first half, passing-wise and off the ball, it wasn't a good performance".

"Saying that I believe we're better, but tonight we didn't show that".

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

"Serbia won and it will have to be a phenomenal effort to beat them".

"We'll have better nights; hopefully one of those will be on Tuesday".

A rare chance did present itself for Ireland but Duffy's header from a Brady corner was well save just before the break.

Duffy went close to restoring Ireland's lead on the cusp of half-time, but the visitors' performance thereafter was poor, with stray passes and a lack of bite in midfield allowing Georgia an easy ride as they picked up their fourth draw of the campaign.

"We were better in the second half but we're bitterly disappointed".

The 27-year-old, who has been one of Bournemouth's key players in the Premier League, failed to impose himself on the game before being replaced by Aiden McGeady just after the hour mark. They're a good side and we knew they were good at keeping the ball.

Even if we'd won tonight", he continued, in a more determined attempt to look on the bright side, "they still would have been top of the group with goal difference and it would have been as critical a game.

  • Stacy Allen