Once more unto the breach.It’s time for the Republic of Ireland to close out another international triple-header as Serbia visit the Aviva Stadium for a World Cup qualifier this evening and we’ve got all the TV details for you below. As with several previous international windows of recent times, tangible rewards are few and far between for Stephen Kenny’s men. So far, that is. You can see our liveblog, which will have regular updates throughout the match, at the bottom of this piece.
Ireland take on Serbia tonight.Had Ireland managed to hold on to their 1-0 lead over Portugal last week and/or properly closed down Azerbaijan’s Emin Mahmudov during Saturday’s Dublin stalemate, we could have been heading into tonight’s match on the back of two wins, with Stephen Kenny confirmed as the man to turn Irish football around. However, tight margins can change everything in football and instead, the manager has had to launch an impassioned defence of his time in charge, with some reports suggesting that he could be out the door if Serbia win tonight. Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s Ireland v Serbia match, including TV information, kick-off time and team news.
Who are Ireland playing against?Ireland will take on Serbia, the team who beat Stephen Kenny’s side in the first 2022 World Cup qualifier back in March. At the time, that 3-2 defeat was met with some level of optimism, as Ireland bagged two goals after going seven consecutive matches without finding the net. However, the team were undone, in part by an error from goalkeeper Mark Travers but also thanks to Serbia’s more experienced and savvy team, which features the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Tadic. Mitrovic comes into tonight’s match in fine form, lying at the top of the Uefa World Cup qualifiers goalscoring charts on seven goals in just four matches. There are doubts though as to whether the Fulham man will be involved, having suffered a facial injury in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Luxembourg. Kenny and the Ireland supporters will be hoping that he sits this one out.
Ireland v Serbia: What is at stake?Stephen Kenny’s job, if you were to believe certain newspaper reports. In reality, defeat tonight would mean that the minuscule chance of Ireland qualifying for Qatar would be officially gone. Whether that’s enough for the FAI to press the panic button or if they’d prefer to stick with Kenny for the Euro 2024 qualifiers remains to be seen.
Ireland v Serbia: What are the odds?An Ireland win tonight is a tall ask and this is reflected by Paddy Power, who are offering 3/1 odds on Stephen Kenny’s first competitive victory. Serbia can be backed at 19/20 at the time of writing, while the draw is priced at 23/10.
What TV channel is the Ireland v Serbia match on?Ireland v Serbia will be broadcast on RTE 2, with presenter Darragh Maloney joined in studio by Richie Sadlier and Liam Brady. Build-up will begin at 7pm before Darragh hands over to the commentary team of George Hamilton and Stephen Kelly in time for a 7.45pm kick-off. The match will also be available to stream on RTE Player. If you’re living in the UK, or in Ireland but would prefer to watch it on Sky Sports, you can watch the game on Sky Sports Football. Their coverage begins at 7:30 pm.
Ireland team news.Captain Seamus Coleman has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, with Cyrus Christie drafted into the squad to make up the numbers. You can have a look at how we feel Ireland should line up tonight here.
Ireland 1-1 Serbia
That was a really promising performance from Ireland, even if they did ride their luck at times. Gavin Bazunu kept us in the game with some genuinely incredible saves, but Ireland were good value for their point.
Stephen Kenny will be delighted to leave the Aviva with a point, but he will also be wondering 'what if?' after the brilliant Andrew Omobamidele had a long-range effort picked out of the top corner with only seconds left.
With plenty of discussion about Kenny's job, this type of performance, and particularly the fans' response to the football, should act as a clear indication of what the situation is.
IT'S A GOAL FOR IRELAND.
Callum Robinson whips a gorgeous ball into the box, and thanks to a goal-line scramble, the ball ended up in the back of the net thanks to an own goal.
It's exactly what Ireland deserve too, after some excellent defending and some really positive football.
A healthy dollop of chaos in the Serbian box and the ball ends up in the net off Nikola Milenkovic— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 7, 2021
We will take it and run with it
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Will we find a winner?
Gavin Bazunu. 19 years of age. What more can you say?
Ireland's yellow brick wall, Gavin Bazunu, denies Mitrovic yet again— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 7, 2021
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Ireland still trail
It has been better from Ireland in the second-half, with Jeff Hendrick again performing really well.
Without creating any clear cut chances, Ireland have definitely kept the ball better in this half, and look a bit more at ease.
Aleksandar Mitrovic went close for Serbia with a brilliant low effort, but Gavin Bazunu made yet another brilliant save. The fans in the Aviva are loving what the teenager is doing.
Callum Robinson has also been introduced, with Alan Browne going off.
Ireland 0-1 Serbia
At half-time, Sergej Milinković-Savić's goal separates the two sides, and Ireland can have no complaints.
Tadic sends a corner to the near post and Milinković-Savić glances a header goalwards that Bazunu can only deflect into top corner— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 7, 2021
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If anything, Stephen Kenny will be relieved that there is only one goal in it, with his young 'keeper Gavin Bazunu making some brilliant saves to keep Ireland in it.
Stephen Kelly saw it coming… Some slack passing in defence by Ireland and Gavin Bazunu has to look sharp— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 7, 2021
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Jeff Hendrick has looked lively, and he went close with a nice volley from the edge of the box, but it went narrowly wide. He has also played some nice passes through to the forward line.
Once again, Adam Idah is leading the line well, but with no real threat of scoring.
Kenny's men have it all to do in the second half, but they are playing some nice football when they can keep it.