O'Neill blasts below-par Republic

03 September 2017 05:13:12 EST

Head coach Martin O'Neill says he was disappointed not to take three points away from Georgia after the Republic of Ireland were held to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

The Irish lost ground on Serbia in the race to finish top of Group D as they were held by the home side in Tbilisi, while the Serbs defeated Moldova to move two points clear.

With only the team that finishes top of the group guaranteed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Ireland's draw could prove costly and they are now 50/1 to win Group D.

The visitors had taken the lead when Shane Duffy nodded them in front early on but Georgia deservedly equalised through Valeri Qazaishvili just before the break.

Ireland had chances to snatch the win late on in the second half with James McClean and Aiden McGeady going close but had to settle for a share of the spoils as they maintained their unbeaten start to qualification.

O'Neill could not hide his frustration with the way his side had performed at full-time and admits they will need to do much better when they face Serbia on Tuesday in a crunch encounter.

"We didn't play well enough in the first half. We created some clear chances but didn't take them and Georgia were better than us in the first half, but we're still in it," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

"We didn't look after the ball well enough, we didn't close down strongly and when we had it we gave it away cheaply.

"We need to do better against Serbia on Tuesday because they're a very talented side. I said at the beginning anyone who finishes above Serbia will win the group. Now we'll try to win that game."

Should Ireland fail to beat Serbia on Tuesday in Dublin then they could slip to third in the standings, Wales having made up group with a win over Austria on Saturday and with a game against group minnows Moldova to come.

Ireland are 11/5 to win their next qualifier, while the Serbs are 13/8 and the draw is 2/1.

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