O'Neill refuses to give up hope

06 September 2017 03:59:39 EST

Martin O'Neill admits the Republic of Ireland lacked a clinical edge after they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to ten-man Serbia in Dublin.

Aleksandar Kolarov scored the only goal of the match in the 55th minute while Nikola Maksimovic was sent off 13 minutes later.

The result leaves O'Neill's team third in Group D after eight matches, a point behind Wales, who beat Moldova 2-0 on Tuesday, and five adrift of Serbia.

Ireland have claimed just three points from their last four qualifiers and need to beat Moldova next month to keep their prospects of playing in Russia next summer alive before facing a must-win game against Wales in Cardiff.

"We need to find the net and a way to win. It's the clinical edge. In my tenure here we have had an ageing Robbie Keane. A 27-year -old Robbie Keane would have been in his element there.

"There's a lot of disappointed players in there. I think we can win both games and that's what we have to do. I thought the players were fantastic. They gave every ounce for the shirt. They had nothing left."

The Republic of Ireland are 2/1 to qualify for the World Cup finals in Russia, while Wales can be backed at 6/5, Scotland at 10/1 and Northern Ireland at 5/4.

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